Often, while trying to take in whole the vast vista of the president*'s various corruptions, we lose track of what a petty, vindictive, chub-fingered creep El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago really is. Luckily, The New York Times provides us with a timely reminder.
Mr. Trump angrily lashed out at the Navy for awarding commendations to prosecutors in the murder trial of Edward Gallagher, a former special operations chief, and he publicly instructed Pentagon officials to strip them of the medals. His announcement was a remarkable rebuke by a president of his own Navy leadership. “The Prosecutors who lost the case against SEAL Eddie Gallagher (who I released from solitary confinement so he could fight his case properly), were ridiculously given a Navy Achievement Medal,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Not only did they lose the case, they had difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion.”
A reminder of the facts of the case.
Chief Gallagher was turned in by members of his own SEAL platoon, who accused him of stabbing a captured and wounded teenage fighter repeatedly in the neck with a custom hunting knife in 2017. He was also charged with obstruction of justice for threatening to kill the SEALs who reported him. In a court-martial this month, he was found not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of the captive and was also acquitted of accusations that he had fired at unarmed civilians who posed no threat, including an old man and a schoolgirl. Chief Gallagher denied the charges, and his defense team said his accusers resented his leadership style. Chief Gallagher was convicted of only a single charge, related to posing for photographs with the body of the teenage captive. He was sentenced to four months’ confinement and a reduction in rank, to special operator first class.
To be sure, the prosecution bungled this one six ways from Sunday. (Tracking software inside materials sent to the defense? Really?) However, I note the conspicuous absence from the fray of all those people who saw the pictures from Abu Ghraib and leaped into print to remind us that constitutional guarantees shouldn't apply in a war zone.
But, in any case, this isn't about justice, at least not on the part of the president*, who wouldn't know the concept if it dropped in his lap. This is about knuckling military lawyers, the people who were the heroes in the fight against torture and unlimited detention during the last Republican administration. It is another little episode in the president*'s campaign to staff the entire government with people who either are natural sycophants, or who are too afraid to be anything else.
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