Martland Granted Reprieve

I’m convinced this is what happens when wrongdoing is publicized and publicized hard. A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times, Breitbart, CNN, and other media outlets, as well as a number of blogs, including this one, publicized the plight of Afghan boys, who were raped and enslaved, and the apparent instructions of the U.S. military to its troops to ignore this twisted phenomenon. I said at the time that this horror needs to be publicized far and wide, because not only were troops instructed to ignore this corruption, but two of them were disciplined for deigning to do something about it!

charles-martland-600SFC Charles Martland, a Green Beret, and by all accounts an exemplary Soldier, was to be drummed out of the military on November 1 for beating up an Afghan commander who had a little boy chained to his bed as a sex slave and physically assaulted his mother for protesting this monstrous atrocity!

Worse yet, when Martland appealed the decision, he was denied based on little more than a technicality! Yes, understand this and remember it well. The military is trying to boot out an exemplary, dedicated, honorable troop, because he could not stand by and ignore atrocities committed against a child by people who are supposed to be our allies!

Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland earlier this year was ordered discharged by Nov. 1. He has been fighting to stay in, but in an initial decision, the U.S. Army Human Resources Command told Martland that his appeal “does not meet the criteria” for an appeal.

“Consequently, your request for an appeal and continued service is disapproved,” the office wrote in a memo to Martland.

As an Army veteran, I find this sickening, as should every American. At the time, I wrote that we, as Americans, military service members, and human beings should intervene and stop these acts of “malicious debauchery.” I stand by this contention, and I’m nauseated that the Army is trying to involuntarily separate a stellar Soldier for doing the morally right thing!

Luckily, once Congressman Duncan Hunter and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry got involved on Martland’s behalf, he was granted a slight reprieve. The Secretary of the Army has delayed Martland’s involuntary separation for 60 days, giving him enough time to file an appeal.

Thornberry spoke by phone Tuesday with McHugh, according to a press release on the House Armed Services Committee website. They discussed Martland’s case, and the conversation followed “several weeks of committee review of SFC Martland’s service record and the Army investigation into the incident,” HASC press release said.

During their conversation, Thornberry expressed his view that Martland’s discharge should be delayed until he can prepare an appeal with adequate military counsel, the release said.

After the men spoke, Thornberry sent a letter to McHugh elaborating on the committee’s inquiry, his recommendation to the Army, and his larger concerns regarding policies in place for U.S. troops to report human rights abuses.

“Congress cannot substitute our judgment for that of the military chain of command,” Thornberry wrote. “We are, however, responsible for ensuring that the process in place is fair and adequate to the demands of an Army at war.”

Thornberry went on to write that he “noted potential procedural errors in due process” in Martland’s case.

I think once this case it the media, the outrage was too great for Congress and the Army to do nothing. The military has generally been considered America’s most trustworthy institution, according to opinion polls, and this injustice would be a huge stain on its honor.

That’s why I encourage everyone to keep the pressure on. Keep reporting. Keep writing your elected representatives. Keep blogging. Keep working to expose these grotesque violations of human rights.

I think that only with a concentrated effort can we ensure justice is done! I, for one, refuse to allow this to be swept under the rug!

3 responses

  1. This is HIGHLY irregular.

    I’ve never heard of someone being retained on active duty to prepare an appeal to the ABCMR. Most usually a Soldier is removed from the active roles when selected for a BTR or similar personnel action pending some sort of appeal or even a review.

    The most obvious explanation is that HRC thinks it’s in their interest to grant an extension. Two possibilities how: (1) by granting the extension they show the politicians involved they are going the extra mile for a constituent, or (2) they expect the ABCMR to grant the appeal, which minimizes the paperwork for HRC to release him then bring him back on active duty.

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  2. My prediction is that the Army is going to fall back on the old, “He disobeyed a direct order,” stuff and figure out some “punishment” for him that will stall his career and cause him to eventually resign in disgust at being assigned “mail” duties or something equally boring and inappropriate to his training. If I learned anything while on active duty, it was that the Army brass does NOT like being exposed as hypocrites and will figure out some way to rid themselves of someone who does so. Early in my career, I was in Korea in a unit commanded by the youngest Major General in the Army, who had issued an edict that no officer nor NCO above the rank of E-6 could be found in one of the villages outside military unit compounds. For officers, it meant an Article 15–effectively ending their career–and for NCOs reduction in grade by one rank for EACH instance. It was supposedly designed to keep officers and Sr. NCOs away from Korean prostitutes.

    Later, that same general was forced to resign because he was having an affair with one of his brigade commander’s wives while back in the US on TDY.

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  3. I guess all that anti-sexual-assault/anti-sex-trade-trafficking training we’ve had the last 5 years really WAS bullshit, fit only for lip-service (pun intended).

    Fuck the Army leader(fail)ship.

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