In recent years, our military has been overrun with social engineering, dangerous and destructive rules of engagement, and a culture of prosecution against soldiers who do their jobs well. If there is a part of our government where we truly need “criminal justice reform,” it’s in the military.
Our soldiers are given aimless missions and placed into meat grinders in the Middle East, where they must indefinitely play defense and patrol on foot precarious areas with multiple warring tribes where everyone must be presumed a civilian but can potentially kill our personnel without any warning. Rather than lobby for a more clearly defined mission, the top Pentagon officials and current crop of generals are more concerned with continuing to run a politically correct military.
This brewing battle boiled over in the case of Eddie Gallagher, a decorated Navy SEAL chief petty officer who faced life in prison on charges that he committed war crimes and killed an unarmed boy fighting for ISIS in Mosul in 2017. Ultimately, Gallagher was found not guilty in July, but was convicted of posing for a photo in front of an ISIS corpse in Iraq. The president, as commander in chief, reinstated Gallagher’s rank and promised to ensure that his SEAL trident pin was not stripped of him upon retirement. “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” Trump tweeted last Thursday. “This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”
Trump pardoned two other soldiers on November 15. Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn , a decorated Green Beret, faced a murder trial next year for killing a suspected Taliban bombmaker responsible for killing two Marines, and Lt. Clint Lorance was convicted in 2013 in the murder of two “unarmed” fighters in Afghanistan and was serving a 19-year sentence.
Earlier this year, Trump expressed his frustrations with some of the best warriors being prosecuted for killing the enemy overseas. “Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard, long. You know, we teach them how to be great fighters, and then when they fight, sometimes they get, really, treated very unfairly,” Trump said just before Memorial Day.
Trump’s pardon of these two soldiers kicked off a round of review boards to determine whether they, along with Gallagher, would remain in the armed forces or be stripped of certain honors. The swamp in the Pentagon wanted to thwart the president on each of these decisions, and the president was having none of it.
On Sunday, Secretary of Defense Mark Epser, acting on behalf of the president, fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer “after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.” Evidently, Spencer had undercut his superiors within the department and privately offered the White House a deal whereby Gallagher’s trident pin would not be taken, but the review board on his ultimate fate in the service would go forward.
Trump announced the firing of Spencer this morning on Twitter and noted that he was not pleased with the way this entire case was treated:
I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration’s…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2019
Watch for stories to pop up throughout the media on the disquiet and murmuring within the top Pentagon brass on how unhappy they are with the president’s attitude towards these supposed war crimes cases. But now is the time for all of them to leave or for Trump to fire them. This is part of a systemic rotting of the warrior culture within the military leadership that has been captured by the same political correctness permeating every other institution in this country.
Trump declared at the Commander-in-Chief Forum during the 2016 election that “generals have been reduced to rubble” and that “they have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing to our country.” That was one of the truest statements he’s ever made.
This is the same military leadership that has turned our military into something that former Marine Jude Eden warned is more ready for motherhood than for warfare. It’s the same military leadership that not only went along with Obama when he pushed “transgenderism” in the military, but rebelled against Trump when he reversed this dangerous policy. It’s the same military leadership that adamantly demands endless and aimless involvement in intractable Islamic civil wars, putting our soldiers in impossible situations with no positive outcome, and then prosecuting them at home.
A new study shows that the endless Middle East social work operations in combat zones cost us up to $6.4 trillion as a nation. We have nothing to show for it but nearly 7,000 dead Americans, over 50,000 wounded, a strengthened Iran, and careers ended – if not by battlefield deaths, by battlefield prosecutions.
Spencer, for his part, wrote in his letter to Trump that he could no longer serve under him anyway. “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” he wrote.
We need more of this. It’s better to have the much-needed surgery within the Pentagon now than to allow it to fester forever. As for the enlisted men and military officers doing the grunt work, they now know there is one man they can always turn to who will have their backs. Under our constitutional system, the commander in chief of the military is the civilian president duly elected by the people.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.