A retired United States Navy officer and military analyst maintains that justice was served in the high-profile court martial of a senior non-commissioned officer, who was recently acquitted of serious charges for dishonorable treatment of a deceased ISIS terrorist while on duty in Iraq in 2017.
U.S. Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher has been sentenced to a reduction in rank, and forfeiture of pay as punishment, and he has already served the four months confinement, which was handed down by a military jury in San Diego, California, for posing with the body of a dead Islamic State terrorist combatant.
On Wednesday, however, it was ruled that Gallagher’s length and severity of incarceration – in additionto being demoted one rank from Special Operations Chief to petty officer first class and sustaining a $2,697 pay cut over four months – was too severe.
“The judge went on to give Gallagher 60 days' credit for being held in overly harsh conditions before being tried – as well as for being deprived of treatment for a traumatic brain injury,” The Associated Press reported. “Gallagher was also credited with 201 days of pretrial confinement.”
Ultimately, Gallagher was found not guilty on six of the most serious charges – including premediated murder and the attempted murder of two non-combatants.
Retired Navy Commander Kirk Lippold, who commanded the USS Cole when it was attacked by terrorists in 2000, is pleased that Gallagher is not being punished with more than he deserved to make a politically correct statement.
"We have to have an inherent trust in the military justice system,” Lippold insisted. “And at the end of the day, those officers – some of those who sat on his jury had combat experience – determined that the breadth and depth of evidence that they were trying to convict him on was not sufficient for the charges that they had levied at him. And I think at the end of the day, the system worked."
Defense lawyers argued that Gallagher was framed by junior disgruntled platoon members who fabricated the allegations to oust their chief.
"I think this case was an aberration and is not indicative of the trust issues within the special operations community – especially the SEAL teams,” Lippold contended. “I think they can trust."
Lippold also stressed that he does not think it would have been a good idea for President Donald Trump to have pardoned Gallagher – if he had been found guilty of the more serious offenses.