This week most of us have heard the story of Lt. Michael Murphy who was awarded our country's Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously. His story has been told by Marcus Luttrell a Navy SEAL who served with Lt. Murphy in Afganistan.
In the early part of their mission in 2005 they came upon three Afgani goatherders. These goatherders were not at all friendly to the Americans. The members of Lt. Murphy's team took a vote to decide whether or not to release the goatherders or do the militarily wise thing and kill them as possible enemies. Marcus Luttrell was the deciding vote to release the goatherders. Mr. Luttrell said in his book LONG SURVIVOR that he voted for release because he could envision that the headlines in the United States papers would say that we were killing civilians without even knowing the circumstances. And he regrets it to this day. We don't know for sure that the released goatherders let the Taliban know where the Americans were, but it is possible.
We also learned recently that when three U.S. soldiers were kidnapped the efforts to start a rescue mission were stalled for nearly 10 hours while lawyers discussed the legal grounds for wiretapping the suspects. Under recent interpretations, fourth amendment rights against unlawful government searches of American citizens were extended to foreigners, including suspected terrorists, because the copper wires and fiber optics that carry their conversations and e-mail traffic go through major hubs in the United States.
It's a shame that our military cannot do their jobs without worrying about what the press will say.