Josh Mandel, the Ohio treasurer challenging Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), urged people not to "pass quick judgment" following the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians allegedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant.
Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked Mandel about the incident Monday in an interview.
"My second tour in Iraq was in a town called Haditha where you might recall there was something that was classified by politicians and the media as the 'Haditha massacre,' where the media and some politicians in Washington publicly prosecuted these Marines -- wrongly, I should say -- because, now most of those Marines have been found not to do anything wrong but were doing their job as United States Marines," said Mandel. (Some observers of the case say the case against the Marines fell apart largely due to prosecutorial errors.)
"I think it's important, let's not pass quick judgment. Let's allow the United States military to conduct their investigation and make a decision. And if this army staff sergeant did in fact do something egregiously wrong then he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," continued Mandel.
"But frankly, I am sick and tired of the media and politicians in Washington publicly prosecuting our soldiers, sailors, and airmen and marines. I believe the men and women carrying a weapon overseas, wearing the uniform of our country, should receive the benefit of the doubt."
Mitt Romney's response, in contrast, focused on the anguish of the victims. "Governor Romney believes the killings are reprehensible and shares the anguish of the victims’ families. These acts by one soldier are not representative of the courageous and honorable conduct of our armed forces," said spokesperson Andrea Saul in a statement.
The unidentified staff sergeant is now in custody. Many are worried that Sunday's massacre could spark further violence in Afghanistan following an incident where U.S. troops burned Qurans.
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