President Trump granted clemency Friday night for three military service members accused of war crimes.
Mr. Trump granted full pardons for Army First Lt. Clint Lorance and Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, and ordered the promotion of Navy SEAL Edward R. Gallagher to the rank he held before he was tried and found not guilty of most of the charges against him.
“The president, as commander in chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted,” the White House said. “For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country. These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the president has stated, ‘when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight.’”
Lt. Lorance has served more than six years of a 19-year sentence for his conviction involving the killings of two Afghan men on a motorcycle in July 2012 in a battle zone in Afghanistan.
“Many Americans have sought executive clemency for Lorance, including 124,000 people who have signed a petition to the White House, as well as several members of Congress,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.
The White House said Lt. Lorance, “Under difficult circumstances and prioritizing the lives of American troops, ordered his men to engage, and two of the three men were killed.”
Maj. Golsteyn has been facing trial for an allegedly unlawful killing of a suspected Taliban bombmaker in connection with one of the largest battles of the Afghanistan war, the White House said.
“As our forces cleared the Taliban from the city of Marjah, an improvised explosive device detonated, killing two Marines,” the statement said. “The terrorist bombmaker, as identified by an Afghan informant, who had killed our troops, was detained and questioned.”
The White House said Maj. Golsteyn “was compelled to release him, however, due in part to deficiencies within the fledgling Afghan detention system. Golsteyn has said he later shot the terrorist because he was certain that the terrorist’s bombmaking activities would continue to threaten American troops and their Afghan partners, including Afghan civilians who had helped identify him.”
“After nearly a decadelong inquiry and multiple investigations, a swift resolution to the case of Major Golsteyn is in the interests of justice,” Ms. Grisham said. “Clemency for Major Golsteyn has broad support.”
Maj. Golsteyn said he was “profoundly grateful” to the president for granting clemency to the highly decorated former Green Beret.
“We have lived in constant fear of this runaway prosecution. Thanks to President Trump, we now have a chance to rebuild our family and lives,” he said in a statement released through his lawyer, Fayetteville, N.C.-based Phillip Stackhouse. “With time, I hope to regain my immense pride in having served in our military. In the meantime, we are so thankful for the support of family members, friends and supporters from around the nation, and our legal team.”
Maj. Golsteyn had been cleared in the 2010 incident by an Army Board of Inquiry. He was discharged in 2015 but later was returned to active duty to face trial at Fort Bragg. His family remained at their home in Virginia.
His lawyer said they were confident he would have prevailed in the trial but said the pardon by Mr. Trump “expedited justice” in the case.
“Maj. Golsteyn should have been medically retired years ago because of service-related injuries and allowed to move on with his life and family,” Mr. Stackhouse said. “Instead, the Army secretly pursued him for seven years.
“The origination and true motivation of this prosecution remains a mystery,” he said. “We urge the Army to learn from this flawed, compromised prosecution and prevent similar abuses in the future.”
Special Warfare Operator First Class Gallagher had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a “V” for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor, the White House said. He was convicted of posing for a photo with a dead Islamic State fighter.
“Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified,” the statement said.
Ms. Grisham said the U.S. military justice system “helps ensure good order and discipline for our millions of uniformed military members and holds to account those who violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Due in part to this system, we have the most disciplined, most effective, most respected, and most feared fighting force in the world.”
The corrupt Navy prosecutors who charged Eddie Gallagher were stripped of the Navy Achievement Medals they received for their prosecutorial misconduct.
Major Matt Golsteyn, was awarded the Silver Star for bravery in action during the 2010 Battle of Marjah in Afghanistan. In 2011, shortly after a book by author and Marine Bing West came out that detailed Golsteyn’s heroism and quoted him making critical remarks about the American strategy in Afghanistan, the Army launched a criminal investigation into his actions during the battle. In other words, Major Golsteyn was persecuted for telling the truth about Obama’s fucked up war strategy.
More background on Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance :
Ordered his platoon to fire on three Afghan men on a motorcycle who sped toward the front of Lorance’s platoon, down a road controlled by the Taliban, ignoring signs to keep off the road. The Taliban had ambushed Lorance’s patrol by sniper fire from the same road the day before, so there was considerable reason to believe that it was another attack. Afghan locals rushed out and grabbed the motorcycle. The Army never recovered it nor examined it for explosives. With no weapons found on the bodies of the two Afghan riders, the Army – seeking to prop up Obama’s rules of engagement – prosecuted Lorance on a charge of murder. The prosecution hid evidence that the motorcyclists were Taliban bomb makers, then ordered Lorance’s men to testify against him or face murder charges themselves. When the Army charged Lorance with murder, the message rang out loud and clear……Defend yourselves in battle and you may be prosecuted for murder.
President Trump also pardoned U.S. Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna who was convicted for killing an Al Qaeda terrorist. He should have never been tried in the first fucking place. The slug he shot, Ali Mansur, was a known Al-Qaeda operative. Lt. Behenna was betrayed by the Army and the country he faithfully served.
Army 1SG John Hatley and two other Soldiers were convicted for killing the muslim terrorist cocksuckers who fired at them in an attempted ambush. The 1SG and his Soldiers chased them down and found their weapons cache, but that wasn’t sufficient evidence. They were told to let them go. They didn’t. Instead, they took out the trash.
The Army tried unsuccessfully to courts-martial Lieutenant Colonel and former Congressman Allen West (R-FL), whose unwavering courage saved the lives of his Soldiers.
In another example of the military screwing its own, a SEAL team member was charged with assaulting Ahmed Hashim Abed, one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq, the mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. Evidently, the muzzie thug got a little boo boo during transport to captivity. He told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it. Who the hell cares if the little hadji got a bloody lip. I’d have probably made him eat the butt of my weapon until he crapped pieces of it.
Decorated Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, was almost discharged from the Army for shoving an Afghan police commander who raped a boy and beat up the mother when she reported the incident. That goat fucker is lucky all SFC Martland did was shove him.
Former Army Captain Will Swenson’s Medal of Honor package was “lost” after he sharply criticized his chain of command over the Obama’s ROE. Army Captain Jim Gant, one of the most successful, unorthodox special operators of the last decade, was drummed out of the Army after running afoul of his superiors.
If there’s been a pattern of attacks in a combat zone involving the same modus operandi, you bet your ass it’s justifiable to shoot when an oncoming vehicle ignores warnings and refuses to stop. The enemy was EVERYWHERE. Obama’s ROE was abject stupidity. It left troops dangerously preoccupied with worrying about enemy fighters’ rights. Hand wringers need to divest themselves from the fantasy that we are fighting an enemy that plays by the Marquis of Queensbury Rules. Anyone who thinks we shouldn’t decimate as many as possible, has a crap factory for a brain. We should be using every method, weapon, strategy, and tactic at our disposal to do so.
While honorable service members got shafted for acts of courage, former White House occupant B. Hussein Obama rewarded deserters and traitors for their despicable actions. He traded Bowe Bergdahl, a craven shitbag who walked away from his post in Afghanistan and into the arms of the Taliban, for five of the worst muzzie terrorist cutthroats at GITMO. Bergdahl got the royal treatment before public outrage finally forced a courts martial. Obama also commuted the sentence of traitor Bradley Manning, whose actions endangered the lives of the Soldiers in his unit.
This whole idea of prosecuting American troops for killing the enemy is just plain batshit crazy. What kind of war are we supposed to fight when our own troops are restricted by ROE that benefits the enemy and gets us killed?
Killing the enemy and standing up to child rapists should not be Courts Martial offenses.