Edward Gallagher is a war criminal. It matters not that Donald Trump issued a pardon in November … he is still a war criminal.
Gallagher was found guilty of posing for a grisly trophy photo with the dead captive’s body. He was initially charged with other war crimes, including charges that he shot at civilians and killed a wounded captive with a knife while serving as a platoon leader in Iraq. I strongly suspect, based on what has been said by those who served with Gallagher, that he was at least complicit in the other charges that he was not convicted on. Either way, Eddie Gallagher is a nasty piece of work.
In the videotaped statements of SEAL members, several broke down in tears as they recounted Gallagher’s behavior in Iraq. They told Navy investigators that Gallagher shot civilians without cause, bragged about the number of people he’d killed with his sniper rifle, including women, and went on “gun runs,” which means indiscriminately firing a heavy machine gun into civilian neighborhoods. They said of their former platoon commander that he “is freaking evil,” “toxic,” and “perfectly O.K. with killing anybody that was moving.”
Some of Gallagher’s former platoon members – who defied an unwritten code of silence within the Navy SEALS to testify against him – even said they thought Gallagher had purposely exposed their unit to enemy fire out of the belief that an increased number of casualties among his men would increase his chances of being awarded a Silver Star.
But, all that did not matter to Donald Trump, an equally nasty piece of work, as he not only chose to pardon Gallagher, but also demanded that his rank be restored. He issued a direct order to the Navy that Gallagher was not to be demoted.
So, what has Eddie Gallagher been up to since his undeserved pardon? Well, partying with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, for one. Yes, folks, Trump invited Eddie and his wife to his Florida resort to be wined and dined, and invited Gallagher and the other two war criminals he pardoned to join him on the campaign trail this year! But wait … there’s more.
Eddie Gallagher has started his own line of clothing, called “Salty Frog Gear”. He is also endorsing products of other clothiers that include t-shirts with the words “KILL BAD DUDES,” and websites that features t-shirts reading “Waterboarding Instructor,” which suggests that he’s perhaps a bit too comfortable with acts that fall into the category of war crimes. He is, in other words, capitalizing on his war crime and ignoble presidential pardon.
I find it strange that Donald Trump, when he initially announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, made a comment whereby he referred to immigrants from Mexico as “bad hombres”. In my book, this Gallagher person is the ‘bad hombre’. He has shown no remorse or introspection about the accusations against him. He’s referred to the SEALs as “mean girls” and has consistently attacked them on social media. He has also appeared on Fox News, though he has banned the New York Times from his Instagram page and refused to speak with NYT journalists, saying he only gives interviews to “legitimate media” … like FOX???
Eddie Gallagher calls himself a “patriot”. Donald Trump praises Eddie Gallagher, calling him “one of the ultimate fighters”. Perhaps I would have a bit more respect for Trump’s opinion if he had actually served in the military, rather than having his daddy buy his way out. Trump’s pardon of Gallagher and two other war criminals in November is a slap in the face to the honourable men and women who put their life on the line every day for this nation. Michael A. Cohen, writing for The Boston Globe, sums it up best …
“Having a president who appears to take no issue and even encourages the committing of war crimes certainly doesn’t help – and I fear for the impact on the US military, and good order within its ranks, when the president is so brazenly endorsing acts that violate the training that members of the military receive. I fear even more for the SEALS who bravely spoke out against Gallagher – and for future whistleblowers who will now have little motivation to come forward.
But worst of all, with the benefit of Trump’s support, Gallagher has become another weapon in America’s toxic culture wars – and I suspect that much of the support for him from conservatives is a result of the fact that liberals are so outraged by his actions and the president’s intervention on his behalf. Gallagher has become a heroic figure for far too many. It is yet one more example of how tribalism is overwhelming our national character and the extent to which America has become an increasingly divided and broken nation.”