Donald Trump, America’s wannabe president, has military leaders and members of the Navy’s elite SEALs special forces unit, up in arms after he pardoned an out-control Chief Petty Officer that many are calling a “confirmed war criminal.”
Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, charged with murdering civilians and other crimes, still holds his rank and his place on the teams after Trump reversed any and all punishment of him and the Navy’s attempts to take away his Trident, the emblem of a SEAL.
“He’s interfering with the chain of command, which is trying to police its own ranks,” Peter D. Feaver, a specialist on civilian-military relations at Duke University and former aide to President George W. Bush, told The New York Times. “They’re trying to clean up their act and in the middle of it the president parachutes in — and not from information from his own commanders but from news talking heads who are clearly gaming the system.”
Former SEAL sniper Chris Shumake, who served in Gallagher’s platoon, says Trump’s actions “put a bad light o the teams. He’s trying to show he has the troops’ backs, but he’s saying he doesn’t trust any of the troops or their leaders to make the right decisions.”
Gallagher told his teammates and anyone else who would listen: “We just want to kill as many people as possible.”
In 2017, Gallagher commanded 22 members in SEAL Team 7’s Alpha Platoon in Mosul, Iraq, but were ordered to only “advise and assist” Iraq commandos and remain at least 1,000 meters behind the front lines, but when Iraqi soldier captured an Islamic State fighter and took him to a staging area, the Platoon leader ignored orders and raced to the scene.
“No one touch him,’ he radioed other SEALS. “He’s mine.”
Witnesses said Gallagher stabbed the captive in a grotesque murder. “Got him with my hunting knife,” he bragged.
Gallagher continued to ignore orders and led small teams beyond the front lines, ordering his teammates to turn off locator beacons, so they could not be traced by superiors. When a platoon member was shot, he tried to cover up the mission.
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.
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.
By the end of the deployment, SEALs said, Chief Gallagher was largely isolated from the rest of the platoon, with some privately calling him “el diablo,” or the devil.
Six SEALs turned Gallagher in, and he was charged with a dozen counts, including murder. Gallagher claimed they were “liars” who did not meet his “high standards,” but former SEAL David Shaw, who was deployed with the platoon said “All six were some of the best performers in the platoon,” he said, speaking publicly for the first time. “These guys were hand-selected by the chief based on their skills and abilities, and they are guys of the highest character.”
But a demented, corrupt individual, Donald John Trump, who used faked medical reports to keep him out of the military during the Vietnam War, because a flawed political system made him the Commander in Chief after Russian interference helped put him in the White House, revoked the Navy’s right to punish Gallagher and leave him a tarnished ex-member of what is supposed to be an elite squadron of warriors.
“This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review,” Navy Secretary Richard Spencer says. “It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”
Spencer backed Navy Rear Adm. Collin Green, the new commander of the SEALs, who found Gallagher routinely undermined military command, appeared without authorization on Fox News and insulted his superiors as “a bunch of morons.” With the backing of Admiral Michael Gilday, he authorized removal of Gallagher from the SEALS and strip him of his Trident insignia.
Trump’s rage brought an angry tweet that “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident.” He ordered the Secretary of Defense to fire Spencer and stopped any further attempts to punish Gallagher. He pardoned Gallagher and two other soldiers convicted of war crimes.
Another sad chapter in the corrupt presidency of Donald Trump.
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