Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump Shows What Backing Our Troops Really Looks Like

 

Scales of Justice and Boots of TruthContrast President Trump with both Bush the Second and Obama. Trump has recognized the poisonous betrayal of our troops by careerist bureaucrats, senior officers (but I largely repeat myself), and the JAG (Judge Advocate General) fifth-column lawfare. His pardons are a calculated and calibrated response and are consistent with another pardon issued six months ago.

The President has signaled to those who face bullets and bombs that he will back them. Trump backhands the senior officers who covered their own butts and advanced their own uniformed and post-uniform careers at the expense of those far junior. He signals the services’ corps of lawyers that there are limits to their lawfare. All of this is to the good, and for these reasons, whatever the surface feigned concerns, the haters of the legitimately elected president and his voters howl.

Statement from the Press Secretary
Issued on: November 15, 2019

Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance, an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, and an order directing the promotion of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward R. Gallagher to the grade of E-7, the rank he held before he was tried and found not guilty of nearly all of the charges against him.

In early July 2012, only days after Lieutenant Lorance had taken command of his platoon in one of the most dangerous battle zones in Afghanistan, a motorcycle with three men approached him and his men with unusual speed. Under difficult circumstances and prioritizing the lives of American troops, Lorance ordered his men to engage, and two of the three men were killed. Following these events, Lorance was convicted of several charges. He has served more than six years of a 19-year sentence he received. Many Americans have sought executive clemency for Lorance, including 124,000 people who have signed a petition to the White House, as well as several members of Congress, including Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, and Representatives Steve Scalise, Garret Graves, Duncan Hunter, Paul Gosar, Adam Kinzinger, Scott Perry, Brian Babin, Neal Dunn, Michael Waltz, Louie Gohmert, Daniel Webster, Steve King, Ralph Norman, Mark Meadows, Clay Higgins, Ralph Abraham, Mike Johnson, and Jody Hice.

Major Mathew Golsteyn, an officer of the United States Army and graduate of West Point, is currently set to stand trial for an allegedly unlawful killing in connection with one of the largest battles of the Afghanistan War. As our forces cleared the Taliban from the city of Marjah, an Improvised Explosive Device detonated, killing two Marines. The terrorist bombmaker, as identified by an Afghan informant, who had killed our troops, was detained and questioned. Golsteyn was compelled to release him, however, due in part to deficiencies within the fledgling Afghan detention system. Golsteyn has said he later shot the terrorist because he was certain that the terrorist’s bombmaking activities would continue to threaten American troops and their Afghan partners, including Afghan civilians who had helped identify him. After nearly a decade-long inquiry and multiple investigations, a swift resolution to the case of Major Golsteyn is in the interests of justice. Clemency for Major Golsteyn has broad support, including from Representatives Louie Gohmert, Duncan Hunter, Mike Johnson, Ralph Abraham, and Clay Higgins, American author and Marine combat veteran Bing West, and Army combat veteran Pete Hegseth.

Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a “V” for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor. Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified.

The United States military justice system helps ensure good order and discipline for our millions of uniformed military members and holds to account those who violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Due in part to this system, we have the most disciplined, most effective, most respected, and most feared fighting force in the world.

The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted. For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country. These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, “when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight.”

Six months ago, President Trump pardoned an Army first lieutenant, Michael Behenna (the second commissioned rank, usually attained after two years of commissioned service) for a similar fact pattern. Apparently the DoD chose to ignore this strong signal, so now Trump has righted three more wrongs done by the brass and their lawyers. Add to this slap in a specific set of flag-rank officers’ faces the devastating address by Attorney General Barr to the Federalist Society, in which he called out those who pretend to be our black-robed masters for their blatantly unconstitutional extension of domestic criminal law restrictions onto every battlefield [link added]:

To my mind, the most blatant and consequential usurpation of Executive power in our history was played out during the Administration of President George W. Bush, when the Supreme Court, in a series of cases, set itself up as the ultimate arbiter and superintendent of military decisions inherent in prosecuting a military conflict – decisions that lie at the very core of the President’s discretion as Commander in Chief.

This usurpation climaxed with the Court’s 2008 decision in Boumediene. There, the Supreme Court overturned hundreds of years of American, and earlier British, law and practice, which had always considered decisions as to whether to detain foreign combatants to be purely military judgments which civilian judges had no power to review. For the first time, the Court ruled that foreign persons who had no connection with the United States other than being confronted by our military on the battlefield had “due process” rights and thus have the right to habeas corpus to obtain judicial review of whether the military has a sufficient evidentiary basis to hold them.

