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Former Army infantry officer Clint Lorance accuses the Pentagon of throwing him under the bus
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
On July 2, 2012, three Afghan men riding on a motorcycle approached a patrol that Lorance was leading. Lorance initially ordered one of his soldiers to open fire at them. Afterward, the three men got off their motorcycle and started walking toward Afghan troops who were part of the patrol, but they were waved back.
Lorance then got into a heated exchange with a soldier in a nearby vehicle, whom he ordered to shoot the three Afghan men. A staff sergeant repeatedly told the soldier to ignore Lorance's order, but the soldier eventually opened fire with his M240 machine gun.
Nine members of Lorance's platoon testified against him at the court-martial. But his attorney Don Brown said several of the witnesses had been granted legal immunity and were ordered to testify against Lorance for the prosecution. Few of the soldiers had actually seen what happened.
"Most of the testimony was about peripheral matters, like threatening somebody the day before," Brown told Task & Purpose on Monday. "They threw in a bunch of chickenshit charges. Most of the testimony went to chickenshit charges."
On Nov. 15, the White House announced that Trump had pardoned Lorance and ordered him to be released from the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
When asked about Lorance's comments on Fox & Friends, former Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak said it is unfair to claim that generals become political tools as soon as they are confirmed by the Senate.
"At the end of the day, nine of his fellow soldiers were the ones who said: Hey, this is wrong," Krulak told Task & Purpose on Monday. "Just think: If we had nine soldiers at My Lai saying to [Lt. William L. Calley Jr.], 'Stop it;' or to [Capt. Ernest Medina], 'Stop it; this is wrong;' we wouldn't have suffered a black eye for not just the Army but for all those who were fighting in Vietnam."
"What do those nine people feel like now?" he added. "Their act was one of great moral courage and has now been minimized."
Krulak -- a combat veteran who has received the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts and is also the son of legendary Lt. Gen. Victor "Brute" Krulak -- voiced concern in May that the United States would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground" if Trump pardoned service members who had been convicted at court-martial.
While the president has the right to pardon service members like Lorance, doing so could undermine trust in the military's ability to hold service members who break the law accountable, he said.
"I think we really need to be very careful about pardoning people who have already gone through the legal wickets," Krulak said. "When you then disregard the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his recommendation plus the staff judge advocate's, you'd better have a real good case for doing that. I'm not sure that the case in this instance was strong enough."
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"