Top line: A former sniper who served in the same platoon as the besieged Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher said the months-long conflict between senior military officials and President Donald Trump over the crimes case Gallagher’s war “turned into a national clown show that put a bad light on the teams.”
- Speaking publicly for the first time in an interview with the New York Times, former sniper Chris Shumake said Gallagher’s case “exploded more than any of us might have expected, and turned into a national clown show that has shed a bad light on the teams, “adding that Trump” is trying to show he’s got the backs of the troops, but says he doesn’t trust any of the troops or their leaders to make the right decisions.
- The feeling of Shumake is shared by others former military leaders, who disagreed with Trump and research to see Gallagher face a Navy review board to determine if he would be demoted. Gallagher was acquitted of the murder of a young ISIS fighter, but was convicted of taking a photo with his corpse earlier this year.
- Senior military officials were ultimately overthrown by the president when he ordered Defense Secretary Mark Esper to let Gallagher retain his rank, exposing tensions between the Commander-in-Chief and his own military that led to the cooking Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer.
- Trump’s intervention in the case, Spencer Told CBS News after his ouster sends a message that war criminals in the US military “can get away with it.” In one Washington post editorial, Spencer mentionned “The president understands very little what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically, or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”
- Gallagher maintained his innocence and said key Pentagon leaders were acting to to serve their own ego. A retired general mentionned in a Fox News op-ed that Gallagher did not deserve “such aggressive lawsuits.”
Key context: Gallagher’s extraordinary case has consumed the Navy since he was acquitted of the murder in July. Members of his own platoon accused Gallagher of fatally stabbing an injured ISIS fighter and filming two civilians – a girl wearing a floral hijab and an old man – in Iraq in 2017.
Although he was not convicted of murder, a jury of military service members found him guilty of taking a photo with a dead ISIS fighter, captioning the photo in messages text: “I have a cool story for you when I come back.” I have my knife skills. and “Good story behind that. I got it with my hunting knife.
Some members of Gallagher’s platoon began to privately call him “el diablo”, or the devil, the New York Times reported.