‘Burqas are flying,’ signify heroism to Donald

Tom Camfield
Blogger
Posted 1/2/20

A podiatrist's daughter says Donald Trump may have been able to avoid military service in Vietnam because her father, a podiatrist in Queens, New York, did a “favor” for Donald’s …

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‘Burqas are flying,’ signify heroism to Donald

Posted

A podiatrist's daughter says Donald Trump may have been able to avoid military service in Vietnam because her father, a podiatrist in Queens, New York, did a “favor” for Donald’s father Fred and diagnosed 22-year-old Trump with bone spurs in his heels. And Donald now 73, went on to take over his wealthy father’s housing empire, later publicly advocated the lynching of five innocent black teenagers (“the Central Park Five”)— and still in subsequent years gets in several rounds of golf a week despite the adverse effect of any bone spurs of crucial younger years.

Following (verbatim) is an article published over last weekend by the Editorial Board of the Washington Post, the headline reading: Trump’s pardon of Gallagher just got even more appalling.

“FREAKING EVIL.” That is how Special Operator First Class Craig Miller described Eddie Gallagher, the chief of his Navy SEAL platoon. Then, he wept.

The New York Times last week revealed investigative video recordings of testimony from members of SEAL Team 7 who reported behavior from Chief Petty Officer Gallagher that they believed violated the spirit of their profession and the rule of military law.

These agonizing accounts make even more appalling President Trump’s unprecedented decision to reverse Chief Gallagher’s demotion and pardon two other service members convicted of war crimes this fall, and to preserve Chief Gallagher’s Trident pin by preempting the plans of Navy commanders.

The SEALs’ descriptions portray a fighter unhinged from the military’s mission of defending the nation and dedicated instead to his own desire to spill blood. Chief Gallagher, SEALs said, purposely exposed his soldiers to enemy fire and thought casualties in his platoon could win him a Silver Star. They said he bragged that “burqas were flying” when he shot at women and boasted after an operation that he had killed four of them — with the excuse that he had fired warning shots first. Other members of the platoon, they said, began to spend their days trying to “save civilians from Eddie.”

The SEALs called Chief Gallagher a “psychopath.” He was “toxic.” He was “literally the worst of the worst.” His priority for the tour? “War stories at the end.” His motivation? “To kill anybody he can.”
These men broke the customary code of silence maintained by the SEALs because they thought Chief Gallagher’s behavior violated something more sacred: the duty of the men and women who fight for the United States to fight for it honorably. It’s this sacred duty that the president ridicules by allowing “Fox & Friends” and other right-wing media to lobby him into excusing — even rewarding — ethical lapses. What does this say to any soldier who wants to speak up about wrongdoing? Those who tried to hold Chief Gallagher to account are suffering insults on national television, while the petty officer, now retired with full honors, is palling around with the president at Mar-a-Lago.

The story is of a commander in chief who has shown little respect for the chain of command, and little regard for the imperative of military professionalism and virtue. But it’s also the story of individual service members who knew better — and did better. “Let’s not forget there are 7-12 of us in here who had the balls to tell the truth about what Eddie has done,” one of the whistleblower SEALs texted his compatriots. The rest of the country shouldn’t forget, either.

That concludes the Post’s comment. Following is a bit more on why Trump will never be a hero. It’s doubtful Trump would have faced front-line service in any case . . . have been one of the 58,000 U.S, troops killed. More likely he’d have received some cushy “special services” assignment had he been drafted.

However. I was a bit perturbed by his hijinks because of the Korean Police Action, the “Forgotten War” that preceded what should have been Donald’s conflict. When I arrived in Seattle for one of those mass physicals, I had a near falling-down case of flu, complete with temperature; and after being judged OK for cannon fodder, I was assisted home by friends to spend the next week in bed. I also had to put my shoes back on and be re-weighed to come closer to the acceptable weight for my height. And my totally (still, 69 years later) flat feet were completely ignored.

Only 34,000 U.S. warriors died in that conflict and I avoided being one of them (although suffering separation and delay of marriage for about a year). Friends died—classmate Bill Humphrey, Fran Baker . . .

