Michael Behenna: Imprisoned for Killing a Terrorist

Last month, a final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was filed on behalf of former Airborne Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna. Behenna has been locked up in Leavenworth since 2009. He’s serving a sentence of 25 years (he’s eligible for parole after 15) in the homicide of Ali Mansur Mohamed in Iraq in 2008. This ruling, said Behenna’s lawyers, will decide whether service-members will have the same right to self-defense in a combat zone that police officers have every day on duty.

Mohamed was a suspected terrorist with links to Al Qaeda in Iraq. On April 21, 2008, Behenna and his platoon were returning to their base in the Salahuddin Province in Iraq when their convoy was hit by an Improvised Explosives Device (IED). Two of his men, Specialists Adam Kohlhaas and Steven Christofferson, were killed.

On May 5, 2008, Behenna received a tip that a terrorist linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq and to the IED attack was staying in a house in the town of Butoma. Behenna and his men arrested Mohamed that evening and they found a cache of ammunition, a RPK light machine gun, and a passport with Syrian visas.

Mohamed was returned to base and turned over for questioning. On May 16, 2008, Mohamed was set to be let go because the military said there wasn’t enough evidence to hold him. Behenna and his team were tasked with returning him home. According to an article in the Oklahoman, here’s what happened next.

Behenna took Ali Mansur, an Iraqi civilian, to a deserted area, forced him to strip naked and then questioned him at gunpoint. In his court martial, Behenna claimed self-defense, saying he shot Mansur twice after the Iraqi threw a piece of concrete at him and lunged for his gun. An Iraqi translator who accompanied Behenna testified at Behenna’s court-martial that he murdered Mansour in cold blood.

Behenna was court martialed for Mohamed’s murder on July 31, 2008. Opening statements in his trial started on February 23, 2009. On February 28, 2009, he was convicted of murdering Mohamed and sentenced to 25 years in Leavenworth.

So far, all appeals courts have sided against Behenna, claiming that he lost all rights to self-defense once Behenna pointed his gun at Mansour. Behenna’s attorneys believe that if these rulings stand, this would have serious ramifications for our military service people serving in combat zones. Their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court read in part:

The majority woodenly treats a confrontation between a service-member and a suspected terrorist in a combat zone no differently than a barroom brawl between two civilians in the States.

The petition then goes on to make these four points about the ramification of the Appeals Court decision.

• Service-members who overstep their authority instantly become defenseless targets for deadly enemy attacks.

• If they draw their firearms first, they could lose all right to self-defense “as a matter of law.”

• If they wait for the enemy to attack before drawing their weapons, they could lose their lives.

• Neither “basic concepts of criminal law” nor common sense requires service-members to make that Hobbesian choice.

Dr. Herbert MacDonell is a forensic scientist that testified at Behenna’s court-martial as a prosecution witness. He told prosecuting attorneys during that court-martial that in his estimation, Mansour was reaching for Behenna’s gun when Behenna shot the suspected terrorist. Here’s how Dr. MacDonell explained it in an interview with the Washington Times.

I believe his (Behenna’s) testimony fits the known physical facts. If Ali Mansur was standing and reaching for Behenna’s gun and was, at that moment shot, it would explain the horizontal trajectory of Ali Mansur’s chest wound. If he dropped straight down and was shot in the head as his head passed in front of the muzzle of Behenna’s gun that would be consistent with the horizontal trajectory of the head shot and the near parallel trajectories of both shots.

The US government has yet to respond to this latest petition. If the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t take on the case, all that Behenna could hope for is a presidential pardon. If not, he’ll be forty years old before he leaves prison.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Increasingly, the military has come under attack from inside Washington's branches. They have become infected with appeasement, derangement syndrome, even those who are supposed to impart justice.

    As is said, the fish stinks from the head up. So, is it any accident, even the arbiters of right and wrong have become anti-military – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/30/tangible-leth

    These are the fruits of leftist and Islamist penetration into the body politic. Its posions are everywhere.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • upaces88

      More of our Military are losing their lives from suicide vs. fighting in the Middle East.

    • John

      You want to make points than do this one thing.

      What about the Syrian visas? How many times did Ali Mansur visit Syria and for what purpose?

