US veterans decried Donald Trump’s orders to restore an accused war criminal’s rank in the Navy, saying the decision “sets a dangerous precedent” and suggests the commander-in-chief views the military “as a tool for massacres”.
Numerous veterans spoke out about the move to The Independent after Secretary of Defence Mark Esper confirmed he was ordered by the president to retain Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s status in the elite service, as well as his Trident pin, a prestigious special warfare insignia.
“Ever since Donald Trump became president he’s been tearing the military apart, putting troops in the difficult position of needing to choose between obedience to his unhinged orders, and staying true to our code of honour,” said Alexander McCoy, a former Marine and political director of the veteran group Common Defence. “By pardoning war criminals because Fox News told him to, Trump showed he sees our military as a tool for massacres, not as the professional, honourable force we aspire to be.”
The president’s demands could cause “significant long-term damage to the Naval Special Warfare community,” according to James Waters, a former Navy SEAL platoon commander and White House staff member in the Bush administration, who told The Independent: “The only people who weigh in on whether a Navy SEAL deserves to keep his Trident are people who have their Trident.”
“Every SEAL knows he must ‘earn your Trident every day’ – even after officially qualifying – and the same standard should apply here,” Mr Waters said. “Unless you’ve been through Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training and served in the Teams and know the specific facts related to a person’s performance, you’re not qualified to weigh in.”
He added: “This is vital to maintaining the high standards required to be effective in the Teams and on the battlefield. The absolute last thing the nation needs is to open the floodgates to outside interests determining who gets to wear and keep the Trident.”
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Trump’s order to retain Eddie Gallagher in the Navy Seals, along with the Trident pin impugns the reputation of that elite special operations force, and tarnishes the Pin. I surmise all who proudly wear the Pin would feel the honor it represents has been degraded. Do Seals want to be associated with this accused war criminal? What would be a powerful statement to blowback against this degradation? Is giving up their pins, returning them in protest the ultimate protest? It would send a strong message countering Trump’s il-conceived bluster to the world— that America’s bad-ass military is not only capable of war crimes, but will be rewarded at highest level.
The military has a code of honor? Really?
I ask anyone and everyone in the country no matter your age or gender or anything else: On 9/11/01 when you observed the attacks on the towers or the Pentagon, in pictures or at the sites, did you observe anything which might indicate the top brass were exercising their basic responsibility to defend this country from attack, anything at all? I observed them doing exactly zero, nothing didn’t you? So what does this failure in their job performance tell you about them and their actions or lack of actions that day? Did they earn any medals that day? Or would you say they sold us all out that day? Whose side would you say they were on that day based on your observations of them? What more do we need to conclude they were NOT on our side but on the side of the evil perpetrators of those crimes no? Would you conclude they were criminals and traitors that day and should be punished as such? I would. How about you? Observe their deafening silence about their dismal failure to perform their most basic function: To defend America from attack! Next time you pass one of these criminals on a street or sidewalk why not ask them to explain their dismal failure that day?
Your logic cuts through the bs like a knife. And I can’t fault it one bit.
While I agree that Trump butted in where he shouldn’t have, I have to disagree with Mr. Waters assertion that only other SEAL members are qualified to weigh in about Gallagher keeping his “Trident pin”. If the CNO weighs in, and says Gallagher is busted out of the SEALS, I don’t care if he’s from an airdale background, he’s qualified to make that determination. Mr. Waters sounding a little too Jesse Ventura(ish).
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