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Justin Hale

So what? Trump dodged the draft. Back in the 60's I had a lot of friends who dodged the draft, I had a few high school buddies who came home in a coffin, I wish they would have dodged the draft. Neither Clinton or Obama served in the military, but you go ahead and dump on Trump if it makes you feel better.

The "Fog of War" is an appropriate term because the lines of "right and wrong" are sometimes distorted beyond reason when the bullets are flying. I cannot judge what others may or may not have done in the heat of war.

Thursday, January 2
Tom

Didn’t mention (as I ran out of room) that soon after my mysterious physical, I received orders to Army basic training despite my being close to the end of a four-year hitch in the U.S. Navy, during which I had trained at sea aboard a destroyer. I finally received an official discharge (Navy reserve) while finishing off my basic training (in the Army). I joined the Navy before I graduated from PTHS in 1947. Eventually, a roll of the dice put me into a field camp in the Alaska “panhandle” with the Army. I returned stateside as a “short-timer” and missed the front lines,

Yes I know Donald was only 6 years old when I was drafted, but the rules were not changed a lot just for his sort during the mere 16 years that followed. The draft also was in effect during World War II. I was too young, and my father was too old, but five uncles (including two who enlisted) escaped inclusion among 418,500 U.S. deaths.

It bothers me some that Trunp bought out the easy way—back about the time I was writing the obituaries of John Paddock, Marvin Shields, Tim McMahon and lesser knowns—Donald Trump was skipping about with lots of money and imaginary bone spurs. And now he’s playing soldier as if he suddenly knows more about it than anyone else.

Friday, January 3
Tom

Didn’t mention (as I ran out of room) that soon after my mysterious physical, I received orders to Army basic training despite my being close to the end of a four-year hitch in the U.S. Navy, during which I had trained at sea aboard a destroyer. I finally received an official discharge (Navy reserve) while finishing off my basic training (in the Army). I joined the Navy before I graduated from PTHS in 1947. Eventually, a roll of the dice put me into a field camp in the Alaska “panhandle” with the Army. I returned stateside as a “short-timer” and missed the front lines,

Yes I know Donald was only 6 years old when I was drafted, but the rules were not changed a lot just for his sort during the mere 16 years that followed. The draft also was in effect during World War II. I was too young, and my father was too old, but five uncles (including two who enlisted) escaped inclusion among 418,500 U.S. deaths.

It bothers me some that Trunp bought out the easy way—back about the time I was writing the obituaries of John Paddock, Marvin Shields, Tim McMahon and lesser knowns—Donald Trump was skipping about with lots of money and imaginary bone spurs. And now he’s playing soldier as if he suddenly knows more about it than anyone else.

Friday, January 3
'Tom Camfield

Don't ask me why I'm having so much trouble with duplicated and/or unfinished comments. A brighter lamp is the only new addition around here.

Friday, January 3
Fred Camfield

Justin Hale - the actions of Gallagher were not in the heat of battle. He was executing prisoners, and shooting people as a sniper. They could best be described as thrill killings. Homocidal people thrive during wars. During the Civil War in the US, the infamous renegade Tom Job was implicated in the murder of one of the great grandfathers of Tom's wife Jean. Give such a person a gun and tell him he can kill people, and away he goes. Donald Trump seems to think Gallagher's actions were OK because he was killing Muslims.

Friday, January 3
Justin Hale

Tom, not to worry about duplicates, misspellings, whatever. I just say that my computer is so old it's getting dementia.

Fred, I don't know enough about the Gallagher case to make a judgement. Either way the POTUS has the power to pardon, for whatever reason. I can't say if his decision was right or wrong.

Friday, January 3
Justin Hale

Fred, I read that Gallagher was aquitted of the murder charges by a military court, but found guilty of posing with dead enemy combatants. No way in hel should he be punished for that, in my opinion.

This is just one more example of the biased, agenda driven media feeding the angry Trump haters. You claim that Gallagher was executing prisoners, where did you get that information? Let me guess, the MSM. If Gallagher was shooting people as a sniper he was doing his job, that's what Snipers do.

Saturday, January 4
Tom Camfield

‘Freaking evil,’ ‘Toxic’: Anguished SEALs testify about chief they accuse of war crimes

Dec. 27, 2019 at 10:15 am Updated Dec. 27, 2019 at 10:27 am

The New York Times

The Navy SEALs showed up one by one, wearing hoodies and T-shirts instead of uniforms, to tell investigators what they had seen. Visibly nervous, they shifted in their chairs, rubbed their palms and pressed their fists against their foreheads. At times they stopped in midsentence and broke into tears.

