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Cleared SEALs: Justice prevails

It's repugnant when known terrorists get more favorable legal treatment than the soldiers who defend the United States against them. That injustice has been dealt a well-deserved blow.

Two of three Navy SEALs facing charges after an al-Qaida thug allegedly got roughed up -- he suffered a bloody lip -- have been cleared of any wrongdoing by a U.S. military court in Iraq. A third SEAL goes on trial on Monday. The trio reportedly sought military hearings instead of reprimands to clear their names.

The charges were lodged by a repulsive terrorist who had been regarded as a high-value military target. Authorities say Ahmed Hashim Abed plotted the grisly 2004 murders of four military contractors in Iraq, then saw to it that their bodies were dragged through the streets, burned and hanged from a bridge in Fallujah.

Instead of being commended for bringing Mr. Abed to justice, the SEALs faced strikes to their service records -- a likely overreaction from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq. But if, in fact, Abed's abuse was as claimed -- the al-Qaida playbook urges captured terrorists to say they were abused -- why would his alleged attackers roll the dice on a court verdict and risk even worse punishment?

With military service comes honor -- sadly, even when service personnel have to step up and defend their own.

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