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Letter: They are called ‘war crimes’ for a reason

(Andrew Craft | The Fayetteville Observer | AP file photo) In this June 27, 2019, filke photo. Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, a former Army Special Forces soldier, leaves the Fort Bragg courtroom facility with his civilian lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse, right, after an arraignment hearing. President Donald Trump has pardoned a former U.S. Army commando set to stand trial next year in the killing of a suspected Afghan bomb-maker and for a former Army lieutenant who had been convicted of murder after he ordered his men to fire upon three Afghans, killing two, the White House announced late Friday.

As retired career military, I was appalled that Donald Trump overturned the punishment of three service members who represent the worst our country has to offer.

War crimes are called crimes for a reason. Shooting a captured, unarmed enemy combatant or innocent civilian does not make one a hero. The first, besides being immoral, announces to the enemy that there are no rules and that it’s fine if they execute any of our military they capture. The second. besides being immoral, is beyond stupid. You don’t win the “hearts and minds” of the population by shooting them.

Our military works because they consider themselves well trained, honorable and disciplined. Trump’s pardons severely undermine the ability to discipline and clearly eliminate the honor.

If he hadn’t been a coward and dodged the draft, it’s unlikely he would have made it through basic training.

The military does a good job of weeding out cowards and misfits. Gens. Kelly, McMaster and Mattis had little trouble seeing Trump as the blowhard he really is.

Frank Globokar, Salt Lake City

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