      Do or did Iraqis from Al Qaim need visas to cross the border daily to buy gasoline need visas. Or do the visas show travel to (or from) Syria to a country other than Iraq? That could show possible Al Qaeda involvement.,

      The JAG could have put a hold on this guy so he could have been investigated longer.

    • Glennd1

      Surprise, surprise, Adina with a first comment and a link drop. Let me ask, do you ever comment without link dropping? But on to the substance.

      This article is amazingly slanted. The fact is that this guy took an unarmed prisoner out to be questioned at gunpoint without any authorization and presumably in violation of the orders he was operating under – that's what happened, yes? And folks here, and this author, want me to believe that is acceptable behavior? What, do you folks think this is an episode of 24? He violated a number of laws as per the UCMJ – the code he's sworn an oath to obey. We don't let soldiers just go cowboy whenever they want.

      I can't understand how anyone can't see how in the wrong this guy is. Here's the final newsflash – when in fear for his life, the captive has the right of self-defense, if Behenna is acting unlawfully – that's just the basics of laws in force here. You would have the same right if you were a POW. Wake up. Adina, do you think it's okay if Palestinians treat IDF captives this way? The question answers itself doesn't it?

      • Drakken

        Since you never served a day in your little life and have no effing clue about warfare in hostile muslim lands, your ignorant opinion means jacksh** to anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together, so go eff yourself you leftist POS! That Lt. you are vilifying has more courage in his finger than you do in your leftard body.

        • Glennd1

          So, according to you, if one hasn't served they can't form a valid moral view on this incident? Or is the frothing at the mouth distracting you from actual reasoned thought?

          • Drakken

            Until you have been there, done that, got the postcard and the tee shirt and the scars that go with it, no, your ignorant opinion about combat operations means nothing other than your horrified that some hadji got aced, it's called warfare for a reason.

        • Glennd1

          Courage? I happen to come from a family where many have served – when my time came, it was 1980 and both my brothers – who were active duty at the time – told me that it was not a good decision due to all the Carter cutbacks. But I've witnessed real courage and have close friends who are military. I called on of my brothers about this – military intelligence, Russian linguist, then went on to work for the Secret Service doing undercover work against the Russian mob and locking 30 of them up with threats against his life for over a decade. He's the definition of courage – and he thinks Behenna is a thug and a lowlife. It doesn't take any courage to pull a weapon on an unarmed captive.
          No matter how many names you call me, he deserves to be in jail. I hope he rots there.

          • Drakken

            Yeah courage, your betters have it, you don't, you go off running your suck against people who have the COURAGE to do what you can't and won't do. I no longer have any patience for those that take the high moral ground who never had the guts to climb it in the first place, and place judgement on those who do. There is zero morality in war, especially fighting islamic savages period. You don't send choir boys to fight the lowest form of life on the planet.

  • rivo

    you ameriacn are stupid, when your Benghazi consulate was attacked and ambassador and other US citizen killed, the libyan government never apologized, one of your soldier under threat a killed a terrorist, he is senteced to years in prison.Theterrorist has more right than any other US citizen, when willyou have a president like Reagan ? Do you also believe that sanctions will stop the Nazi in chief in Tehran? Your industry is losing market everywhere, the only industry that is running well is justice, justice for muslims but injustice for US citizen.

    • upaces88

      Believe me, it isn't the American Citizens doing this. We are AGAINST this and find it treacherous on the part of the Federal Govt.

      And, please do NOT think he was voted in again. He won both times by massive fraud. Romney did win and when he was kicked to the curb, he didn't even demand a recount. We are HIGHLY disturbed about what is going on in our own country.

    • Indioviejo

      Rivo, I believe you are right. We are a stupid nation. We elected an Anti-American agitator, a socialist political cadre, and self described "community organizer" twice. We habitually excuse bad people and bad behaviour because of political correctness, nevertheless we send our boys into harms way with criminal rule of engagement. I am surprised we still have brave men and women who volunteer out of patriotism for a country which has turned its back on them.

      • Indioviejo

        What is so different from other comments I see here? Enough censorship already, commisar.