In essence, the Court has taken the rules that govern our domestic criminal justice process and carried them over and superimposed them on the Nation’s activities when it is engaged in armed conflict with foreign enemies. This rides roughshod over a fundamental distinction that is integral to the Constitution and integral to the role played by the President in our system.

As the Preamble suggests, governments are established for two different security reasons – to secure domestic tranquility and to provide for defense against external dangers. These are two very different realms of government action.

In a nutshell, under the Constitution, when the government is using its law enforcement powers domestically to discipline an errant member of the community for a violation of law, then protecting the liberty of the American people requires that we sharply curtail the government’s power so it does not itself threaten the liberties of the people. Thus, the Constitution in this arena deliberately sacrifices efficiency; invests the accused with rights that that essentially create a level playing field between the collective interests of community and those of the individual; and dilutes the government’s power by dividing it and turning it on itself as a check, at each stage the Judiciary is expressly empowered to serve as a check and neutral arbiter.

None of these considerations are applicable when the government is defending the country against armed attacks from foreign enemies. In this realm, the Constitution is concerned with one thing – preserving the freedom of our political community by destroying the external threat. Here, the Constitution is not concerned with handicapping the government to preserve other values. The Constitution does not confer “rights” on foreign enemies. Rather the Constitution is designed to maximize the government’s efficiency to achieve victory – even at the cost of “collateral damage” that would be unacceptable in the domestic realm. The idea that the judiciary acts as a neutral check on the political branches to protect foreign enemies from our government is insane.

The impact of Boumediene has been extremely consequential. For the first time in American history our armed forces is incapable of taking prisoners. We are now in a crazy position that, if we identify a terrorist enemy on the battlefield, such as ISIS, we can kill them with drone or any other weapon. But if we capture them and want to hold them at Guantanamo or in the United States, the military is tied down in developing evidence for an adversarial process and must spend resources in interminable litigation.

The fact that our courts are now willing to invade and muck about in these core areas of Presidential responsibility illustrates how far the doctrine of Separation of Powers has been eroded.

Consider the way these messages were conveyed. There was no White House ceremony, no speech from a podium. The president acted and had his press secretary release the public statement. We went from one to three pardons in one day. If the DoD brass and David French brand of lawyers try to continue ignoring the Commander in Chief’s not-so-subtle direction, while also arrogantly discounting Attorney General Barr’s clear message, will we see the next set of pardons combined with career ending actions against flag officers and SES grade bureaucrats?

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There are 24 comments.

  1. James Gawron Thatcher

    Cliff,

    I am glad you are expressing this. I don’t have the time or the expertise to really get into this issue but like so many other issues for which the left manufactures their imaginary nonsense, I suspect this one too would show their ill-will and lack of integrity.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
    • November 17, 2019, at 7:48 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  2. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Clifford A. Brown:

    Scales of Justice and Boots of TruthContrast President Trump with both Bush the Second and Obama. President Trump has recognized the poisonous betrayal of our troops by careerist bureaucrats, senior officers (but I largely repeat myself), and the JAG (Judge Advocate General) fifth column lawfare. His pardons are a calculated and calibrated response, and are consistent with another pardon issued six months ago.

    [much snippery] 

    President Trump has signaled to those who face bullets and bombs that he will back them. He backhands the senior officers who covered their own butts and advanced their own uniformed and post-uniform careers at the expense of those far junior. He signals the services’ corps of lawyers that there are limits to their lawfare. All of this is to the good, and for these reasons, whatever the surface feigned concerns, the haters of the legitimately elected president and his voters howl.If the DoD brass and David French brand of lawyers try to continue ignoring the Commander in Chief’s not-so-subtle direction, while also arrogantly discounting Attorney General Barr’s clear message, will we see the next set of pardons combined with career ending actions against flag officers and SES grade bureaucrats?

    That would thrill me – I would love to see some cashiering of what I maybe unfairly believe are mercenary Lord-bureaucrats disguised and generously rewarded as military generals. 

    Further to this, how many [redacting] generals does one country need? I’m thinking one per service (Admiral for Navy) in peacetime and one per theater in war is plenty.  