“Sorry about this,” Special Operator 1st Class Craig Miller, one of the most experienced SEALs in the group, said as he looked sideways toward a blank wall, trying to hide that he was weeping. “It’s the first time — I’m really broken up about this.”

Video recordings of the interviews obtained by The New York Times, which have not been shown publicly before, were part of a trove of Navy investigative materials about the prosecution of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher on war crimes charges, including murder.

They offer the first opportunity outside the courtroom to hear directly from the men of Alpha platoon, SEAL Team 7, whose blistering testimony about their platoon chief was dismissed by President Donald Trump when he upended the military code of justice to protect Gallagher from punishment.

“The guy is freaking evil,” Miller told investigators.

“The guy was toxic,” Special Operator 1st Class Joshua Vriens, a sniper, said in a separate interview.

Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, a medic in the platoon, told the investigators: “You could tell he was perfectly OK with killing anybody that was moving.”

Such dire descriptions of Gallagher, who had eight combat deployments and sometimes went by the nickname Blade, are in marked contrast to Trump’s portrayal of him at a recent political rally in Florida as one of “our great fighters.”

Although combat in Iraq barely fazed the SEALs, sitting down to tell Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents about what they had seen their platoon chief do during a 2017 deployment in Iraq was excruciating for them. Not only did they have to relive wrenching events and describe grisly scenes, they had to break a powerful unwritten code of silence in the SEALs, one of the nation’s most elite commando forces.

The trove of materials also includes thousands of text messages the SEALs sent one another about the events and the prosecution of Gallagher. Together with the dozens of hours of recorded interviews, they provide revealing insights into the men of the platoon, who have never spoken publicly about the case and the leader they turned in.

Platoon members said they saw Gallagher shoot civilians and fatally stab a wounded captive with a hunting knife. Gallagher was acquitted by a military jury in July of all but a single relatively minor charge and was cleared of all punishment in November by Trump.Video from a SEAL’s helmet camera, included in the trove of materials, shows the barely conscious captive — a teenage Islamic State fighter so thin that his watch slid easily up and down his arm — being brought in to the platoon one day in May 2017. Then the helmet camera is shut off.

In the video interviews with investigators, three SEALs said they saw Gallagher go on to stab the sedated captive for no reason and then hold an impromptu reenlistment ceremony over the body, as if it were a t

“I was listening to it, and I was just thinking, like, this is the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Miller, who has since been promoted to chief, told investigators.

Miller said that when the platoon commander, Lt. Jacob Portier, told the SEALs to gather over the corpse for photos, he did not feel he could refuse. The photos, included in the evidence obtained by The Times, show Gallagher, surrounded by other SEALs, clutching the dead captive’s hair; in one photo, he holds a custom-made hunting knife.

“I think Eddie was proud of it, and that was, like, part of it for him,” Miller told investigators.

Gallagher’s lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, said the video interviews were rife with inconsistencies and falsehoods that created “a clear road map to the acquittal.”

Since his arrest nearly a year ago, Gallagher has insisted that the charges against him were concocted by six disgruntled SEALs in his platoon who could not meet his high standards and wanted to force him out.

“My first reaction to seeing the videos was surprise and disgust that they would make up blatant lies about me, but I quickly realized that they were scared that the truth would come out of how cowardly they acted on deployment,” Gallagher said in a statement issued through his lawyer.

“I felt sorry for them that they thought it necessary to smear my name, but they never realized what the consequences of their lies would be. As upset as I was, the videos also gave me confidence because I knew that their lies would never hold up under real questioning and the jury would see through it. Their lies and NCIS’ refusal to ask hard questions or corroborate their stories strengthened my resolve to go to trial and clear my name.”

The video interviews and private group text conversations obtained by The Times do not reveal any coordinated deception among the SEALs in the chief’s platoon. Instead, they show men who were hesitant to come forward but who urged one another to resist outside pressure and threats of violence, and to be honest.

“Tell the truth, don’t lie or embellish,” one sniper who is now in SEAL Team 6 told the others in a group text in 2017, when they first tried to report the chief. “That way, he can’t say that we slandered him in any way.”

