The more I think on it, Trump’s pardon of Gallagher may be a more egregious abuse of power, with more horrific potential future consequences, than even the Ukraine matter. For those that don’t know, Gallagher is the Navy SEAL who stabbed a fourteen year old – a child – hostage, to death. Not satisfied with stabbing a child to death, Gallagher then took out his phone and pictured himself with the newly dead child’s body and captioned it: “Got him with my hunting knife.” The matter has shaken the Pentagon to its core. Of course it has. There has never been a force with more destructive power in the history of civilization than the United States military. The only way one safely contains that power so it is used “responsibly” is rigid adherence to a code, the UCMJ, which sets forth the “law” by which the military operates. Without that commitment, the United States military is the most dangerous organization to ever exist. Of course the Pentagon is terrified of having a president reach into its ranks and – for near naked political reasons – pardon someone, and then reach in again and force it to honorably discharge Gallagher. How is the military supposed to function going forward if it looks that nakedly political? It cannot. Nor can a democracy function going forward if the law doesn’t apply to anyone that Trump and Fox News “really likes.” The nation’s top military officials know this and are considering sending the strongest signal they can, joint resignation. According to Politico: Even before Navy Secretary Richard Spencer’s forced ouster this weekend, a handful of the Pentagon’s highest-ranking officials have been debating just when they would feel compelled to resign over what they see as Trump’s disregard for the chain of command, two current senior officials told POLITICO in recent days. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations. Even before? They surely must be having some intense meetings now. From the Atlantic: A torrent of raw military condemnation has been unleashed on Donald Trump, with some of the most respected figures among retired military leaders lining up to express their profound disapproval of their commander-in-chief. The outpouring was exceptional, both for the sheer number who unloaded on the president and for the unrestrained language in which they put it. I do not expect to see the Joint Chiefs resign. To be honest, I am not sure that I want them to resign right now. If they Joint Chiefs resigned, they would create an opening sure to be filled with absolute loyalists, imagine a Joint Chiefs composed of Bill Barrs rather than Jeff Sessions. The point is, however, that they are talking about it. The fact that we are hearing that they are talking about it is extremely meaningful. It is a message from the country’s top ranking military officials: “The system is blinking red! This man cannot be entrusted to lead this nation!!” One wonders what more it will take for Republicans to wake up to the danger here. One wonders whether Republicans even care any longer, or whether the Republicans are really even in control of themselves at this point. For all we know, the Russians have complete control over every Republican leader through various compromising materials. […]
NBC News is reporting that Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spence, is threatening to resign over Trump’s continued meddling in the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. For those who haven’t been following the story, Gallagher is a despicable character, a murderer, someone who had been reported by his fellow SEALs and court-martialed by the Navy. Despite the existence of legitimate issues in the procedures utilized by the prosecution, the Navy did secure a guilty verdict on charges that Gallagher took pictures with a corpse. For more on the backstory, via Rawstory: Gallagher came under court martial in 2018 on charges including premeditated murder, attempted murder, and aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon on non-combatants. He was accused by fellow SEALs of stabbing a teenage ISIS prisoner with a hunting knife, as well as shooting and firing rockets randomly into areas with no enemy forces, to the point that his fellow SEALs tampered with his sniper rifle to stop him from killing civilians. He was also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly threatening to kill or blacklist fellow SEALs who turned him in. A person who enjoys malicious cruelty, killing innocents, and then intimidating his brother and sister soldiers in order to keep them from reporting him (obstruction of justice), this is exactly the type of man that Trump admires. Thus, of course Trump stepped in on his behalf. Gallagher, a Special Warfare Operator and petty officer who fought in Iraq, was one of multiple servicemembers pardoned by Trump of serious war crimes, against the objections of military officials and veterans’ groups. Right-wing politicians, including Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), have been urging the president to help Gallagher for some time. This is who Trump is, this right here. Real professional military officers, not panty-waisted Berkeley peaceniks like me, but real professional military officers wanted this guy gone. Gallagher’s unit obviously wanted him convicted, they turned him in. Veterans groups wanted him charged. But because “cruelty is the point,” and because “laws no longer matter,” Trump loves the guy and will oppose all who had tried to bring some measure of justice in this case. So Trump pardoned him from his criminal conviction, the court-martial. But that wasn’t going to stop the Navy from getting rid of the guy. The Navy set about to kick him out of the Navy. That earned the Navy a tweet from Trump, stating: “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!” Trump knows best. And because Trump is a dictator, for whom no detail is too small, he will weigh in on the Navy’s plans to boot this bastard. But thankfully Sec. Spence has risen to the challenge. Spence has asserted that a tweet is not an order, and that unless Trump provides a written order to stop the process (something that is I am not sure is even legal), the procedure would continue. NBC News states that Spence has said that he would resign if Trump continues to insert himself into the process. Again, the real story is Trump, and his utter lack of humanity. It is so symbolic and telling that Trump finds Gallagher to be the sympathetic person in all this. […]
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