Monday, January 5, 2009
Help an American Soldier
"The way to have good soldiers is to treat them rightly...
A private soldier has as much right to
justice as a major general."
Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865
Soldiers are trained to follow orders. Failure to follow orders is called insubordination. But what happens when a soldier follows orders, but then is used as a scapegoat for political reasons? This is what happened in the case of Sgt. Evan Vela, from Idaho. He was sentenced to 10 years for killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian on the order of his commanding officer. Sgt. Vela's family has been tireless in their pursuit of justice. Their last best hope is a pardon from President Bush. The following was on the local news tonight.
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - The father of an eastern Idaho soldier says he has received a letter from the White House confirming that his request that his son be pardoned by President Bush is being "seriously considered."
Curtis Carnahan says he received the letter last week.
Sgt. Evan Vela, a 24-year-old U.S. Army sniper, was convicted in February and sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian who stumbled upon him and five other soldiers sleeping on May 11, 2007.
Vela also was convicted of planting an AK-47 on the dead man's body and of lying to military investigators.
Carnahan says he's hopeful the president will do something to free Vela.
(A note here: Sgt. Vela's team leader, Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley, admitted under oath that he had ordered Sgt. Vela to shoot the man, who he felt was a threat to the safety of their team, and that he, Sgt. Hensley, was the one who planted the AK-47 on the dead man's body.)
So far, President Bush has pardoned an embezzler, a moonshiner, a bootlegger, a drug runner, a poacher, a counterfeiter, and a car thief. He has pardoned mail fraud, food stamp fraud, armed bank robbery, unlawful disposal of hazardous waste, tax fraud, and making false statements on a bank loan. To date, President Bush has pardoned 191 people and commuted the sentences of 9 people.
Wouldn't it be a little more expedient for the President to pardon an American soldier who was following orders and was then used as a scapegoat for political reasons?
Go to www.freeevanvela.com to find out how you can help Sgt. Evan Vela and his family.