When several SEALs in the group questioned what would come of reporting the chief to their commanders, another wrote: “That’s their decision. We just need to give them the truth.”

It is an unspoken rule among their teams that SEALs should not report other SEALs for misconduct. An internal investigation could close off choice assignments or end careers for the accusers as well as the accused. And anyone who reported concerns outside the tight-knit SEAL community risked being branded a traitor.

“In a perfect world, there would be no risk, but that is not where we are,” Rick Haas, a retired command master chief who served in the SEALs for 30 years, said in an interview with The Times. “The teams are now divided over this like I’ve never seen happen before.”

In cramped interview rooms in San Diego, SEALs who spoke to Navy investigators painted a picture of a platoon driven to despair by a chief who seemed to care primarily about racking up kills. They described how their chief targeted women and children and boasted that “burqas were flying.”

Asked whether the chief had a bias against Middle Eastern people, Scott replied, “I think he just wants to kill anybody he can.”

Some of the SEALs said they came to believe that the chief was purposefully exposing them to enemy fire to bait Islamic State fighters into revealing their positions. They said the chief thought casualties in the platoon would increase his chances for a Silver Star.

Vriens told investigators he had wanted to confront the chief in Iraq but had worried that if he did, he would be cut from missions and no longer be present to protect other SEALs from the chief. As he spoke, he struggled to keep his composure.

“I can speak up, stand my ground,” he said in the interview. “He’s just going to do this to a new guy who he can manipulate. So I was like, I’m going to be his right-hand man, so — so no one else got hurt.”He pressed his forehead into his fists and started to cry. Then he took several deep breaths, rubbed his hands together and tried to continue.

“So I worked for him and I kept my mouth shut,” he said.

The platoon members told investigators that they tried repeatedly to report what they saw but that the chain of command above them was friendly toward Gallagher and took no action. Finally, in April 2018, they went outside the SEALs to the NCIS. Gallagher was arrested a few months later.

The SEALs in the platoon were scattered to new assignments. They tried to keep tabs on the case, texting one another and commiserating over a series of setbacks, including accusations of prosecutorial misconduct, the removal of the lead prosecutor and reports that the judge overseeing the case was being investigated on suspicion of lying under oath.

“This stuff is frustrating to read and makes it seem like Eddie will possibly get away with murder (literally),” Special Operator 1st Class Dylan Dille texted the group. “Let’s not forget there are 7-12 of us in here who had the balls to tell the truth about what Eddie has done.”

He said he thought the case against Gallagher was strong despite the procedural setbacks. “I am also convinced that we are gonna answer to a higher power someday, and everything happens for a reason,” wrote Dille, who has since left the Navy. “Not compromising our integrity and keeping right on our side is all we can do.”

Seven members of the 22-person platoon testified at the trial that they saw the chief commit war crimes. Two men from the platoon testified that they did not see any evidence of crimes. Others refused to cooperate with prosecutors. Crucially, one SEAL who had accused the chief during the investigation — Scott — changed his story on the witness stand, testifying that he and not Gallagher had caused the captive’s death.

Three of the men who testified at the trial left the Navy afterward and have been trying to keep a low profile while they build civilian lives. Others are still in the SEAL teams, in some cases working on classified assignments. Some fear that coming forward has hurt their chances at success in the SEALs, but none have reported any retaliation. All of them declined to comment for this article.

Since the trial, Gallagher has repeatedly insulted them on social media and on Fox News, especially Miller, whom the chief singled out for weeping while talking to investigators.

Gallagher retired from the Navy with full honors at the end of November and announced that he was starting a SEAL-themed clothing line.A few days after he retired, an Instagram account belonging to him and his wife posted a photo of a custom-made hatchet, forged by the same SEAL veteran who made the hunting knife he was accused of using to kill the captive. Before the deployment, Gallagher had told the knife-maker he hoped to “dig that knife or hatchet on someone’s skull!”

“Eddie finally got his stuff back from NCIS,” the post said, listing the hatchet among a “few of our favorite things now returned.”

