Boasting about war crimes
“Donald Trump is the war crimes president,” said Andrew Sullivan. During the 2016 campaign, he brazenly vowed to bring back torture as a military strategy and “exulted” in telling war crimes stories, such as an apocryphal tale about a general who used bullets dipped in pig’s blood to kill Muslims. Once in office, Trump nominated Gina Haspel as CIA director, ignoring objections that she oversaw torture of suspected terrorists under the Bush administration. Trump recently pardoned war criminal Eddie Gallagher, a rogue Navy SEAL called “freaking evil” by his SEAL colleagues, who turned him in for allegedly shooting and stabbing Iraqis—including civilians—for fun. Trump called Gallagher “one of the ‘great fighters’ in the U.S. military,” invited him to a party at Mar-a-Lago, and is likely to trot him out at campaign events. Before Trump, it was “unimaginable” for a president to exalt a war criminal—or to threaten to commit war crimes himself. Last week, the commander-in-chief warned he’d destroy cultural sites in Iran—a violation of international law—and backed down only after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the military wouldn’t comply with such an order. For Trump, “military honor and the laws of war” are for chumps.