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Thread: Uniform Code of Military Justice

  1. #1
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Uniform Code of Military Justice

    So what do you feel might be the long term implications of what Trump just did in giving two pardons and restoring the rank of another despite the recommendations of everyone to stay out? Basically over ruling the system. Opinions?

    Any thoughts that this could have been done for political reasons. Hey, we are only talking about bad "muslims" so what is the problem. I'm pretty sure his base has no issues about it. I wouldn't put it past him.

    President Donald Trump ignored Pentagon advice Friday to pardon two officers and restore the rank of a third after all faced war crimes allegations.

    Trump granted a full pardon to Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and a full pardon to Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, and restored the rank of Navy SEAL Eddie R. Gallagher, who had been demoted.

    Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other senior military leaders had told the President that a presidential pardon could potentially damage the integrity of the military judicial system, the ability of military leaders to ensure good order and discipline, and the confidence of US allies and partners who host US troops.

    ​A US Defense official told CNN that the leadership of the Defense Department made every effort to ensure that the President had all the necessary information at his disposal prior to making this decision.

    Even so, the President moved ahead with the decision, acting on the second day of the House impeachment inquiry's public hearings. It was also the day that his longtime political adviser and friend Roger Stone was found guilty of lying to and obstructing Congress in a case related to Trump and the release of stolen Democratic emails in 2016 by WikiLeaks.
    ​​
    "The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted," the White House said in a statement. "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.' "

    "The Department of Defense has confidence in the military justice system. The President is part of the military justice system as the Commander-in-Chief and has the authority to weigh in on matters of this nature," said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

    The Army said in a statement Friday that it will carry out the pardons of Lorance and Golsteyn, while noting that "The Army has full confidence in our system of justice."
    The Navy tweeted Friday that it has received Trump's order to restore Gallagher's rank and is "implementing it."

    Undermining authority of command

    Privately wary that the President would move against their recommendations, military officials had considered in advance what public posture to take if Trump refused to listen to their advice. Rather than try to explain a decision they cannot endorse, Pentagon officials are expected to simply refer questions to the White House.

    "This goes directly to our military culture," one official told CNN. Another official said, "We all view this possibility as undermining the authority of command" in military units.

    The White House statement noted that "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 statement did not acknowledge Pentagon worries that the President's actions could undermine that discipline and culture.

    'Broad support'

    Lorance was found guilty in 2013 of second-degree murder for ordering his men to fire on three men on a motorcycle in Afghanistan.

    Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke with Lorance by phone Friday night and told him to "get his uniform." Lorance's legal team interpreted that to mean that he will be going free shortly, according to his lawyer John Mayer.

    Gallagher was demoted after being found guilty for posing for a photo with a casualty. Gallagher had faced a court-martial for premeditated murder and attempted murder, but was acquitted. "Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified," the White House said.

    Golsteyn has been charged with the murder of an Afghan man in 2010. He pleaded not guilty in June, according to the Army Times. His lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse, has maintained that the death occurred during a mission ordered by his superiors.

    After nearly a decade, "a swift resolution to the case of Major Golsteyn is in the interests of justice," the White House said. "Clemency for Major Golsteyn has broad support," the statement continued, naming five Republican House members, an author and former Marine, and the Fox News contributor and Army veteran Pete Hegseth.

    Last week CNN reported that after Army and Navy leaders were surprised by media reports that the President might intervene in the three cases, they called a meeting with Esper.

    Those leaders, like most Army and Navy military and civilian officials, expressed extreme dismay about the possibility that the soldiers' sentences could be dismissed or changed, according to several sources directly familiar with their thinking.

    In an effort to educate and dissuade Trump, the Defense Department put together an information package to convey to him their concerns and educate him on the issues. Esper met with Trump to urge the President to let the Uniform Code of Military Justice prevail.

    He said he had "a robust discussion" with the President and offered Trump "the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations."
    Officials all pointed to a central concept that informs the US military ethos: that US forces are highly trained to operate in a legal and disciplined manner and if they are found guilty of violations, they must face punishment.

    If the President "were to overuse his pardon power and in fact release soldiers who have, in every other way, have the evidence stacked against them, there certainly could be an impact on the military judicial process going forward," said John Kirby, a retired admiral who has served as both Pentagon and State Department spokesman.

    "There could be an impact on military leaders and their ability to enact measures of good order and discipline. There also could be a potential crisis of confidence in the potential countries we're operating in," Kirby added.

    Commander in chief

    One reason US troops are as welcome as they are worldwide is because hosting nations "know the American military administers itself according to a very strict code of justice and we have a very good record of holding those troops accountable," Kirby said, even for minor scrapes such as "drunken driving overseas or getting into a fistfight in a bar."

    Stackhouse, the defense counsel for Golsteyn, rejected the concerns of military leaders and veterans such as Kirby, ignoring their arguments to say essentially that Trump can do whatever he wants as commander in chief.

    "To the naysayers who say dismissing the charge will undermine commanders or military justice, they still incredulously refuse to accept that President Trump is the Commander in Chief of our military and a General Court-martial Convening Authority," Stackhouse said in a statement last week.