  • chris gleason

    I have followed the Behenna case for some time and Lt. Behenna is on my nightly prayer list. This was a fine example of this government's failure to support our troops. I'm surprised Obummer didn't send a letter of apology to Al Queda. Behenna was doing his job. The prisoner was the enemy. Enough said.

    • Salty

      I totally agree with you. How we find good men to serve in our armed services now the way they are being treated in battle zones, I will never understand.
      God bless Behenna and I thank the people who are helping him fight for justice.

    • Big Irish

      damn that piece of islamic excretment in the White House…while hes out playing golf the United States is going down the tubes…morally, politically, economically…and this poor guy who puts his life on the line for the pathetic likes of hussein obama sits rotting in a jail cell….shame on you hussein (pbuh)…your day of reconing is fast approaching.

  • koyote

    Out of the mouth of babes….

  • Ar'nun

    As a retired Army vet, I read stories like this and thank God I am no longer in. I used to speak very highly of military service and would often reccomend it to young people who are unsure of where they should go in life. Yet after my tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, I now urge young people to avoid military service at all costs. It's just no longer worth it. The way Liberals treat our soldiers is the epitome of disgusting. I pray for all current and future service members as they have an impossible battle to fight, the Progressive war on the Military.

    • upaces88

      This is the distorted version of the Trickle Down Effect (Bush and the economy).
      Everything he touches…it ends up tragic, treacherous EVEN against our own Military.

      • Western Canadian

        Congratulations. You’ve posted a comment so obtuse it makes absolutely no sense at all.

    • HarleyQ

      Thank you for your service. Some of us still appreciate what you chose to do for our country, even if it's no longer the country you fought for.

    • Big Irish

      thank you so much for yoour service!…Im an old man now but if I had the chance to do it again I would have gone into the military…unfortunately in my teen years I was part of that hippy-dippy BS generation – you are so right about the way "liberals" treat our military – Im Canadian and we have the same BS here trust me – and they will be the first to whine and cry and call for the military when the Sh*T hits the fan…they disgust me!…..God Bless America…and Canada!.

  • Hank Rearden

    First, who was the officer who assigned Behenna the task of returning this dirtbag to his home? That is fu*king absurd, given the background of this case, with Behenna's intense personal interest in it.

    Second, we are at war. Yes, any army is useless without good discipline, but there is also the mission of the force. Who is going to be left to charge the enemy if those who do end up in jail?

    He probably should have been mustered out as Allen West was for disobeying the ROE, however absurd they are.

  • QuantumSam

    Are you all insane?

    Behenna took Ali Mansur, an Iraqi civilian, to a deserted area, forced him to strip naked and then questioned him at gunpoint.

    Imagine you were arrested and when finally realeased, the police took you to a deserted location, had you strip and then pointed weapons at you — you woul dbe in fear of your life.

    If Behenna had followed orders, he would be alive.

    You want to argue, we are at war. Well then what he did is arguably a war crime.

    • Indioviejo

      Shame on you. How can we send any man to do our dirty work and then stab him in the back? Our soldiers should always have the benefit of the doubt and then some. I for one don't think any Muslim life is worth the same as any one of our soldiers.

    • Sean

      "Behenna and his men arrested Mohamed that evening and they found a cache of ammunition, a RPK light machine gun, and a passport with Syrian visas … On May 16, 2008, Mohamed was set to be let go because the military said there wasn’t enough evidence to hold him. "

      The War crime was the military lawyer that let Ali Mansur go. The military lawyer who made the bad judgment should be court martialed and locked up or worse. In Iraq it was legal to keep an AK 47 not a light machine gun. There is a difference.

      The pogue, the REMF, lawyer that made the call had no skin in the game. At the very least he could have held Mansur longer.

      Remember Quantaless, that Marquess of Queensberry Rules only work as long as you have willing people to be chumps for you. It is past time to duck, not yell fore or incoming & let you meet the real world. That would justice, poetic or otherwise.

      You do not impose ROE that cause casualties to be order of magnitude greater just to salve your conscious. It is past time for you to have skin in the game.

      All we have to do is extricate ourselves from being among people like you and it will be done. Maybe we don't have to do anything. Maybe the results of your inequitous laws & dealings will cause people like you to be separated from the rest of us. That is the jihadis will do it. Then Katy bar the door. We'll sit back with popcorn and watch you twist in the wind, an object lesson.

