Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Kalach case: interview with NYT reporter

Democracy Now! has posted this interview with Nicholas Kulish, lead reporter on the recent New York Times investigative report on the May 2012 Kalach (Afghanistan) incident, its disclosure and its aftermath. From Democracy Now!'s introduction:
[W]hat happened after the incident has many military justice experts questioning whether Navy commanders worked to cover up the case. Four U.S. soldiers working with the SEALs at the outpost reported that they witnessed the abuse, but Navy commanders chose to deal with the matter in a closed disciplinary process, one usually reserved for minor infractions. The SEALs were cleared of any wrongdoing. Two of the SEALs implicated in the abuse of the detainees and their lieutenant have since been promoted, despite calls by one commander to have them forced out of the SEAL team.
The Times must have received a great deal of mail in response to the lengthy article it ran. Here is a Letter to the Editor that made the cut for the hard-copy paper (as well as online):
To the Editor: 
As a retired Navy master chief petty officer, I take great exception to your reporting of one possible occurrence of disobedience and misbehavior by the Navy SEALs. Why not choose to focus on the good that these warriors do around the world instead? 
These are difficult times, and we need young men to face terrible circumstances around this messy world we live in. We repeatedly call on our special operations community to engage the enemy in less than favorable situations in lands far away from home at a moment’s notice. 
Instead of reporting about men like Petty Officer Michael Monsoor and Lt. Michael Murphy, Navy SEAL Medal of Honor recipients who gave their lives for their country, you choose to invest your investigative energies into a negative aspect of warfare. We should focus on the men who routinely demonstrate honor, courage and commitment every day they put on their uniforms. Shame on you, New York Times. 
Perhaps the Times's Public Editor will comment on this.

No word yet on whether the Navy will reopen the case.

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