President Obama’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is NOT happy that President Trump is setting jailed military members free.
On Tuesday, General Martin Dempsey (Ret.) tweeted a rebuke, accusing Trump of promoting an “abdication of moral responsibility” by pardoning military members that had been convicted of war crimes.
Walking a Thin Line
General Dempsey apparently does not believe in freedom of speech. As far as he is concerned, military members, especially those of prominence, should keep their mouths shut when it comes to politics.
He has called out former military officers on both sides of the aisle for making political speeches. During the 2016 election, Gen. Dempsey obliterated both Gen. Flynn and Gen Allen for speaking at the Republican and Democrat conventions.
Dempsey stated, “More than an individual reputation, retired generals and admirals enjoy a collective reputation earned by having been part of a profession.
“It is therefore nearly impossible for them to speak exclusively for themselves when speaking publicly. If that were even possible, few would want to hear them.”
“Their opinion is valued chiefly because it is assumed they speak with authority for those who have served in uniform.” He went on to say if they are running for office, all bets are off, but that is the only time they should be dipping their toes into political waters.
Dempsey’s latest flare-up was over Trump pardoning numerous military members convicted of war crimes. There are several pardons on Trump’s desk awaiting his signature, most notably Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher.
The one pardon that really irked Dempsey, however, seemed to be that of former Army Lt. Michael Behenna. Behenna was convicted of murdering an Iraqi prisoner, which he has maintained was done in self-defense.
By pardoning these men, General Dempsey believes Trump is throwing our rules of engagement and morality of war right out the window.
He further believes more soldiers will stretch the rules believing even if they do get into trouble, Trump will set them free.
Dempsey called it both a “bad message” and a “bad precedent.” While Dempsey has been upset, many Americans have applauded the pardons, believing these men violated no laws and merely did what was necessary to survive in a war zone.