     

    • #2
    • November 17, 2019, at 7:54 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  3. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown: Consider the way these messages were conveyed.

    The was to Roger Stone. wink. wink.

    • #3
    • November 17, 2019, at 9:19 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    TBA (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown:

    Scales of Justice and Boots of TruthContrast President Trump with both Bush the Second and Obama. President Trump has recognized the poisonous betrayal of our troops by careerist bureaucrats, senior officers (but I largely repeat myself), and the JAG (Judge Advocate General) fifth column lawfare. His pardons are a calculated and calibrated response, and are consistent with another pardon issued six months ago.

    [much snippery]

    President Trump has signaled to those who face bullets and bombs that he will back them. He backhands the senior officers who covered their own butts and advanced their own uniformed and post-uniform careers at the expense of those far junior. He signals the services’ corps of lawyers that there are limits to their lawfare. All of this is to the good, and for these reasons, whatever the surface feigned concerns, the haters of the legitimately elected president and his voters howl.If the DoD brass and David French brand of lawyers try to continue ignoring the Commander in Chief’s not-so-subtle direction, while also arrogantly discounting Attorney General Barr’s clear message, will we see the next set of pardons combined with career ending actions against flag officers and SES grade bureaucrats?

    That would thrill me – I would love to see some cashiering of what I maybe unfairly believe are mercenary Lord-bureaucrats disguised and generously rewarded as military generals.

    Further to this, how many [redacting] generals does one country need? I’m thinking one per service (Admiral for Navy) in peacetime and one per theater in war is plenty.

    https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/CNGR_General-Flag-Officer-Authorizations.pdf

    In 1945, as World War II ended, active-duty general and flag officer positions stood at a high of more than 2,000. At that time, the active military had nearly 12 million members, with some 1.1 million officers. […] In 1967 DOD had about 1,300 authorized active-duty general and flag officers. Total uniformed personnel, including enlisted personnel and officers, exceeded 2.5 million in 1964, falling by 1976 to 2.052 million. […] 

    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R44389.pdf

    Number of Active Duty General and Flag Officers As of November 1, 2018 . . . 920

    Yes, we are grossly top heavy, and you can read some of the rationales offered in the linked studies. 

    • #4
    • November 17, 2019, at 11:10 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  5. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    JAGs. Blech

    • #5
    • November 18, 2019, at 3:17 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Wade Moore Member

    TBA (View Comment):

    That would thrill me – I would love to see some cashiering of what I maybe unfairly believe are mercenary Lord-bureaucrats disguised and generously rewarded as military generals.

    Further to this, how many [redacting] generals does one country need? I’m thinking one per service (Admiral for Navy) in peacetime and one per theater in war is plenty.

     

    One per theater? Who is going to lead the army groups, corps and divisions? Corporals?

    • #6
    • November 18, 2019, at 4:25 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Good to see this post. More on the contrast between Obama and Trump.

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/obama-granted-clemency-to-terrorists-and-traitors-but-were-supposed-to-be-angry-at-trumps/

    I don’t think Trump has rewarded an unrepentant terrorist but maybe Gary and Goldtooth can fill us in.

    Bill Clinton released/pardoned other Puerto Rican terrorists to curry favor with NYC Puerto Rican voters when his wife was running for the Senate in New York. At least he did not pardon the bomb maker like Obama did.

    • #7
    • November 18, 2019, at 4:30 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  8. Stad Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown: He backhands the senior officers who covered their own butts and advanced their own uniformed and post-uniform careers at the expense of those far junior.

    Which is why you have some former military officers lying about testifying against Trump in uniform, to make it look as if the President is not popular with the troops. The truth is, Trump is very popular with the troops (i.e. the soldiers and sailors most likely in harm’s way) than the safe and secure armchair brass . . .

    • #8
    • November 18, 2019, at 6:30 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  9. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    And when Obama traded five Taliban terrorists from Gitmo, all of whom would return to the battlefield, for American-deserter Bowe Bergdahl:

    I remember the above photo and thinking, “What does it say when the only one wearing a tie at the White House is the weirdo?”

    • #9
    • November 18, 2019, at 6:43 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  10. Doug Watt Member

    A lot less time preparing officers to give in depth policy interviews to CNN would help. I still remember a Marine Captain being interviewed by CNN just before he was going to lead his men into Fallujah. He was asked what options the insurgents in Fallujah had. His reply was simple; They can surrender, or they can die. Simple yet elegant. No Kissinger type mumbling, and droning on and on, from that young Captain.

