The Jury Talks Back

12/2/2019

Sickening NYT Article on Trump’s Pardoning of a War Criminal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:58 am

No sensible person can read this article from start to finish and not be sickened at the behavior Trump has sanctioned — and wants to campaign on sanctioning:

Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher and other Navy SEALs gave the young captive medical aid that day in Iraq in 2017, sedating him and cutting an airway in his throat to help him breathe. Then, without warning, according to colleagues, Chief Gallagher pulled a small hunting knife from a sheath and stabbed the sedated captive in the neck.

The same Chief Gallagher who later posed for a photograph holding the dead captive up by the hair has now been celebrated on the campaign trail by President Trump, who upended the military code of justice to protect him from the punishment resulting from the episode.

. . . .

When senior platoon members confronted Chief Gallagher, they said, he told them, “Stop worrying about it; they do a lot worse to us.” . . . . A week later, Chief Gallagher sent a friend in California a text with a photo of himself with a knife in one hand, holding the captive up by the hair with the other. “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife,” he wrote.

That’s the part you knew. You may also know that there were serious allegations of prosecutorial misconduct One of the witnesses took the blame for the murder at trial, making conviction of the murder apparently impossible. (DRJ noted the acquittal back in July.) But Gallagher was convicted for the photo and his pin was taken away. The Navy Secretary was fired for objecting.

Here are some things you may not know:

Before deployment, he commissioned a friend and former SEAL to make him a custom hunting knife and a hatchet, vowing in a text, “I’ll try and dig that knife or hatchet on someone’s skull!”

. . . .

As the deployment wore on, SEALs said the chief’s behavior grew more erratic. He led a small team beyond the front lines, telling members to turn off locator beacons so they would not be caught by superiors, according to four SEALS, who confirmed video of the mission obtained by The New York Times. He then tried to cover up the mission when one platoon member was shot.

At various points, he appeared to be either amped up or zoned out; several SEALs told investigators they saw him taking pills, including the narcotic Tramadol. He spent much of his time scanning the streets of Mosul from hidden sniper nests, firing three or four times as often as the platoon’s snipers, sometimes targeting civilians.

One SEAL sniper told investigators he heard a shot from Chief Gallagher’s position, then saw a schoolgirl in a flower-print hijab crumple to the ground. Another sniper reported hearing a shot from Chief Gallagher’s position, then seeing a man carrying a water jug fall, a red blotch spreading on his back. Neither episode was investigated and the fate of the civilians remains unknown.

Chief Gallagher had been accused of misconduct before, including shooting through an Afghan girl to hit the man carrying her in 2010 and trying to run over a Navy police officer in 2014. But in both cases no wrongdoing was found.

. . . .

SEALs said they started firing warning shots to keep pedestrians out of range. One SEAL told investigators he tried to damage the chief’s rifle to make it less accurate.

It’s a description of a man utterly out of control, which is corrosive to discipline. But Trump watches “Fox & Friends” and the guy on “Fox & Friends” thinks Gallagher got a raw deal, so that is now U.S. policy.

People tell me all the time to look only at what Trump does, not what he says. Well, this pardon is something he did. It is an attack on the rule of law, like so much of what this cretin does. He is wholly and utterly unfit for office.

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