Thank goodness for Rep Duncan Hunter who’s helping this Green Beret after his Silver Star was stripped. The big question is whether an award can be revoked without any criminal charges being brought. This case also sheds light on the difficulty our troops had in fighting in Afghanistan. It’s clear that this Green Beret made a judgement call based on what he knew and deserves to have his award returned. If you’d like to contact Rep Duncan Hunter regarding this case: Rep Duncan Hunter e-mail
A Green Beret who was awarded the Silver Star, then saw it stripped away because he killed a Taliban bombmaker, is telling why he did it, as conveyed in a CIA job interview he conducted nearly four years ago.
Maj. Matt Golsteyn said the insurgent was a known maker of improvised explosive devices and was in the presence of such components. He considered him an armed combatant, so he shot him.
Army Secretary John McHugh, who revoked the award, told The Washington Times through a spokesman that Maj. Golsteyn “assassinated an unarmed Afghan.”
Maj. Golsteyn’s explanation is contained in a CIA transcript obtained by The Times. His description of the battlefield shows how difficult it has been on the ground for Americans in Afghanistan. They are fighting an enemy who continually shifts between appearing as a harmless villager one day and an assassin the next.
The soldier’s words, and Mr. McHugh’s action, are now at the center of congressional talks. A Senate and House conference panel is in the final stages of a debate over the power of service secretaries to do what Mr. McHugh did: revoke valor awards without formal charges being filed.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and a former Marine Corps officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, took up Maj. Golsteyn’s cause.
In the House Committee on Armed Services, Mr. Hunter won passage of an amendment to the 2016 defense budget/policy bill that would block a service secretary from doing what Mr. McHugh did.
Meanwhile, The Times has obtained excerpts from Maj. Golsteyn’s CIA polygraphed interview — the one that found its way to the Army, which then initiated the criminal investigation.
Maj. Golsteyn, who led a joint force of Marines, Special Forces soldiers and Afghans, said the bombmaker had been detained but then released because he had no explosives or components in his possession.
Later, the Green Beret came across the man at a compound devoted to IED-making and shot him. He believed he followed the rules of engagement since, in his mind, a Taliban with components for IEDs — the top killer of Americans in Afghanistan — is just as armed and dangerous as if he were carrying a rifle.
Read more: WT