A Medal of Honor winner, a former assistant defense secretary and a New York congressman are part of a wave of support for a Marine Corps reservist facing the end of his career for trying to save Marine lives.
Marine Maj. Jason Brezler, who in civilian life is a New York City firefighter, used his personal email account to try to warn Marines in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province that a high-ranking Afghan police was a security risk suspected of sexually abusing personal assistants known as “tea boys” on bases shared by U.S. and Afghan forces, according to the Marine Corps Times.
Days after Brezler sent his warning in response to inquiries from Marines at Forward Operating Base Delhi, one of those “tea boys” opened fire in a base gym, killing three Marines and severely wounding a fourth, the Marine Corps Times reported.
Now, Brezler is facing possible forced separation from the service from a board of inquiry next month for using the unsecured account to send classified information, according to Fox News.
In short, a dedicated Marine’s military career could be over for trying to sound an alarm intended to protect the Corps.
And how did Brezler get caught using an unapproved method to try to warn fellow Marines of the deadly danger in their midst?
He turned himself in after realizing his mistake.
“In other words, he did the right thing,” the Marine Corps Times wrote in an editorial Oct. 17.
In addition to newspaper, Brezler is getting support from Marine Sgt. Dakota Mayer, who won the Medal of Honor in 2011, former Assistant Defense Secretary Bing West, and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.
In his 2011 book “The Wrong War,” West described the Afghan police officer, Sarwar Jan, as a protégé of a former governor of the province widely suspected of being tied to the local Taliban, according to Fox News.
The “tea boy” who carried out the attack, a 15-year-old named Aynoddin also appeared tied to the Taliban. “I just did jihad,” he bragged after the shootings, according to the Washington Post. “Don’t you want to do jihad, too? If not, I will kill you.”
Brezler is also getting support from the families of some of the Marines who died in the attack.
“A tea boy would never do something so bold as to shoot four Marines without someone’s permission,” one relative told the Marine Corps Times.
None of Brezler’s supporters defend his use of personal email to send information that’s technically classified, but they ask if that’s enough for the country to lose the service of a valuable Marine.
“Brezler’s treatment sends the message that in the Marine Corps there’s no room for honest mistakes,” the Marine Corps Times editorialized. “That’s a dangerous precedent to set.”