Another item returned to him was a black-and-white Islamic State flag. On Saturday, Gallagher presented Trump with a folded black-and-white cloth that other SEALs from the platoon said appeared to be the flag.A post on the chief’s Instagram account said, “Finally got to thank the President and his amazing wife by giving them a little gift from Eddie’s deployment to Mosul.”

This story was originally published at nytimes.com.

If the foregoing doesn’t appear due t0 length use this link

Sunday, January 5
Justin Hale

Tom, I don't care what the biased NYT's writes, was Gallagher acquitted by a Military court or wasn't he?

Sunday, January 5
Tom Camfield

I see that i erroneously left out the link for my last comment. It should be: https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/freaking-evil-toxic-anguished-seals-testify-about-chief-they-accuse-of-war-crimes/

Following is a link to another site probably more likable to supporters of Donald Trump, including Justin Hale. The question remaining to many of us is whether justice has been served or thwarted. Were witnesses such as those deposed by the New York Times ever heard by the military tribunal? Or was the entire affair rubber-stamped in the manner we foresee for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump before the U.S. Senate?

A time-line on the Gallagher affair (the latter portion reproduced here:

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/politics/2019/11/27/timeline-gallahers-war-crimes-trump-intervention/4305986002/

July 1—Closing arguments for the defense are delivered by Tim Parlatore and Marc Mukasey, a former law partner of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

(Earlier this year, Mukasey worked to block release of Trump's tax returns to a House committee.)

July 2—A panel of five Marines and two sailors finds Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder, willfully discharging a firearm to endanger human life, retaliation against members of his platoon for reporting his alleged actions, obstruction of justice, and the killing of two Iraqi civilians.

Gallagher is found guilty of posing for a photo with a human casualty, the Islamic State combatant. Pentagon rules say enemy dead must be treated with “the same respect as would be afforded to, or expected for, friendly military dead.”

More: Navy SEAL found not guilty of nearly all charges in war crimes trial

@realDonaldJ.Trump—Congratulations to Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea, and his entire family. You have been through much together. Glad I cold help!

July 3—Gallagher is sentenced to reduction in rank to petty officer 1st class and four months’ confinement. He is given credit for time served.—Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations

Oct. 1—Gallagher’s attorneys file a clemency appeal with Admiral Michael Gilday, U.S. chief of naval operations. They ask for the conviction to be vacated.

Oct. 29—Gilday upholds the jury's recommended sentence.

Nov. 1—Stars and Stripes reports Gallagher’s family has made a social media appeal to Trump for a pardon.

Nov. 15—Trump reverses Gallagher's demotion, restores his rank and pay to chief petty officer.

More: Donald Trump says he will block military from removing Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher

Nov. 20—The Navy says it will review Gallagher's status, a likely precursor to Gallagher being ousted from the SEALs and losing the coveted SEAL Trident pin.

More: Navy plans to strip SEAL's Trident, banish him from elite commando community

@therealDonaldJ.Trump—‘the Navy will NOT betaking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to businessl

Nov. 24—Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer is forced to resign after privately seeking an agreement with the White House that would let Gallagher retain his rank and SEAL status.

Spencer submits a letter that says "I hereby acknowledge my termination," and rebukes Trump by saying he had been given an order he could not in "good conscience obey.” (Lengthy better reads in part: “I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regard to the principles of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that Believe violates a sacred oath that I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Nov. 25—Defense Secretary Mark Esper tells reporters that "the case of Eddie Gallagher has dragged on for months, and it's distracting too many. It must end. Eddie Gallagher will retain his Trident as the commander in chief directed, and will retire at the end of this month." 

More: Trump defends decision to order Navy SEAL to keep Trident pin

Nov. 26—The Navy announces Gallagher will retire from active duty, keeping his SEAL status and Trident pin. The status review will not be conducted.

More: Navy says review board will not look at case of SEAL Eddie Gallagher

Nov. 27—Spencer, in an opinion piece for the Washington Post, writes that Trump's intervention was "shocking and unprecedented" for a low-level review.

More: Former Navy Secretary Spencer speaks out about firing

SOURCES: USA TODAY reporting; Associated Press; Navy Times; USA TODAY research

Monday, January 6
Justin Hale

The only thing Gallagher was found guilty of is posing with a dead combatant, BFD, Guilty of bad taste maybe, no just cause to strip him of what he earned.

Monday, January 6