Rep. Hunter Defends Navy Seal Accused of War Crimes
By Brian Freeman
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., defended Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who has been accused of war crimes and is being considered for pardon by President Donald Trump, telling Barstool Sports’ Zero Blog Thirty podcast that his own unit “killed probably hundreds of civilians” unintentionally during his 2004 tour as a Marine field artillery officer in Iraq.
“We fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians,” Hunter said in the interview. “So, do I get judged too?”
Duncan’s comparison is inaccurate, according to Yahoo, because it is not a crime to inflict accidental casualties when firing at enemy positions, while Gallagher faces a premeditated-murder charge for the stabbing death in 2017 of an ISIS fighter who was brought in for medical treatment, as well as shooting unarmed civilians. Gallagher was turned in by members of his own unit.
Hunter does not appear disturbed by any of that, saying “Even if everything that the prosecutors say is true in this case . . . Eddie Gallagher should still be given a break.”
The congressman, who is facing trial on federal corruption charges after allegedly misusing over $250,000 of federal campaign funds for personal use, said he has “done the exact same thing” as Gallagher, taking photos of people he presumably captured or killed while at war.
Retired Amy Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, however, said Trump would be way out of line if he pardons Gallagher or others accused of unauthorized killings, telling CNN that “It would create unbelievable discontent within the ranks . . . [because] We’re talking about the violation of the laws of land warfare, the disobedience of legal orders, the ignoring of ethical and professional standards that are upheld by the military.”
If Trump pardons the men, Hertling said he would be “undercutting the rules and regulations that contribute to good order and discipline in the military.”
While Trump has not confirmed whether he will pardon Gallagher, he has been released from custody ahead of his trial.