A Navy SEAL accused of committing war crimes on the battlefield received yet more support from President Donald Trump on Thursday morning when he openly lashed out at the Navy for convening a review board to determine if Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher should be expelled.
Gallagher was recently acquitted of war crimes after prosecutors bungled the case, but it didn’t help that Trump frequently spoke out in support of Gallagher and made it clear that he would pardon him even if he was found guilty of killing an already wounded ISIS combatant.
At the very least, Gallagher was found guilty of posing for a photograph with the body of a dead prisoner, and he was busted down in rank to Petty Officer First Class.
Again, this was an appropriate punishment for violating the military code of conduct, which separates us from the enemy. But Trump, nor his family, do not respect the military and the code of conduct, so he pardoned Gallagher and restored his rank.
Veterans are outraged by Trump’s decision because it flies in the face of how our troops are trained and sets the stage for soldiers committing war crimes and other violations at will in the future if they think they can just get Trump to pardon them.
Well, despite Trump’s disregard for military ethics, U.S. Navy Commander Rear Admiral Collin Green, who is in charge of the Navy SEALS, sent a letter to Gallagher and three other SEALS informing them that their actions will be looked at by a review board to determine if they “displayed a gross lack of professional or personal judgment, lack of moral or ethical behavior, and/or conduct inconsistent with the SEAL ethos.”
If the review board makes this determination, Gallagher and the others face being booted out of the Navy SEALS and would be stripped of their Trident pins.
And now Trump is interfering with military justice again by raging at Navy brass for daring to do the right thing.
The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019
Again, Trump’s move to pardon accused war criminals is not popular and sets a dangerous precedent that could destroy the military code of conduct up and down the chain of command. Trump is literally giving soldiers the green light to commit war crimes, and that cannot be tolerated.
And while the president has the power to override the Navy in this matter, that does not mean he should. Gallagher violated the code of conduct and he should face consequences for it.
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