Retired US Marine Col. David Lapan wrote a scathing op-ed for Just Security on Monday calling out Donald Trump for “damaging our military” by pardoning convicted war criminals.
According to Lapan, pardoning or “commuting the sentences of those convicted of war crimes, or halting judicial proceedings before they are completed, rightfully raises questions as to our continued respect for, and adherence to” the Law of War (or Armed Conflict).
“If the United States can no longer claim to use its own military and civilian courts to adjudicate allegations of war crimes — or other serious offenses — committed by U.S. servicemembers serving in other countries, those governments will likely seek to detain, try and imprison our men and women through their own criminal justice and penal systems,” Lapan writes. “Significantly elevating the risk of such an outcome could have a devastating impact on our military and relations with foreign partners.”
“While the president’s past and present intervention in war crimes cases poses the most serious threat to the military he professes to love and support,” Lapan continued, “there is a litany of actions he has taken that can collectively hurt the military as an institution as well as those who serve in uniform, and their families. Despite the president’s repeated boasts about how well he treats and supports the military, many of his actions and directives risk causing short- and long-term harm.”
Lapan then went on to list a “litany of actions Trump has taken that can collectively hurt the military as an institution,” including, his “public disparagement of military leaders,” and taking “personal credit for military actions.”
“The military must deal with the “fog of war” in combat,” Lapan wrote in closing. “It shouldn’t have to decipher unclear or confusing directives from the president at home. Unity of command and clarity are essential components of military leadership.”
You can read the entire op-ed HERE.
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