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Latta Letter to President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates

Earlier today, Congressman Bob Latta sent a letter to President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates regarding the court-martial proceedings of Petty Officer, 2nd Class Matthew McCabe. 

Text of the letter is below and can be viewed here with the signatures of 11 other House Members who signed the letter.

May 6, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500-0003

Dear President Obama:

    We are writing to you to express our serious concerns with the court-martial proceedings of Petty Officer, 2nd Class Matthew McCabe from Wood County, Ohio.  Mr. McCabe is being charged with assault for striking a detainee in the midsection, dereliction of duty and lying to investigators.  Petty Officer, 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe and Petty Officer, 1st Class Julio Huertas have recently been acquitted on charges of dereliction of duty and lying to investigators relating to the same case.
    In 2004, four American civilian contractors were captured and killed by terrorists in Fallujah, Iraq.  Their bodies were burned and mutilated, dragged through the streets and two of the bodies were then hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River.  The accused mastermind of this attack is Ahmed Hashim Abed.  Mr. Abed was not captured until September 2009, over 5 years after the brutal attacks on these Americans.  Mr. Abed was captured during a covert, Navy SEALs’ operation by Matthew McCabe, Jonathan Keefe, and Julio Huertas.

    As you may be aware, al-Qaeda’s own handbook instructs their members to claim detainee abuse if they are captured by American forces.  In addition, al-Qaeda operatives are also trained to inflict injuries upon themselves in order to further their claim of detainee abuse.  Mr. McCabe has stated in interviews that he realized he wanted to protect his country the best that he could, and he knew the best way to do that was to go to BUD/S and become a Navy SEAL.  Mr. McCabe has been asked as a Navy SEAL to track down terrorists throughout the world, and ensure that they face the consequences for their actions.  Mr. McCabe has stated if he is cleared of all wrongdoing that he wishes to stay in his current SEAL platoon and be deployed to continue to serve his country.  This is a dedicated young man who has served his country with the utmost respect and honor.

    The United States is in a war against global terrorism, and we have brave men like Matthew McCabe who want nothing more than to protect America, and go back to the front line to fight for our treasured liberties and freedoms.  Our men and women in the Armed Forces, just like Mr. McCabe, are putting their lives in harms way each and

every day.  We cannot burden these men and women with the potential for legal action with every move or gesture they make.   Navy SEALs work together as a team and are taught to obey orders and follow on command, and they need to be given every opportunity to succeed and be recognized and honored for their successful missions.  We ask that you exercise your Constitutional authority as President of the United States and stop the Matthew McCabe trial and acquit him of all charges.  Acquitting Mr. McCabe of these charges will decrease the potential negative impact for all men and women in the Armed Forces, but will also allow Mr. McCabe to go back to doing what he wants to do, and that is serving his country and protecting our citizens.

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