While the job of a Green Beret entails eliminating U.S. enemies both here and abroad, one member of the 66-year-old special operations force is now being prosecuted for having done exactly that.
According to reports, once-decorated Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn has been charged in the premeditated murder of an Afghani bomb maker suspected of murdering two Marines.
The charge stems from actions the former Green Beret took on the field while deployed eight years ago and words he spoke with Fox News host Bret Baier six years afterward.
Learn more below:
“Golsteyn, in 2010, had been deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces Group. Two Marines in his unit during that time in the Battle of Marja ended up getting killed by booby-trapped explosives hidden in the area,” Fox News reported.
“Golsteyn and his men later found a suspected Taliban bomb maker nearby — though he was not on a list of targets U.S. forces were cleared to kill, Fox News previously has reported. After he was detained, Golsteyn said the man refused to talk to investigators.”
Thanks to the draconian rules of engagement implemented by then-President Barack Obama, Golsteyn was forced to release the suspect, despite the risk to him and his peers.
“There’s limits on how long you can hold guys,” he revealed in his 2016 interview with Baier.
Worried that the suspect might attempt to kill even more of his comrades, Golsteyn then made the willful decision to track down the suspect and kill him.
After an initial investigation held at the time, a military tribunal removed him from the Special Forces and took back his Silver Star but refrained from filing formal charges.
That changed after Golsteyn admitted to Baier that he had indeed killed the suspect.
“Did you kill the Taliban bomb maker?” Baier asked him in 2016.
“Yes,” Golsteyn replied.
“I’m here right now because of that interview,” Golsteyn said this week to NBC News. “I did the interview because I wanted to do some advocacy, not talk about my case or what happened in Afghanistan.”
Yet he did talk about what happened in Afghanistan — and in such stark detail that the military is now confident he “assassinated” the unnamed bomb maker.
“They quoted me as saying that me and someone else with me took a detainee to his home and assassinated him,” he complained to NBC. “The problem is I never said that.”
“It was a complete lie,” he continued, adding that he’s done nothing wrong: “I have had commanders look me in the face and tell me I have done nothing wrong.”
Why then is the military targeting him?
“I think he’s been betrayed,” his attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, told Fox on Friday.
Social media users feel similarly:
This once decorated combat veteran should be donning a Medal of Honor, not be facing criminal indictment. 😡😡😡
Former decorated Green Beret, after years of investigations, charged in death of suspected Taliban bomb makerhttps://t.co/O5EOJjId7Z
— BlueStateofEmergency⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@BlueStateSOS) December 14, 2018
This is a Travesty of justice!
War is bad enough, I know from personal experience
But then to be charged with murder of a scum bag taliban bomb maker!
— Diehard45 (RG) Merry Christmas (@Diehard45C) December 15, 2018
Former Green Beret, war hero, Army Major Matt Golsteyn betrayed by cowardly leaders. For killing taliban combatant, bomb maker, who had killed two U.S. Marines, Major, Golsteyn is being stripped of his medal and charged with murder. Outrageous! President Trump should pardon now.
— Robert A. Reno (@ROBERTARENOII) December 15, 2018
Former decorated Green Beret, after years of investigations, charged in death of suspected Taliban bomb maker | Fox News Hell yes he been betrayed this is bull shit you don’t charge a soldiers for what happen during war he did his job . https://t.co/Pj6tAQMPGM
— Sheila Walker (@sheilaw528) December 15, 2018
This what you get when the US ARMY is more concerned with their PC image, rather than what’s right. We would never won WWII like this… 😎🇺🇸
Former decorated Green Beret, after years of investigations, charged in death of suspected Taliban bomb makerhttps://t.co/8ZZ6bmNy4z
— Art (@ArtM711) December 15, 2018
— KristenK (@KristenRKaiser) December 15, 2018
What remains unclear is why the military waited two years to charge Golsteyn. While it claims to be in possession of new evidence, Stackhouse has disputed this.
“They have insinuated to me that they have new evidence,” he said to Fox. “I don’t believe there is any new evidence at all.”
A spokesperson for U.S. Army Special Operations Command said otherwise.
“Major Matthew Golsteyn’s immediate commander has determined that sufficient evidence exists to warrant the referral of charges against him,” he reportedly said. “Major Golsteyn is being charged with the murder of an Afghan male during his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan.”
Prior to the killing the unnamed bomb maker, Golsteyn was reportedly awarded a Silver Star for actions he took while leading a Special Forces team that came under heavy enemy fire.
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