Think About It:

Why Might Donald Trump Have Pardoned Three Soldiers Charged with or Convicted of War Crimes, Against the Advice of Top Military Brass?



From a Reader

On Friday, Donald Trump pardoned three U.S. military personnel who had either been charged with or convicted of war crimes: Mathew Golsteyn, Army Special Forces officer who killed an unarmed man in Afghanistan; Clint Lorance, Army lieutenant who ordered his troops to shoot a group of unarmed men in Afghanistan, killing two; Edward Gallaher, a Navy SEAL officer who stabbed a 17-year-old in the neck and killed him in Iraq.* This move was said to be opposed by many top officials in the military, including the Secretary of Defense.

Most reasons chalked this up to Trump's desire to unleash the military or his desire to garner votes from veterans. Maybe—probably—those entered into it. But think about this: if Trump is impeached and then convicted in the Senate... or if he loses the election in 2020 and refuses to leave office... and the military is called on to enforce that... there could very well be a contest for the loyalty of the troops. 

Might that have anything to do with this decision? Just asking.


* Mathew Golsteyn was facing murder charges for killing an unarmed man in Afghanistan in 2010. The man had been accused of being a bomb maker for the Taliban and responsible for the death of two Marines, but was released by the U.S. military. Golsteyn lay in wait for the man off base and then assassinated him—and said he had done it to protect fellow American troops.

Clint Lorance ordered his troops to fire on five unarmed villagers in Afghanistan in 2012. The men were posing no threat to the troops. Two of them were killed. Lorance then lied to cover up what happened.

Edward Gallagher was tried on charges of stabbing to death a17-year-old in Iraq who was accused of being a member of ISIS, as well as randomly shooting at civilians. Gallagher was convicted of a minor charge of posing with the murdered teen’s body but acquitted of all other charges, and simply demoted one rank.

Trump issued full pardons for Golsteyn and Lorance and reversed the demotion of Gallagher.  [back]




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