California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter spent the weekend defending accused war criminal Eddie Gallagher, who President Donald Trump is considering for a pardon. In so doing, Hunter boasted of committing war crimes himself, and said they were no big deal. In fact, he said he’d taken part in some of his own.
“Eddie did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too — taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” Hunter said at a border-issues forum with his father, former Rep. Duncan L. Hunter.
The younger Hunter, a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, said he’s taken pictures “just like that when I was overseas” — although he didn’t text or post images to social media. “But a lot of my peers … have done the exact same thing.”
For good measure the admitted criminal, who has also been indicted for misusing campaign funds, attacked both the military and civilian justice systems.
But Hunter also said he wanted the court-martial to go forward so the American people can “see how disgusting the military justice system is when it’s run by lawyers and bureaucrats [who] go after the war-fighter.”
Hunter said such a trial would embarrass the Navy and “maybe give an example of how they can change the system.”
Alluding to his own federal criminal case, where he’s charged with using campaign funds for personal spending and travel, Hunter said he would argue that “our regular justice system is just as abusive as the military justice system. It’s not about justice.”
None of this went down well with Iraq combat veteran and historian of the Holocaust, Modern Germany, and contemporary genocide at the University of Virginia Captain Waitman Beorn, who explained exactly why Hunter is wrong in an appearance on CNN.
“The bodies of enemy soldiers and combatants are to be respected,” Beorn said, citing the Geneva Conventions. “Why we do that? It comes down to dehumanization.”
Beorn acknowledged that soldiers need to be able to kill the enemy, but said that leaders had a greater responsibility.
“In the military, leaders manage violence. They’re not there to really commit it,” Beorn said. “Their job is to keep soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines on the positive side of that line, which means that you’re able to kill the enemy but you don’t become sort of an amoral killing machine that doesn’t recognize the humanity of what you’re doing.”
“We wouldn’t want anyone to treat any human body in a way that desecrates it, or makes fun of it, or uses it as a prop in the way that Hunter has,” he continued, taking aim at the congressman. “I should point out he was a leader at the time, so that makes it even worse in my book.”
Sounds to me like Hunter was as poor a soldier as he is a congressman, with the ethics of a sewer rat.