Your assignment is to watch the film Breaker Morant which you can rent on Youtube or other outlets. You are
then to use the “Breaker Morant defense” to defend the Goldsteyn case before a military court. I then want you
to note the pluses and minuses of this ethical approach to the issue of war crimes
The Army has reopened an investigation into a former Green Beret after he admitted during a Fox News
interview that he killed a suspected Taliban bombmaker they had held in Afghanistan.
Maj. Matthew Golsteyn already had faced an initial investigation after acknowledging during a polygraph test
he had killed the unarmed suspect. While that case was later closed, Golsteyn appeared on the Fox News
special “How We Fight” in October and discussed the incident publicly.
The suspected Taliban member in question was held during the battle of Marja in February 2010. The suspect,
though, was not on a list of targets U.S. forces were cleared to kill — and after he was detained, Golsteyn said
he refused to talk to investigators.
Under the rules of engagement, Golsteyn was ordered to release him.
However, Golsteyn, who was deployed to Afghanistan as part of 3rd Special Forces Group, was concerned
that if he did so, the suspect would have in turn targeted Afghans who were helping U.S. soldiers.
“There’s limits on how long you can hold guys,” he told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “You realize quickly that you
make things worse. It is an inevitable outcome that people who are cooperating with coalition forces, when
identified, will suffer some terrible torture or be killed.”
Golsteyn told Fox News he killed him.
A senior U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News on Friday that the Army has reopened its investigation
based on new evidence that includes the Green Beret’s public statements. The Washington Post first reported
on the reopened probe.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is fighting the Army’s decision to revisit the case. In a Dec. 7 letter to Army
Secretary Eric Fanning and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Hunter said Golsteyn has been “unfairly
“The fact that his case has been reopened, on the grounds it has, is more proof of a process that, even though
intended to pursue the facts, can also be leveraged for retaliation,” Hunter wrote.