I do support the military, so please do not dismiss this letter as a lack of support for our troops, but I believe the conduct of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher does not reflect American values and does not deserve to be celebrated by the current administration.
I also believe that President Trump’s conduct weakens necessary military discipline and undermines the leaders of your armed forces.
Gallagher’s decision to kill a teenage ISIS fighter was not made in the heat of the moment in battle where our soldiers have to make life and death decisions. The fighter was semi-conscious. He was sedated and intubated in order to aid his breathing. At this point in time, Gallagher took out his knife and stabbed him in the throat and then posed with the dead body for a trophy picture. Although another SEAL claimed to have stabbed the fighter, Gallagher’s text, “I got him with my hunting knife,” suggests otherwise.
Perhaps you might say that ISIS fighters have done much worse, and they have. I believe conduct such as this legitimizes war crimes, however, if our forces are allowed to act in the same way. Stooping to the depravity of our enemies is not the American way.