     

    • #10
    • November 18, 2019, at 6:46 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  11. James Gawron Thatcher

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    And when Obama traded five Taliban terrorists from Gitmo, all of whom would return to the battlefield, for American-deserter Bowe Bergdahl:

    I remember the above photo and thinking, “What does it say when the only one wearing a tie at the White House is the weirdo?”

    Choice,

    If my memory serves me Bergdahl signed up for the military knowing full well that he was most probably going to a war zone that he already had information on through hundreds of news sources. Then, on guard duty in a very dangerous combat zone, Bergdahl deserted his post in the middle of the night. Bergdahl didn’t try to get to Switzerland but went directly to a Taliban controlled village and asked to surrender to the Taliban. His comrades not knowing what Bergdahl had done and thinking he had been captured went looking for him and were ambushed killing over 7 US servicemen. Most experienced people in this war at that time say that once the Taliban found it hard to ransom Bergdahl that they would have tortured him to get as much information and then killed him. As Bergdahl spent years in Taliban captivity it is assumed that he must have actively collaborated with the Taliban. There is no way of estimating how many American servicemen died because of his collaboration. If I remember correctly, Obama traded 5 major Taliban commanders to get Bergdahl back. Bergdahl who would have surely been found guilty if prosecuted was given a pass. 

    If anyone feels that I have remembered this incorrectly please feel free to correct me.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #11
    • November 18, 2019, at 7:16 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. Boss Mongo Member

    Wade Moore (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    That would thrill me – I would love to see some cashiering of what I maybe unfairly believe are mercenary Lord-bureaucrats disguised and generously rewarded as military generals.

    Further to this, how many [redacting] generals does one country need? I’m thinking one per service (Admiral for Navy) in peacetime and one per theater in war is plenty.

     

    One per theater? Who is going to lead the army groups, corps and divisions? Corporals?

    I ginned up a wee bit of umbrage one time when GEN Casey, the then Commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq, asked for recommendations in a group setting.

    I said: Reduce the population of GOs in-theater by 50%.

    • #12
    • November 18, 2019, at 7:34 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  13. Boss Mongo Member

    Clifford A. Brown: President Trump has recognized the poisonous betrayal of our troops by careerist bureaucrats, senior officers (but I largely repeat myself), and the JAG (Judge Advocate General) fifth column lawfare.

    Senior green tab leaders have abdicated their Command responsibility by giving veto powers to JAGs–before those Commanders have even seen the proposed course of action.

    • #13
    • November 18, 2019, at 7:36 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  14. Raxxalan Member

    Wade Moore (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    That would thrill me – I would love to see some cashiering of what I maybe unfairly believe are mercenary Lord-bureaucrats disguised and generously rewarded as military generals.

    Further to this, how many [redacting] generals does one country need? I’m thinking one per service (Admiral for Navy) in peacetime and one per theater in war is plenty.

     

    One per theater? Who is going to lead the army groups, corps and divisions? Corporals?

    I have always been a fan of colonels actually. Seriously though a field general probably isn’t the problem, the problem is likely from what my father called REMF’ers, please don’t ask what that stands for it is a CoC violation for sure.

    A workable solution would be to reduce the overall number of Generals and Admirals and brevet Colonels and Captains into those positions when needed to command a larger unit or task force.

    • #14
    • November 18, 2019, at 8:20 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Raxxalan Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: President Trump has recognized the poisonous betrayal of our troops by careerist bureaucrats, senior officers (but I largely repeat myself), and the JAG (Judge Advocate General) fifth column lawfare.

    Senior green tab leaders have abdicated their Command responsibility by giving veto powers to JAGs–before those Commanders have even seen the proposed course of action.

    I liked this because I am glad I know about it now. I am completely appalled by the practice.

    • #15
    • November 18, 2019, at 8:22 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Wade Moore (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    That would thrill me – I would love to see some cashiering of what I maybe unfairly believe are mercenary Lord-bureaucrats disguised and generously rewarded as military generals.

    Further to this, how many [redacting] generals does one country need? I’m thinking one per service (Admiral for Navy) in peacetime and one per theater in war is plenty.

     

    One per theater? Who is going to lead the army groups, corps and divisions? Corporals?

    I ginned up a wee bit of umbrage one time when GEN Casey, the then Commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq, asked for recommendations in a group setting.

