November 25, 2019

One important fact that's not emphasized in the Navy SEALs story is that Eddie Gallagher was accused of war crimes that were witnessed by his own men -- and was only acquitted after one witness who had repeatedly told investigators what happened, suddenly claimed he himself committed the murders -- after he received immunity. This is not about the Fox News version of a hero who was inexplicably wronged, and a president who stepped in to right that wrong. This is about war crimes.

Please note: The SEALs have a code of silence that rivals any big-city police department. Via the New York Times:

Three SEALs testified that while the platoon was deployed in Iraq, they saw Chief Gallagher fire a sniper rifle repeatedly at unarmed civilians, hitting an old man with a white beard and a school-age girl with a flowered hijab. Those shootings are included among the charges in the war-crimes trial, charges that the chief denies.

Because Special Operator Scott was just a foot away when the captive was stabbed, and remained with the captive until he died, he is considered a crucial witness in the trial. His testimony on Thursday blindsided some of his friends in the SEAL platoon who text one another regularly in a group chat that they call the “sewing circle,” according to one SEAL in the circle. The SEAL, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said the medic had never mentioned killing the captive to the SEALs in the circle.

This trial was equivalent to cops turning on their superiors. Imagine the courage it took for them to testify:

Special Operator Dalton Tolbert, a sniper who was in Chief Gallagher’s platoon in 2017 and is now assigned to SEAL Team Six, testified on Friday that he had witnessed Chief Gallagher shoot an old man who, he said, “didn’t deserve to die.”

He told the court that he believes he will probably be cut from SEAL Team 6 because of his part in the trial and the public attention it has drawn. But despite that, he sent other platoon members a text message a few weeks before the trial urging them not to give in to pressure to keep silent.

“I know guys are all in different situations right now,” he wrote. “Some are worried about careers, others threatened with jail time or even death threats.” But if any of his fellow SEALs refused to testify out of loyalty to Chief Gallagher or to the SEALs’ culture of silence, he wrote, “I think our friendship will end there.”

So we have eyewitness testimony from his own men that Gallagher committed shocking crimes -- and a last-minute "confession" from another SEAL who already had immunity. Keep this in mind when you hear Trump praising this man.

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