      • Glennd1

        Some tough guy, sounds like you've been around. So tell me, Behenna was just doing business as usual then? Wherever you served, it was common for an officer to freelance and just take prisoners out in the wilderness and question them at gunpoint – after they were investigated and released by military police/intelligence? And they got killed while doing so? That was just an every day occurrence?

        Of course it was not and you should be ashamed of yourself for acting as though this isn't a crime. It's one thing if this is in the heat of battle, or before the guy is taken into custody and investigated, but this is after all that, and in cold blood to boot. Nope, he's a murderer and it's justice that he rots in jail.

        • Drakken

          If it makes you feel better Glen, I and many others did a hell of lot worse in the AEO's we were in, and I sure as hell don't oppologize for it and I sleep like a baby at night knowing that by our actions we saved the lives of our comrades, if that causes you distress I suggest some self esteem therapy and perhaps they will give you a trophy just for particiapating, hey don't forget to put tha COEXIST sticker on your prius you effing progressive POS!

    • Drakken

      War crime no, warfare yes, there fixed it for you, you effing litards are as much of an enemy to us as the muslim jihadist are.

  • Rostislav

    Excuse my Russian ignorance, but for me the absolutely unfathomable things in this story start from the phrase "Mohamed was set to be let go because the military said there wasn’t enough evidence to hold him". One moment, please: a few lines above I've read about "a cache of ammunition, a RPK light machine gun, and a passport with Syrian visas". If during any wartime a machine-gun with ammunition is not enough evidence to shoot the enemy on the spot, then – what exactly IS?! A submarine? A nuclear warhead leaving the launching pad? A squadron of airborne MIGs? I am 100% sure, that with "the military" like these my Russia would be still under Nazi rule and your United States would become a part of the Japanese Empire right the next week after Pearl Harbor. In my opinion your country is clearly being disarmed – just how can your Congress be so submissive to this unholy process?! Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

    • LindaRivera

      Thank you, Russian brother! Russia suffers from the same serious problems of massive Muslim colonization as Europe and Britain, and soon America and other Western countries. We are with you in your fight for FREEDOM! God bless the good Russian people!

      BARENAKEDISLAM: MOSQUE-GO! Angry Moscow residents come out in masse to protest proposed 13-story mega mosque
      RESULT? MOSQUE CONSTRUCTION CANCELLED! Says one outraged Muscovite, “I am firmly against it! We are flooded with these Muslim aliens, and now they want to have this insult standing virtually under my window… http://www.barenakedislam.com/2012/09/21/mosque-g

      Read the article!

    • Martin

      Thank you. Your input is refreshing. It also matches the feelings of mosty Americans, though they be silent on most matters. The "silent majority" you know.

    • Drakken

      As one of those that approved how the Russians dealt with the Chechen situation, a hearty salute, I do have a lot of Spetznaz types that work for me, and they are hands down the toughtest bunch I have the pleasure of working with, and they do without any doubt get the job done no matter what.

    • upaces88

      I live in Texas…I do NOT like having to agree with you…unfortunately, I do.
      He, Obama, is setting us up trying to take all of our guns away!
      Thank you for your objectivity and your comments, My New Russian friend.

  • PamM

    Anyone who kills a terrorist should be given a medal, not prosecuted for murder. When one of their terorists kill one of our soldiers the perpetrator becomes a hero to their community. Statues are raised to them and streets are named after them. Only in the insane, Marxist dominated West could we imprison our heroes and invite our enemies into government.

    • LindaRivera

      Excellent comment!

  • LindaRivera

    Bring ALL of our military home now! Our military are intensely hated by U.S. ruling elites. Hero Behenna is not the only one jailed. Several other U.S. military are also UNJUSTLY JAILED!

    All of the ruling elites should be sent out to fight and informed that they are NOT allowed to defend themselves from Muslim terrorists just as our military are barred from defending themselves.

    Stop our military fighting for Islam! Stop our military dying for Islam! Stop jailing our military for Islam!

  • κατεργάζομαι

    FISH ROT from the HEAD.