    Speaking of the career officers who lead the Army and Navy, Stackhouse said their narrative "is meant to do nothing but undermine [Trump's] leadership and pit civilian leadership against uniformed leadership."

    John Maher, an attorney for Lorance, told CNN that his legal team and immediate family were all in Leavenworth, Kansas, last week waiting for his possible release. Last Friday, the inmate administration had ordered Lorance to start packing up his bags, forward his mail and close his bank account to prepare for out processing, Maher said.

    Lorance "never got a fair trial," according to Maher, who said the Army lieutenant and his family have been waiting for five years for this day.

    Before the decision was announced, Timothy Parlatore, an attorney for Gallagher, said his legal team had not communicated with the White House and "don't presume to know what the President is thinking," but said, "I certainly think Eddie Gallagher was treated poorly, as should every American."

    Perceptions in the military differ, though, and the disconnect with the President's thinking about troops was on clear display after Trump tweeted on October 12 that "the case of Major Mathew Golsteyn is now under review at the White House. Mathew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bombmaker. We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!"

    Soldiers objected quietly, but with emphatic certainty. One young officer, referring to Trump's "killing machines" comment, said, "That is not who we are."

    An official explained that "the President might think they acted in patriotism, but these were war crimes." Speaking of Trump's plans to act on the three service members' sentences, this official added that "just because he can do it doesn't mean he should."
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/15/polit...nes/index.html
    Last edited by tbm3fan; 16 Nov 19, at 05:21.

  2. #2
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    This one got my attention

    Trump tweeted on Oct. 12 that "the case of Major Mathew Golsteyn is now under review at the White House. Mathew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bombmaker. We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!"
    There seems some merit in Trump intervening in this particular case

    Army Green Beret major pleads not guilty to Afghan murder charge | Army Times | Jun 27

    Golsteyn’s arraignment this morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina came nearly a decade after the alleged incident. He was a captain at the time of his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan with 3rd Special Forces Group during some of the bloodiest fighting in the war.

    In a statement provided before the hearing to Army Times, Golsteyn’ s civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse pushed back at both the charges and timing of the proceedings.

    “These allegations were alleged to have taken place almost 10 years ago and were resolved by Lieutenant General Beaudette's predecessor by a board of inquiry wherein the "derogatory activity" was not supported by even a preponderance of the evidence,” Stackhouse wrote.

    He cleared a board of inquiry with no criminal charges, only a recommendation that he be discharged.

    His Silver Star Medal and Special Forces tab were both stripped from him following the investigation that closed in 2014.

    Golsteyn has been working a civilian job, representing the International Association of Firefighters. But after he was charged in December he was required to report to Fort Bragg. Since January he’s been living in the Fort Bragg area, reporting in twice daily as he has awaited the Army’s decision.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 16 Nov 19, at 15:15.

  3. #3
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Strain in the military over interference. Politicization of the military would be a very, very bad thing.

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/polit...ing/index.html

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Strain in the military over interference. Politicization of the military would be a very, very bad thing.

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/polit...ing/index.html
    Hey why not. Trump has done his dead-level best to tear down every other pillar of the United States, might as well destroy the military from within as well.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
    ~ Lindsey Graham

    "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."
    ~ Trey Gowdy

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    Not taking sides on this matter but this was not the first time political interference has occured. The infamous Mai Lai massacre was covered up galore. And there was not one WWII General from any side who could not be accused of a war crime.

    To say the profession of arms has always been freed of politics is disengious at best. The UCMJ/Queen's Rules are supplements, not a replacement, to the Consitution. The POTUS always had the right to interfere with military actions as he sees fit. Just because the uniform membership disagrees with his decision does not invalidate that authority.

    That being said, there's a thing to be said about being closed doors and not making a circus out of this fiasco.

  6. #6
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    The POTUS always had the right to interfere with military actions as he sees fit.
    And what the opposition would prefer is he butt out even when a case has merit.

    Go by the book. Lay off the military's turf.

    That being said, there's a thing to be said about being closed doors and not making a circus out of this fiasco.
    That he not do policy via twitter. I think the whole world would prefer this.

    But he needs to make a splash so people see what he is doing.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 29 Nov 19, at 18:51.

  7. #7
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    Hey why not. Trump has done his dead-level best to tear down every other pillar of the United States, might as well destroy the military from within as well.
    And how far to date has he got in that endeavour since he entered office?

    Can you point to any irrversible changes he has made in this regard of tearing down institutions.

    Or as expected the checks and balances kick in and in the end he really has not been able to do much other than the constant media refrain that says he threatens to do so.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 29 Nov 19, at 18:49.

  8. #8
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Strain in the military over interference. Politicization of the military would be a very, very bad thing.

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/polit...ing/index.html
    That would be an ideal to strive for, but.....

    All militaries are more political than people imagine. You don't get a star by being non-political..

    Here

    Bear in mind she is speaking in a differerent context. She's calling out the IAF chief for towing the Indian administrations line.

    But i like the way she turned what you said on its head.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 29 Nov 19, at 21:05.

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