“There’s nothing pro-military about overruling our military justice system to prevent it from delivering accountability for war crimes,” Buttigieg tweeted. “The president has again dishonored our armed services.”
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor served in Afghanistan. Trump never served in the military because of “bone spurs.” He once said in a radio interview that his own personal “Vietnam” was avoiding catching sexually transmitted diseases from his various intimate partners. “I feel like a great and very brave soldier,” he quipped to shock jock Howard Stern.
The White House said in a statement released Friday that the military justice system “helps ensure good order and discipline,” but that Trump had the “authority to offer second chances” to soldiers.
Trump granted full pardons on Friday to former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, despite a reported request from Defense Secretary Mark Esper not to interfere in the military justice system. Trump also restored Navy SEAL Ed Gallagher’s rank to chief petty officer.
Lorance was found guilty of second-degree murder for ordering his soldiers to fire on three men in Afghanistan in 2008 and was serving a 19-year sentence at the penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth. Golsteyn, a Green Beret team leader, was facing murder charges for killing an unarmed Afghan suspected of being a Taliban bomb-maker.
Gallagher has been acquitted of murdering a teenage prisoner of war in Iraq, but he was demoted after being found guilty of posing for photographs with the body.
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