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  • Trump clemency moves won’t hurt military order, top DoD officials pledge

    So say’s someone who has some authority on the matter;


    Under pressure from lawmakers, the military’s top officer declined to defend President Donald Trump’s decision to grant clemency to three controversial service members last month but said he does not worry the moves will disrupt good order in the ranks.
    “I think the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the means by which we maintain good order and discipline are a critical element in order to maintain some level of humanity in combat zones,” said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley during an appearance before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
    “It’s critical … We do maintain and we will maintain good order and discipline.”
    The comments came following questioning from Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass. a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, who said he heard from current service members dismayed by the moves.
    The separate cases have all drawn attacks from Trump’s critics and praise from his supporters in recent weeks. The decisions were reportedly made over the objections of senior military officials who warned that forgiving war crimes could undermine the military justice system.
    On Nov. 22, Trump announced that he was granting a pardon to Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, convicted of second degree murder in the death of two Afghans. He walked out of military prison the next day.
    At the same time, the president also granted clemency to Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher who earlier this fall was acquitted of a string of alleged war crimes but convicted of posing for a picture alongside the corpse of an insurgent. Trump also restored his rank over the objections of Navy officials.

    Milley said he sympathized with individuals upset by the moves.

    “I understand where the sergeant major is coming from,” he said. “And I know the advice that was given, which I am not going to share here. But the president of the United States is part of the process, and he has the legal authorities to do what he did. And he weighed the conditions as he saw fit.”

    Milley added that “we will not turn into a gang, raping and pillaging throughout, as sergeant major implies. That is not going to happen because of this or anything else.”

    When asked later if Gallagher should be labeled a “war criminal,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper declined to directly answer.

    “I’d have to review the crime he was charged with,” he said. “He was acquitted of the murder charge but convicted of holding up a corpse (for a photo). That would be a violation of the law of armed conflict as I understand it.”

    Both defense officials emphasized that the moves were within the White House’s authority. Milley acknowledged he could not cite similar recent cases where high-profile service members were pardoned for such criminal actions.

    Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, criticized Democratic lawmakers for the questions on the clemency and their characterization of the three disgraced service members.

    “We need to be very careful in equating bad judgement calls, calls that may get you relieved of command, with a war crime,” he said. “I too have received many outreach and texts since these pardons were announced, and the majority said ‘that could have been me.’

    “In the heat of combat, making a mistake does not equate to a war crime.”
    https://www.militarytimes.com/news/p...icials-pledge/

    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Urban hermit View Post
    So say’s someone who has some authority on the matter;




    Under pressure from lawmakers, the military’s top officer declined to defend President Donald Trump’s decision to grant clemency to three controversial service members last month but said he does not worry the moves will disrupt good order in the ranks.
    “I think the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the means by which we maintain good order and discipline are a critical element in order to maintain some level of humanity in combat zones,” said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley during an appearance before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
    “It’s critical … We do maintain and we will maintain good order and discipline.”
    The comments came following questioning from Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass. a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, who said he heard from current service members dismayed by the moves.
    The separate cases have all drawn attacks from Trump’s critics and praise from his supporters in recent weeks. The decisions were reportedly made over the objections of senior military officials who warned that forgiving war crimes could undermine the military justice system.
    On Nov. 22, Trump announced that he was granting a pardon to Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, convicted of second degree murder in the death of two Afghans. He walked out of military prison the next day.
    At the same time, the president also granted clemency to Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher who earlier this fall was acquitted of a string of alleged war crimes but convicted of posing for a picture alongside the corpse of an insurgent. Trump also restored his rank over the objections of Navy officials.

    Milley said he sympathized with individuals upset by the moves.

    “I understand where the sergeant major is coming from,” he said. “And I know the advice that was given, which I am not going to share here. But the president of the United States is part of the process, and he has the legal authorities to do what he did. And he weighed the conditions as he saw fit.”

    Milley added that “we will not turn into a gang, raping and pillaging throughout, as sergeant major implies. That is not going to happen because of this or anything else.”

    When asked later if Gallagher should be labeled a “war criminal,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper declined to directly answer.

    “I’d have to review the crime he was charged with,” he said. “He was acquitted of the murder charge but convicted of holding up a corpse (for a photo). That would be a violation of the law of armed conflict as I understand it.”

    Both defense officials emphasized that the moves were within the White House’s authority. Milley acknowledged he could not cite similar recent cases where high-profile service members were pardoned for such criminal actions.

    Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, criticized Democratic lawmakers for the questions on the clemency and their characterization of the three disgraced service members.

    “We need to be very careful in equating bad judgement calls, calls that may get you relieved of command, with a war crime,” he said. “I too have received many outreach and texts since these pardons were announced, and the majority said ‘that could have been me.’

    In the heat of combat, making a mistake does not equate to a war crime.”
    https://www.militarytimes.com/news/p...icials-pledge/
    The bold part came from Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla, and he is wrong.

    If the mistake is a war crime, the excuse that it was committed in the heat of the combat does not exonerate the criminal.

