Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter said during a podcast aired earlier this week that the had killed “hundreds of civilians” while serving in Fallujah, KPBS News reports.
“I was an artillery officer, and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians,” he said.
Defending the accused war criminal President Trump is allegedly looking to pardon, Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, Hunter said that the combat veteran should not be judged for his actions.
Hunter, he said, “probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city when we invaded.”
“So, do I get judged too?” he asked.
As the BBC reported, the Trump administration appears to have decided to embark on a pardoning rampage. Media reports revealed that Trump is looking to pardon several service members accused of war crimes, but standing out is the case of 39-year-old Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher.
Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to shooting civilians from a sniper’s nest and to murdering an alleged teenage militant in Iraq. His case, however, took a shocking turn when the judge freed the veteran after prosecutors acknowledged tracking Gallagher legal team’s emails.
The case initially attracted international attention in late March when President Trump personally intervened, demanding that Chief Gallagher be moved to “less restrictive confinement.”
President Trump’s sudden interest in American troops accused of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan did not come out of nowhere, according to Vox, which reported that the commander-in-chief appears to have been influenced by Fox News — Iraq War veteran Pete Hegseth, in particular.
Fox News, it seems, planted the seed in President Trump’s mind. In late May, Trump defended accused war criminals before television cameras, downplaying their crimes as something that simply happens when soldiers fight “hard and long.”
“Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard and long. We teach them how to be great fighters, and then when they fight sometimes they get really treated very unfairly. So we’re going to take a look at it,” the president said.
Fox News host: Trump’s move to pardon convicted and accused U.S. war criminals will unite the country out of “a love of our military”https://t.co/lNmkI4q6hM— jordan (@JordanUhl) May 19, 2019
As the publication notes, Trump is allegedly looking into pardoning a number of accused and convicted criminals, including a former Blackwater security contractor found guilty of shooting civilians. The military is opposed to the pardons, however, given that the president is not supposed to be interfering with prosecution launched by the military itself.
General Martin Dempsey warned that issuing a pardon to accused and convicted war criminals would send the wrong message, and set a “bad precedent.”