    I said: Reduce the population of GOs in-theater by 50%.

    In reading about WWII, I ran across several criticisms of American Army procedures regarding the number of officers. The German Army had far fewer officers per unit than the American army. German noncoms did much more local command in the field. It was attributed to the “Industrial Model” used by the US Army which reflected the practices of industry in the 1920s, when many senior officers were in training. Many workers were poorly educated or trained and supervision was close and included many layers of administration. This became a model for the Army and it seems to have persisted in spite of changes in industry.

    • #16
    • November 18, 2019, at 8:37 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Kozak Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    JAGs. Blech

    The worst thing that has ever happened to US military forces is having them infest the battlefield.

    My only caveat on that would be if they were regularly forced to walk point or drive the lead vehicle in a convoy through “Indian Country”.

    • #17
    • November 18, 2019, at 8:38 AM PST
    • 1 like
  18. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Raxxalan (View Comment):
    by giving veto powers to JAGs–before those Commanders have even seen the proposed course of action.

    Dakota Meyers’ book, “Into the Fire” has specific examples from his own experience. For example, his life was saved because he was restricted from going into the village with his civil affairs team. They were ambushed and killed. He was restricted because he had been shooting back at Taliban mortar men who were lobbing shells into the fire base. He was punished because the Taliban were not wearing “uniforms.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Into-Fire-Firsthand-Account-Extraordinary-ebook/dp/B0060AY9CY/

    Read a couple of the Amazon reviews. Several are by guys who know what they are talking about.

    • #18
    • November 18, 2019, at 8:46 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Jim Beck Member

    Evening Boss,

    Could you tell us your opinion of the pardons, and could you give us a method of deciding when a soldier has gone so far over the line that he must be punished? After reading “With the Old Breed”, I would be very reluctant to judge the actions of the rifle men and mortar men who are in the depths of the killing zones.

    • #19
    • November 18, 2019, at 3:13 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. Western Chauvinist Member

    Didn’t Obama retire and then appoint a lot of sympathetic generals at one point? Sometime during the “openly gay” service push?

    • #20
    • November 18, 2019, at 3:23 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. Steve C. Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: President Trump has recognized the poisonous betrayal of our troops by careerist bureaucrats, senior officers (but I largely repeat myself), and the JAG (Judge Advocate General) fifth column lawfare.

    Senior green tab leaders have abdicated their Command responsibility by giving veto powers to JAGs–before those Commanders have even seen the proposed course of action.

    If memory serves, at the very beginning of the attack on Afghanistan, a JAG officer vetoed a Predator strike on Mullah Omar’s house. I don’t remember the reason, but I do remember being gobsmacked that no one was willing to say, “Advice considered. I’m in command. Take the shot.”

    • #21
    • November 18, 2019, at 3:24 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  22. The Reticulator Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: President Trump has recognized the poisonous betrayal of our troops by careerist bureaucrats, senior officers (but I largely repeat myself), and the JAG (Judge Advocate General) fifth column lawfare.

    Senior green tab leaders have abdicated their Command responsibility by giving veto powers to JAGs–before those Commanders have even seen the proposed course of action.

    If memory serves, at the very beginning of the attack on Afghanistan, a JAG officer vetoed a Predator strike on Mullah Omar’s house. I don’t remember the reason, but I do remember being gobsmacked that no one was willing to say, “Advice considered. I’m in command. Take the shot.”

    I was mostly unaware of this JAG problem until reading about it here. It sounds a lot like the Communist Party commissars that the Russian military officers had looking over their shoulders and interfering with their operations. I don’t know that the Marko Ramius/Sean Connery solution ever happened in real life. 

    • #22
    • November 18, 2019, at 6:11 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. Steve C. Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Didn’t Obama retire and then appoint a lot of sympathetic generals at one point? Sometime during the “openly gay” service push?

    The services have their own internal selection processes. Once the promotion list is compiled, it goes to the White House where the appointments are made and to the Senate for “advise and consent”. I imagine the typical President might know a few of the officers, but is reliant on the process. Some GO promotions have been held up by the Senate for a variety of mostly political reasons. I think recently one AF GO was held up in the Senate because of accusations of sexual harassment or something similar.

     

    • #23
    • November 18, 2019, at 7:58 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  24. Steve C. Member

    • #24
    • November 18, 2019, at 8:06 PM PST
    • Like