    Also, the whole thing about the effect of the "heat of the combat" is not convincing when we talk about the killing of a prisoner and when the younger SEALs who testified against their commander did not show the behavior of a hothead.
    My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by pamak View Post

      The bold part came from Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla, and he is wrong.

      If the mistake is a war crime, the excuse that it was committed in the heat of the combat does not exonerate the criminal.

      Also, the whole thing about the effect of the "heat of the combat" is not convincing when we talk about the killing of a prisoner and when the younger SEALs who testified against their commander did not show the behavior of a hothead.
      You left out the part where the prosecutor withheld evidence, offered the his key witness immunity (which means the prosecutor had something to charge him with) and the medic testified that he was the one who killed the terrorist.
      This should be a wakeup call to all of us, our special forces are imbedded in an extremely hostile environment where all the enemy are civilians.
      We are responsible for putting them there.
      Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

      Comment


      • #4
        US soldiers in combat, no matter what the circumstances, are still obliged to obey the Law of Land Warfare which they are taught, and to obey the rules of engagement. You have overlooked that key aspect and apparently don't know or understand it.
        We are not now that strength which in old days
        Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
        Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
        To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Massena View Post
          US soldiers in combat, no matter what the circumstances, are still obliged to obey the Law of Land Warfare which they are taught, and to obey the rules of engagement. You have overlooked that key aspect and apparently don't know or understand it.
          I didn't over look anything, I posted the statement of a man who outranks you!

          Our forces have been fighting citizens, people who do not serve any nation, technically, every solider who fired weapon, dropped a bomb, launch a missile, or operated an armed drone violated the Law of Land Warfare.
          I can post video of our forces taking out an entire wedding party with a drone, and nobody protested, you believe that's worse than posing with a dead terrorist.
          Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Urban hermit View Post

            I didn't over look anything, I posted the statement of a man who outranks you!

            Our forces have been fighting citizens, people who do not serve any nation, technically, every solider who fired weapon, dropped a bomb, launch a missile, or operated an armed drone violated the Law of Land Warfare.
            I can post video of our forces taking out an entire wedding party with a drone, and nobody protested, you believe that's worse than posing with a dead terrorist.
            If you can post a video which reveals that DELIBERATELY US personnel used a drone to take out an entire wedding party just for fun, then you certainly have a case to make a comparison with the current case.

            Also, I do not know if "technically" every soldier who fired a weapon against insurgents with no military emblems and uniforms has violated the Geneva Convention. I seriously doubt about it, but I understand the point that the modern rules of Land Warfare are quite strict and a soldier can easily find himself in a situation where he is hovering between a "technical" violation of the laws and a legitimate action to carry his military duties to accomplish a legitimate mission and protect himself.

            But even then, people can and should make the distinction between a soldier who kills for fun and takes photos with his trophy and a soldier who does the best he can to act as a soldier and protect himself and his comrades.
            My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by pamak View Post

              If you can post a video which reveals that DELIBERATELY US personnel used a drone to take out an entire wedding party just for fun, then you certainly have a case to make a comparison with the current case.

              Also, I do not know if "technically" every soldier who fired a weapon against insurgents with no military emblems and uniforms has violated the Geneva Convention. I seriously doubt about it, but I understand the point that the modern rules of Land Warfare are quite strict and a soldier can easily find himself in a situation where he is hovering between a "technical" violation of the laws and a legitimate action to carry his military duties to accomplish a legitimate mission and protect himself.

              But even then, people can and should make the distinction between a soldier who kills for fun and takes photos with his trophy and a soldier who does the best he can to act as a soldier and protect himself and his comrades.
              I never said the drone operators did anything for the fun of it. Collateral damage is acceptable when a pilot drops a bomb, when a artilleryman fires a cannon. When a drone operator sitting in the comfort of an airconditioned control room thousands of miles away lets loose on a wedding party because the top brass have ordered him or her to do so, it's just fine.
              Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Urban hermit View Post

                I never said the drone operators did anything for the fun of it. Collateral damage is acceptable when a pilot drops a bomb, when a artilleryman fires a cannon. When a drone operator sitting in the comfort of an airconditioned control room thousands of miles away lets loose on a wedding party because the top brass have ordered him or her to do so, it's just fine.
                And the top brass did not order this SEAL to kill the prisoner or to take photos with the dead body. In fact, there were explicit orders from the top regarding the conduct and treatment of POWs which this sailor ignored.


                If you want to argue that guys at the top can also be accused for war crimes, I can agree. In fact, the whole thing of starting the Iraq war based on manipulating intelligence can certainly been seen as a war crime according to the Nuremberg trials.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_aggression

                In the judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, "War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."[1][2]

                Here is the link with the Nuremberg judgment and the actual quote

                https://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/judnazi.asp#common


                My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pamak View Post

                  The bold part came from Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla, and he is wrong.

                  If the mistake is a war crime, the excuse that it was committed in the heat of the combat does not exonerate the criminal.

                  Also, the whole thing about the effect of the "heat of the combat" is not convincing when we talk about the killing of a prisoner and when the younger SEALs who testified against their commander did not show the behavior of a hothead.
                  as to the bold I am going to say he is correct on a certain level. When nothing exciting is going on and after the fact the ability to sit back and nitpick things is easy to do.

