SEAL on Trial for War Crimes

The latest testimony against a US Navy SEAL, by his own team, includes this harrowing explanation of field risk management

…Gallagher [a veteran of eight deployments] repeatedly fired his weapons, even into crowds, during the platoon’s 2017 deployment.

But several SEALs relayed that the chief often missed, due in part to a poorly-maintained rifle, and they stopped short of telling Gallagher because he wasn’t striking his targets because they “thought it was one way to protect” the civilians

The SEAL chief now faces over a dozen criminal counts, including premeditated murder.

When Iraqi forces brought his team an alleged ISIS fighter for medical care in 2017, Gallagher supposedly stabbed the man to death, in front of medical team, and then posed for digital evidence to be recorded of his actions. The testimony also describes several other incidents including two where he allegedly killed civilians with his poorly-maintained rifle.


Updated with guilty verdict:

During the trial, it was revealed that nearly all of the platoon members readily posed for photos with the dead ISIS fighter and watched as Gallagher read his reenlistment oath near the body in an impromptu ceremony. Some posed for individual photos but only Gallagher faced charges. […] In one of the more startling testimonies, Navy SEAL Corey Scott, a special warfare operator and medic who was testifying for the prosecution on a grant of immunity, said Gallagher plunged a knife into the neck of the teen but did not actually kill him.

The case is interesting for two reasons.

First, the acquisition of cell phone data from multiple devices has a number of twists and turns about user consent and privacy. Second, clearly this convicted criminal is being made an example of among a much larger ethics problem, as a matter of preserving faith and order in military code. While others may too be convicted or not, the main point is the code can be enforced at all and nobody should be treated as above the law.

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