Sarah Palin took to her Facebook page Friday to defend a Navy SEAL from south suburban Blue Island who is accused of mistreating an Iraqi terror suspect along with two of his fellow servicemen.
Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas of Blue Island is accused of mistreating Ahmed Hashim Abed, the alleged mastermind behind a 2004 ambush and murder of four American security contractors whose bodies were burned. Two of the victims were hung on a bridge over the Euphrates River. The SEALS captured Abed in September.
Special Warfare Operators 2nd Class Matthew McCabe and Jonathan Keefe have been charged along with Huertas. McCabe is accused of punching Abed, and all three were charged with dereliction of duty for failing to safeguard the detainee.
Rather than accept a reprimand, the sailors chose to fight the charges in a military court, the Associated Press reports. Since the charges were filed, many lawmakers came forward defending the sailors. Palin's Facebook note was the latest:
"First the Obama Administration opened up the possibility of prosecuting CIA interrogators doing their jobs seeking information from terrorists," Palin wrote. "Then they tried to go after the Bush Administration lawyers who acted in good faith to protect us in the months after 9/11. Now some of the military brass are court-martialing three brave Navy SEALs for allegedly throwing a single punch at Iraqi terrorist leader Ahmed Hashim Abed. This is wrong. The Washington Times got it right: Save the SEALs."
In December, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif, circulated a letter in the House calling the charges against the SEALS "an overreaction by the command," AP reported in December.
Hunter told the AP the men could lose their rank, spend one year in confinement, get a bad conduct discharge and forfeit a portion of their pay for up to a year if the charges are not dropped.
"These brave warriors belong in combat, not in the courthouse," Palin wrote. "They captured the most wanted terrorist in Iraq. We may never know how many other heroic missions they undertook on behalf of our country. The charges should be dropped, and they should be returned to their unit - with our gratitude for their service."
About 20 lawmakers have already signed Hunter's letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
"It appears from all accounts that these SEALs are exceptional sailors, demonstrated by the fact that each had recently been advanced in rank," Hunter's letter said. "They captured a terrorist who had planned an attack that not only killed Americans but also maimed and mutilated their bodies."