                  For example the US is accused all the time of war crimes because something goes wrong and the wrong building gets bombed or shelled. Just food for thought.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Urban hermit View Post
                    Milley said he sympathized with individuals upset by the moves.

                    “I understand where the sergeant major is coming from,” he said. “And I know the advice that was given, which I am not going to share here. But the president of the United States is part of the process, and he has the legal authorities to do what he did. And he weighed the conditions as he saw fit.”
                    Right on the money. President Trump is Commander-in-Chief; everyone else is just giving advice.
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                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post
                      Right on the money. President Trump is Commander-in-Chief; everyone else is just giving advice.
                      The problem is a lot of the pro Trump guys were not saying that when Obama was in office.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by craven View Post

                        as to the bold I am going to say he is correct on a certain level. When nothing exciting is going on and after the fact the ability to sit back and nitpick things is easy to do.

                        For example the US is accused all the time of war crimes because something goes wrong and the wrong building gets bombed or shelled. Just food for thought.
                        He is not correct on THIS case though:
                        And all the seals who fought together with the convicted person and testified against him and the jury in the military trial whose members have experienced "the heat of combat " did not see the conduct of posing with the dead body of a prisoner who was killed after his capture as an action that justifies an acquittal.
                        My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Urban hermit View Post
                          So say’s someone who has some authority on the matter;


                          Under pressure from lawmakers, the military’s top officer declined to defend President Donald Trump’s decision to grant clemency to three controversial service members last month but said he does not worry the moves will disrupt good order in the ranks.
                          “I think the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the means by which we maintain good order and discipline are a critical element in order to maintain some level of humanity in combat zones,” said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley during an appearance before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
                          “It’s critical … We do maintain and we will maintain good order and discipline.”
                          The comments came following questioning from Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass. a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, who said he heard from current service members dismayed by the moves.
                          The separate cases have all drawn attacks from Trump’s critics and praise from his supporters in recent weeks. The decisions were reportedly made over the objections of senior military officials who warned that forgiving war crimes could undermine the military justice system.
                          On Nov. 22, Trump announced that he was granting a pardon to Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, convicted of second degree murder in the death of two Afghans. He walked out of military prison the next day.
                          At the same time, the president also granted clemency to Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher who earlier this fall was acquitted of a string of alleged war crimes but convicted of posing for a picture alongside the corpse of an insurgent. Trump also restored his rank over the objections of Navy officials.

                          Milley said he sympathized with individuals upset by the moves.

                          “I understand where the sergeant major is coming from,” he said. “And I know the advice that was given, which I am not going to share here. But the president of the United States is part of the process, and he has the legal authorities to do what he did. And he weighed the conditions as he saw fit.”

                          Milley added that “we will not turn into a gang, raping and pillaging throughout, as sergeant major implies. That is not going to happen because of this or anything else.”

                          When asked later if Gallagher should be labeled a “war criminal,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper declined to directly answer.

                          “I’d have to review the crime he was charged with,” he said. “He was acquitted of the murder charge but convicted of holding up a corpse (for a photo). That would be a violation of the law of armed conflict as I understand it.”

                          Both defense officials emphasized that the moves were within the White House’s authority. Milley acknowledged he could not cite similar recent cases where high-profile service members were pardoned for such criminal actions.

                          Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, criticized Democratic lawmakers for the questions on the clemency and their characterization of the three disgraced service members.

                          “We need to be very careful in equating bad judgement calls, calls that may get you relieved of command, with a war crime,” he said. “I too have received many outreach and texts since these pardons were announced, and the majority said ‘that could have been me.’

                          “In the heat of combat, making a mistake does not equate to a war crime.”
                          https://www.militarytimes.com/news/p...icials-pledge/
                          I also question this move, for the same reasons. The military is not anything like the civilian world, nor could it function if it were.

                          Trump is wrong on this one.
                          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pamak View Post

                            And the top brass did not order this SEAL to kill the prisoner or to take photos with the dead body. In fact, there were explicit orders from the top regarding the conduct and treatment of POWs which this sailor ignored.


                            If you want to argue that guys at the top can also be accused for war crimes, I can agree. In fact, the whole thing of starting the Iraq war based on manipulating intelligence can certainly been seen as a war crime according to the Nuremberg trials.

                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_aggression

                            In the judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, "War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."[1][2]

                            Here is the link with the Nuremberg judgment and the actual quote

                            https://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/judnazi.asp#common

                            He didn't kill the captive, he was found innocent of that. The prosecutor with held evidence.
                            Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pamak View Post

                              He is not correct on THIS case though:
                              And all the seals who fought together with the convicted person and testified against him and the jury in the military trial whose members have experienced "the heat of combat " did not see the conduct of posing with the dead body of a prisoner who was killed after his capture as an action that justifies an acquittal.
                              He wasn't convicted of killing the captive. Not all of his fellow Seals testified against him and the ones that did were given immunity for their testimony.
                              Question, Why did they need immunity?
                              Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

                              Comment

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