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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Trump and War Crimes

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.   The update  -- just published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Waitman Wade Beorn, historian and  combat veteran of Iraq, writes at WP:
On Monday, President Trump pardoned the convicted war criminal Michael Behenna, who had murdered Ali Mansur, an unarmed, naked Iraqi, by shooting him in the head and chest. Making a specious claim of self-defense, Behenna argued that Mansur threw a piece of concrete at him and “ stood up like he’s coming at me.” And so he neutralized this threat, a naked man, already released by the Army. Behenna was supposed to be returning Mansur home to his village. A military court convicted Behenna of unpremeditated murder. American soldiers testified against him. The military court of appeals and a review panel upheld that conviction, though he was paroled early, in 2014.
Even before pardoning Behenna, Trump demonstrated a disturbing flippancy toward war crimes. He has repeatedly expressed support for former Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, another alleged war criminal. ...Trump tweeted that Gallagher would be given better conditions in confinement “in honor of his past service,” an honor many would say he threw away long ago.
Trump has also publicly supported Maj. Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with premeditated murder in the shooting of an unarmed man and the burning of his body in Afghanistan. “I will be reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero,’ ” the president tweeted.
In at least three instances, then, our commander in chief appears to have preferred to overlook serious war crimes in favor of a warped notion of patriotism and heroism. Trump subscribes to a “bad things happen in war” mentality — odd for a man who actively avoided military service.
This attitude is incredibly dangerous. It doesn’t just undermine the enforcement of military justice; it also sends a message to our armed forces about just what kind of conduct the United States takes seriously.