A bizarre situation has unfolded after a decorated US special forces soldier has been charged with murdering an Afghan man during his deployment. US Army Green Beret Major Mathew Golsteyn shot the Afghan who he described as a suspected Taliban bomb-maker when he was deployed overseas in 2010. Now, Golsteyn is being charged with the man's murder.
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Either the full story is not being told, or this is absolutely disgraceful action to prosecute a soldier for doing his job and defending not just his fellow soldiers' lives but any civilians who could have been harmed by the blast if the IED-makers device went off. Major Golsteyn spoke with Fox News about the incident and denies the charge saying he did not violate the rules of engagement.
The decorated Major Golsteyn said in a Fox interview and in a CIA interview that he and another soldier took a suspected Taliban bomb maker off base and shot him before burying his remains. He says it was the only way to save the lives of the Afghan informants who were working with the US.
US Army Special Operations Command spokesman Lt Col Loren Bymer said, "Major Matthew Golsteyn's immediate commander has determined that sufficient evidence exists to warrant the referral of charges against him." Phil Stackhouse is Major Golsteyn's attorney and he said he would be "relentless" in defending his client from the charges.
Stackhouse was only notified of the charges on Thursday and added, "Major Golsteyn is a humble servant-leader who saved countless lives, both American and Afghan, and has been recognized repeatedly for his valorous actions."
Major Golsteyn was a captain at the time of his 2010 deployment and his heroic actions won him a Silver Star, according to the Army Times. The award was even upgraded to the United State's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross. While he was deployed in Afghanistan, two Marines from his unit were killed by a booby trap, or Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
He took a routine lie detector test in 2011 during the interview process for a job with the CIA which is when he told his CIA interviewers that on February 22, 2010, he and one other soldier had taken an alleged Taliban bomb-maker off the base and shot him before burying his remains.
The Army Criminal Investigation Command decided to investigate Major Golsteyn over the comments but the investigation was concluded in April of 2014 citing a lack of evidence. He was still given an official reprimand.
The Fox News Interview That Led To Charges
In 2016, Major Golsteyn appeared in a Fox News special report called "How We Fight" where he discussed how he killed the Taliban bomb-maker. The Major told the Fox News anchor that he shot the man because he was afraid that the Taliban suspect would kill Afghan informants if he was released.
Many Americans supported Golsteyn, including a congressman who went to bat for the Major and wrote a letter to the Army secretary to object to the investigation into the killing. California Republican Duncan Hunter called for an end to the "retaliatory and vindictive" inquiry into "a distinguished and well regarded Green Beret".
The result of the investigation was that Major Golsteyn was placed on leave but he was recalled back to active duty a short time later, according to the Army Times. Matthew Golsteyn is now facing a charge of premeditated murder, a charge which could carry a maximum penalty of death. Many Twitter users went to bat for Golsteyn and expressed outrage at the charge against him.
OH MY GOD!!!!! I SPEAK A LITTLE TOUGH MINDED WHEN GOD'S TRUTHS ARE AT HAND. FORGIVE, BUT, HOWEVER; SO HELP ME GOD, NOT ONE HAIR ON MAJOR MATHEW GOLSTEYN'S HEAD SHALL BE HARMED. I AM AT HIS SIDE. AS I SPEAK FOR HEAVEN ITSELF, SOMEBODY BETTER GET TO HIS AID AND SUFFER HE NO MORE