    Obama's State Department has always been America's & ISRAEL's entrenched ENEMY!

  • LindaRivera

    To Russian brother, ROSTISLAV:

    Thank you, that Russia and the Russian people opposed the US/NATO wicked war against Kosovo's INNOCENT Christian Serbs! Russia took the ethical side!

    America, Britain and Europe have repeatedly gone to war on the side of Quran-obedient Muslim terrorist organizations in a number of countries. I can NEVER forget the heartbreak of Kosovo. During the Second World War, brave Serb Christians – an entire village chose death – a terrible death, rather than reveal the hiding place of downed Americans and allies. Rest in eternal peace, brave and beautiful Serb Christians.

    In 1999, the Serbs were rewarded for their incredible sacrifice. The U.S. waged war for the KLA Muslim terrorist organization in Kosovo against Serb Christians based on a PHONY massacre US/NATO knew never took place.

    Serb war veterans were shocked. American veteran organizations sent letters to members of Congress pleading with them not to go to war against the Serbs. Some of us made phone calls to Congress and demonstrated against the immoral war in the street.

    The Russian people regard the Serb Christians as their brothers and were very bitter. Some Europeans sought to sabotage US/NATO military supplies.

    During the war I found an internet chat room where people discussed the war. There were Serb Christians in the chat room. Eventually, their voices became silent and were never heard from again. I don’t want to think what happened to the Serb Christians. Angels weep.

    • Ghostwriter

      Ms. Rivera,you do remember that the Muslims were being killed simply because they were Muslim and nothing more than that. There were horrendous massacres during that time and there were Serbs who perpetrated those massacres. Maybe you should look at BOTH sides beforehand.

      • LindaRivera

        Barbaric mass murderer and HUGE slave trader, founder of Islam, Mohammad, declared:

  • Lisa

    I can only hang my head in sorrow for Michale Behenna. There are 9 more in the same situation; they are known as the Leavenworth 10. From the L10Freedomride website: "They and their families have fallen victim to the untenable Rules of Engagement, demoralizing “Catch and Release” policies, and climate of political correctness that govern our troops’ actions while trying to survive a combat zone. "

    Only a suicidal society would do this to their fighting men who were only doing their sworn duty. Meanwhile traitors at the heights of power openly disobey the constitution with impunity. .

  • Lisa

    Thank you so much Michale Volpe for reporting this; you and Diana West are the only ones I know of who are talking about this.

  • DVult

    Why is this guy prosecuted so efficiently and the Hort Hood Jihadi is still breathing?

    • Linda Rivera

      In reply to DVult who asked: Why is this guy prosecuted so efficiently and the Hort Hood Jihadi is still breathing?
      It is because IslamoFascists, especially Muslim murderers of infidels, are ADORED by ruling elites. Patriotic Americans are despised and hated.

  • Hawk

    If Michael Behenna was a Muslim living in Iraq, and he killed an American, he would be considered a hero. I doubt he will ever get a presidential pardon.

  • Karl Stein

    Another attack on the grunts by the self-serving military leadership and those who put PC above truth. When are the grunts going to mutiny?

    • upaces88

      Obama replaced those in Command that would not OR refused to carry out what he wanted them to do.

  • DVult

    Liberals are insane. Anytime there is a dispute they rush in to take the other side. That dummy Clinton rushed into the Balkans probably knowing nothing of the history of the region and seeing three parties in conflict made sure to pick the side least like us. It is because they have no principles, don’t know anything and don’t believe in anything except advancing their own interests by any means whatsoever. Since the reality is that they are ravening wolves they attempt to cover themselves with sheep’s clothing in order to conceal their true selves. Whenever there is a fight they figure the most important thing is to appear fair and impartial and the best way to guarantee that perception is to make sure that whoever they represent receives no benefit whatsoever i.e. don’t pick the Croats or Serbs to avoid being accused of siding with our fellow Christians. They themselves do always gain something of course as their virtuous exterior is completely phoney e.g. Clinton’s statue in Pristina and his fat bank account overflowing with Saudi and Chinese(?) money.

