Friday, December 6, 2019

Trump tries political rhythm on Navy’s drum

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The 39-year-old officer of the special unit “Navy Seals” was charged with the murder of Iraqi civilians, but was acquitted of this accusation. However, a military court sentenced him for posing with one of the bodies for photos. He had already served four months in jail – and now he is spared the demotion that was supposed to follow.

Trump did not pardon the soldier, but reversed his demotion

Originally, the Marine Gallagher wanted to check again. He could have lost his status in the navy or awards. Donald Trump has now come to this by instructing Defense Secretary Mike Esper to retire Gallagher with full privileges. So Trump did not pardon the soldier, but reversed his demotion.

The conflict over Trump’s intervention also led to Esper dismissing Marine Secretary Richard Spencer last Sunday. He wanted to negotiate a compromise with the Navy, according to press reports, so that at least Gallagher’s review could have taken place. Trump and his minister prevented that. This is particularly annoying from the point of view of many executives in the Navy, because the troupe at the time the consequences of various scandals sexual abuse and violence against civilians. In addition, Gallagher’s deeds had been reported by seven soldiers who had only had to overcome significant resistance in the force.

The magazine “The American Conservative” called the conflict the worst break between government and army since the Vietnam era. But Trump does not rely on moderate conservatives inside and outside the armed forces. Gallagher, who had written to another soldier in Iraq that he had “caught a hunter” with a civilian, is now something of a right-wing conservative hero. He has appeared frequently at Fox News and, thanks to the successful media campaign, can now retire without fear of further scrutiny.

Trump does not intervene for the first time in a case particularly noted by right-wing conservatives. His eighteen pardons and penalties have often been political in nature, with lobbying and media relations.

He granted his first pardon to Arizona-born former sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted in 2017 for ignoring a court order to release immigrants. Trump also helped commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who had been convicted of illegal campaign donations, and the last two soldiers he pardoned had fears of killing civilians. Lieutenant Clint Lorance was already convicted and was serving a 19-year sentence for ordering subordinates to shoot at unarmed Afghans. Major Mathew Golsteyn was charged with killing an unarmed Afghan whom he considered a terrorist. His trial will begin in December. Both granted Trump’s full pardon.

In the opinion of many commentators, the president uses his grace of mercy to satisfy his base and win over the military and their constituencies as voters. So he wanted to do a favor to those who can use him politically, judged by law professor Daniel Kobil of the Capital University in Ohio the newspaper “USA Today”. “He served his feast a feast,” said the lawyer.

Not in vain Trump referred to two cases from the time of the government of Barack Obama , the right-wing conservatives particularly displeased. Obama had saved most of the 35-year sentence of soldier and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who had shared top secret information with Wikileaks. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who spent five years in the Taliban captivity in Afghanistan, was not pardoned by Obama. He pleaded with desertion and was dishonorably dismissed.

Both were “traitors” to Trump. Manning, whom he described as a “young gentleman, now a person”, had been treated as laxly as Bergdahl, while trying to imprison good “fighters” like Gallagher for 25 years, Trump lamented. There never was a president who put himself in front of his military like him.

Read also: White House: Trump wants Senate trial

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