Accused War Crimer Eddie Gallagher Goes With 'Framed By Millennials' Defense
The trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher wrapped up and went to the jury Monday. Prosecutors argued Gallagher's own actions and testimony from those under his command proved his guilt on charges of murder and attempted murder, but defense attorneys claimed the whole prosecution was a mutinous conspiracy by cowardly "millennial" SEALs who hated Gallagher for being too much of a hardass for their wimpy unworthy asses, snowflake safe space trigger warning, you know the drill.
Yup, when we think of Navy SEALs, we worry about the ones in their 20s and 30s, because what are young people even doing in the military, huh? As anyone who's read John Scalzi's Old Man's War knows, that's just a recipe for trouble.
Gallagher is accused of murdering a captured teenaged ISIS fighter who'd been injured in a firefight, and of the attempted murder of two civilians he shot at with a sniper rifle. The Navy's prosecutor, Cmdr. Jeffrey Pietrzyk, began his closing statement by saying Gallagher had bragged of the killing in text messages to friends:
One message said: "I've got a cool story for you when I get back. I've got my knife skills on." Another text stated: "Good story behind this. Got him with my hunting knife."
He then showed a photo of the dead prisoner with Gallagher holding up his head by the hair.
"The government's evidence in this case is Chief Gallagher's words, Chief Gallagher's pictures, Chief Gallagher's SEALs," Pietrzyk said.
He acknowledged the victim was an ISIS fighter who would have happily killed Americans. But by the time he was in the hands of Gallagher and his men, the victim, however unsympathetic, was a noncombatant, and the USA doesn't (or isn't supposed to) do war like terrorists.
"At that point, he was no longer a lawful target," he said. "We're not ISIS. When we capture someone they're out of the fight. That's it."
Well gee, that's a wimpy attitude, virtually everyone in command since there's been a military legal system. President Barstool would like to see you try torture instead.
Weirdly, both the prosecution and the defense accused witnesses in the court-martial of lying. Pietryzk suggested some witnesses had done so out of loyalty to Gallagher instead of to the truth, and noted that several SEALS under Gallagher's command testified he had threatened anyone who reported him to superiors. CNN reports one member of Gallagher's team said Gallagher had explicitly urged him to keep quiet after they'd returned to the good old USA where at least they know they're free:
[Dylan] Dille said Gallagher pulled him aside and told him, "I know you guys are talking about what happened. If you stop talking about it, then I'll stop talking about it."
One witness, medic Cory Scott, testified he had seen Gallagher stab the ISIS fighter in the neck, but then went on to insist he had actually killed the fighter, not Gallagher, by covering the patient's breathing tube with his thumb, so it was a mercy killing. Conveniently, Scott, along with the other SEALs who testified, had been granted immunity; Pietryzk argued Scott had lied in an attempt to clear Gallagher. Several other SEALs testified they had seen Gallagher stab the patient.
Pietryzk closed by saying, "They say a picture is worth a thousand words. These are worth one: Guilty, of all specifications and charges." (That's actually six).
Defense attorney Tim Parlatore offered the intriguing theory that the entire prosecution was, in reality, a "mutiny" by
a few "young entitled" members of the SEAL platoon who hated Gallagher that reported him for war crimes. Parlatore said those SEALs had taken part in a mutiny and conspired in a text message "sewing circle" to get back at him for stealing items from them and putting them at unnecessary risk on the battlefield.
"When the chief pushed them, they didn't like it," Parlatore said.
You see, they just harbored a grudge against Gallagher and didn't want him to receive a medal, so they concocted the whole story, as young folks will.
Parlatore also dismissed the photos and texts Gallagher sent as just some of that dark humor warriors engage in now and then, not an admission of guilt. He was a manly man, and cannot be judged by young whelps who can't cut the rigors of war. Of course, the jury consists of military officers who may know a thing or two about both war and rules of engagement, so that strategy may not work out so great.
Parlatore also attempted to handwave away the testimony on the two separate counts of attempted premeditated murder.
Of the first, involving an old man, Parlatore said there was "no credible evidence" the killing was unlawful, since government witnesses testified they had fired warning shots without telling Gallagher, who then fired and said over the radio, "you guys missed him, but I got him."
The second alleged shooting, of a young girl which only one SEAL witnessed, Parlatore speculated that a girl weighing between 80 to 90 pounds being shot by a .300 Win Mag round would've done far more damage. Special Operator 1st Class Joshua Vriens said he noticed the girl clutched her stomach and was dragged away by others.
Another defense attorney, Marc Mukasey, accused investigators of bias and sloppiness, and went on to offer a whole list of other factors that could have led to the prisoner's death.
"They have failed in an epic way to prove the cause of death, forget Chief Gallagher," Mukasey said, as a slide appeared on screen showing other possibilities: Hellfire missiles, blast lung, internal injuries, and treatment from the Iraqi Emergency Response Division.
"Reasonable alternatives offer reasonable doubt," Mukasey said.
Odd, the defense doesn't appear to lean too heavily on Scott's very convenient, and immunized, confession.
And now the jury will have to decide whether Edward Gallagher is a killer who went well beyond the acceptable rules of lawful behavior in combat -- or well after combat -- or is, as the defense portrayed him,
an "old-school, hard-charging warrior" who was targeted by younger "millennial" comrades who harbored "personal animosity" toward him.
Having gotten good and tired of millennials who insist all Boomers are awful old Republicans who need to hurry up and die, we can sympathize, but nah, we're not buying the portrayal of a group of Navy SEALS as soy-slurping wimps who conspired against the Last Brave Warrior. Show us photos of them going into battle in a Prius and we'll consider it.
For a conviction under military law, five of the seven members of the jury will have to agree on a guilty verdict. And if they do, expect Donald Trump to pardon Gallagher to celebrate the 4th of July and the very best American ideals.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.