  • ProTruth

    Thank you for your common sense Rostislav and for your clear thinking analysis of several complex situations. We in the west have in large part become mind-numbed parrots of whatever party line is in vogue and it is refreshing to hear your perspective on hard-working Muslims in Russia. It is a great tragedy that democracy was thwarted in Russia so that original thinkers like yourself are hindered from having the influence that you deserve. It would be a great pleasure to work with you and others like you to think through east-west and blue-green issues but, sadly, that would likely endanger both of us. Until then, I will continue to study repressive measure used in Russia since they, I believe, offer the greatest insights into where we are currently heading in the USA. As they say, forewarned is forearmed. I am also enjoying Solzhenitsyn's works, especially those related to modern Russia and the west. God bless you.

  • LindaRivera

    By wickedly colonizing Britain with millions of Muslims-ethnically cleansing Brits and supporting Muslim terrorists, UK leaders have deliberately placed the British people in terrible danger.

    Abu Baseer in London: “One of the goals of immigration is the revival of the duty of jihad and enforcement of power over the infidels. Immigration and jihad go together.

    Muslims wage rape jihad on hated infidel females throughout Europe and other countries. UK ruling elites stomp on our children who are offered up as a sacrifice to Islam.
    Ruling elites ALLOW and are COMPLICIT in the cruel massive Muslim rape jihad against many thousands of Britain’s defenseless children.

    South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council Are Complicit in Child-Rape
    …thousands of predominately Pakistani Muslim gang rapes of white English girls in the Rotherham area… http://britishfreedom.org/south-yorkshire-police-

    British Schoolgirl’s Testimony – Muslims Threaten Children With Violence & Rape Outside School Daily http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO1yN-eKjmo

    Muslim Gangs Drug & Rape Children All Over The UK – Britain Finally Starts To Wake Up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLzhI7rEYqE

    Our leaders bow low to Islam’s death god and cooperate fully with the Islamic goal to wreak havoc, misery, despair and the total destruction of safety and freedom.

    Koran 9:5 “Kill Jews and Christians wherever you find them”.

    Founder of Islam, Mohammed: “I have been made victorious with terror”, “Wage war on the infidel and kill them until Islam is dominant” (Koran 8:39)

  • LindaRivera

    Rostislav, Russian leaders don't have Muslims come into the country to live for FREE off the Russian people! In Britain, Europe, and other Western countries it is VERY DIFFERENT!

    In Britain and Europe, we must fight for our human rights! We must fight for our freedom! The alternative is too horrifying to contemplate!

    It is Muslim paradise in Britain! 75% of all Muslim women don’t work and 50% of all Muslim men don’t work! Britain’s government provides Muslims with FREE money, houses, food, health care, lawyers, and whatever else Muslims might need! ALL paid for by British infidels who have been made slaves of Muslims and are FORCED by Britain’s government to work for Muslims!

    Infidels (non-Muslims) have to obey laws. Muslims don’t have to! Muslims are ALLOWED to break the law and have four wives! The British government pays for all the wives and GLADLY financially provides for each Muslim male’s 20-30 children or more! Some Muslim males have so many children they can’t remember all of their names!

    If Muslims have children with significant disabilities from first cousin marriages, no problem! The British government will provide high cost special schooling and special services for Muslim disabled children of which there are many!

    In the new Britanistan, British infidels (non-Muslims) have no rights! The infidels are FORCED to eat halal meat (animals that have been slaughtered with terrible cruelty by Muslims in which the defenseless animals are allowed to SLOWLY bleed to death in great AGONY) which is served in schools, restaurants and all places!

    Muslims are allowed to beat up the infidels (NON-Muslims) and leave them almost dying and walk free from court! The Somali Muslim woman gang who beat and viciously kicked the British infidel woman almost to death walked free!

    ALL of this must be stopped!

    The British government now exist for one reason: to please, satisfy, and OBEY every desire of the ummah – the global Islamic community.

    Koran 9:5 “Kill Jews and Christians wherever you find them”.

    The British government bow low to the god of Islam. The British government must serve British taxpayers!


  • Taxpayer

    I have always depended on the concept that the US Military would never turn their guns on US Citizens if ordered to by the government [meaning Obama]. Now I am not so secure in this belief. The command structure is being decimated and being replaced with Obamabots who will do what Obama says. This will not end well.