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Trump pardons U.S. soldiers

by Harvest Prude
Posted 11/18/19, 11:43 am

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Friday said his leniency toward three U.S. military members accused of war crimes would give armed services members “the confidence to fight.” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president is responsible for ensuring the law is enforced and that “mercy is granted” when appropriate.

Whom did he pardon and why? Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance was convicted of second-degree murder for ordering his men to fire upon three unarmed Afghans. Maj. Mathew Golsteyn faced charges of killing an unarmed suspected bomb-maker. In addition to granting clemency, Trump also ordered a promotion for Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who posed with the corpse of an Islamic State (ISIS) captive in 2017.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Laura Finch’s report in The Stew about other pardons Trump has issued.


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Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Mon, 11/18/2019 03:31 pm

    I’m 100% behind this. Warfare is not civilized. It is brutal and cruel and often “unfair.”  It is ridiculous to try to force warriors to follow the same code of conduct as, for instance, a cop enforcing the law in the midst of a largely law-abiding and non-hostile populace. 

    Particularly offensive are attempts to prosecute warriors for behavior which has “humiliated” or robbed enemy of their “dignity.”  These kinds of acts are a vital part of destroying the morale, and thus the effectiveness, of enemy combatants. 

    You may hate war, as I do, but there are times when someone has to do it. There are many selfish or greedy or hateful people in the world who are incapable of responding to reason. 

  • Allen Johnson
    Posted: Wed, 11/20/2019 09:02 pm

    Old Mike,
    You seem to say that anything goes in war, that there are no repercussions for soldier brutality and killings to civilians. This is clearly not what so-called Just War theory says, nor of course the interntional treaties on conduct of war.  American soldiers are trained to have restraint against civilian populations. If they egregiously break this then they should be punished.
    To use an old example, do you think those who perpetrated the My Lai Massacre get off scott free?

    At a deeper level, these regime change wars to gain global leverage should be seen as a war crime. But then, what would Jesus think?

  • NEWS2ME
    Posted: Mon, 11/18/2019 04:52 pm

    I hope Trump looks into pardons for many more of our military who were accused by the enemy.

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Tue, 11/19/2019 11:08 am

    Perhaps he should pardon Major Nadal Hasan and Bradley/Chelsea Manning while he's at it.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 11/19/2019 03:30 pm

    I can’t believe you are (apparently) comparing Hasan and Manning with the soldiers President Trump pardoned. 

    Sorry, but I feel the spit in the face of all of us who have stood between you and those who try to do great harm to the People of the US. 

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Thu, 11/21/2019 02:35 pm

    Old Mike,

    I am a USAF Veteran. Thank you for YOUR service. The phrase "LAWFUL ORDER" comes to mind. 

    "Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance was convicted of second-degree murder for ordering his men to fire upon three unarmed Afghans. Maj. Mathew Golsteyn faced charges of killing an unarmed suspected bomb-maker. In addition to granting clemency, Trump also ordered a promotion for Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who posed with the corpse of an Islamic State (ISIS) captive in 2017."  

    I can't fathom a situation where firing on three unarmed Afghans would constitute a lawful order. What about the men who were given the order? Were they charged? The commander SHOULD be the one to take the heat. I wish I knew more about Golsteyn's situation. I will withhold commenting  on that. Posing with the corpse of an ISIS captive is just gruesome. Just because he's a Navy Seal doesn't give him license to hold up a dead man like a trophy. In addition to a pardon, he was given a promotion. I saw a few notable people during my time in the service receiving promotions in the military by stepping all over their subordinates to reach the top. That doesn't equate leadership, in my book.

    I guess my attitude toward these pardons is with rank comes a certain amount of responsibility. And my expectations are greater for those in positions of authority. Rest assured, I wouldn't be applauding a pardon for Hasan or Manning either. That was my point. Let me issue a caveate. IF any of these three were taking the fall for someone of higher rank, then yes, a pardon is in order. From this article, we just don't know. 

  • OldMike
    Posted: Thu, 11/21/2019 03:15 pm

    Hi, Mr. Johnson, nice to see you back. It is always interesting to see how you misread what I say or attempt to put words in my mouth. 

    You have disappointed me this time. It is so obvious that I have not said “anything goes in war, that there are no repercussions for soldier brutality and killings to civilians [sic].”  

    It is also obvious that you have no first-hand knowledge of the conditions our soldiers have faced in the Mideast conflicts, and I suspect you have not even read the reports on the incidents involving Lt. Lorance, Maj. Golsteyn, or CPO Gallagher. Those widely available reports detail numerous discrepancies in testimony, and in Gallagher’s case, egregious prosecutorial misconduct. I don’t claim to have any “secret” knowledge about any of these men or the incidents they were involved in. What I do say is, from news reports from the mainstream media—not right-wing fanatics—I conclude that in none of those cases was there anything close to the normal standard in the US for conviction:  guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.  I believe over-zealous prosecution by people biased against war-fighters is pretty obvious  

    I’m also inclined to conclude that you yourself have some particular dislike for soldiers, and the military in general, as you have apparently based your opinions of those men, and the Presidential pardons, on bias rather than evidence.  

    Finally, yes, I believe there are and should be, standards of humane and ethical conduct for war and those who must make war, but hardly the same standards by which you deal with your neighbors. As a tiny side note to your My Lai red herring, I actually participated in protests against the attempts to make William Calley into some kind of hero.  And yes, I also protested against what Kerry said about all of us in VietNam committing atrocities.  I guess, Mr. Johnson, you probably totally bought into that one, too.

    In conclusion, I’ll put some words into your mouth:  “In 1941, the US entered an unlawful war to change the legally elected regimes in Germany, Japan, and Italy.” Allen Johnson.    

    Like that?

     

  • OldMike
    Posted: Thu, 11/21/2019 03:29 pm

    My Two Cents, thank you for your service, as well.  

    When you have time, please do a quick internet search and read the reports on the charges against those men, and on their trials. The prosecutors never came close to demonstrating guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

    I believe the worst thing that can be said for certain against any of those three who received pardons is, they made mistakes or made bad judgment calls.  If so, the resulting deaths are a shame but not crimes. 

  • Idaho ob
    Posted: Fri, 11/22/2019 02:39 pm

    Sorry, Obama already pardoned Chelsea Manning.

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