A Navy judge presiding the case of a Navy SEAL accused of committing war crimes in Iraq in 2017 has ruled that performing a reenlistment ceremony over the corpse of an enemy fighter doesn't constitute a war crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Navy Times reports.
Navy SEAL Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher stands accused of executing an unarmed ISIS detainee with a hunting knife following the Battle of Mosul.
According to his charge sheet, Gallagher posed next to the body and took pictures before carrying out his reenlistment ceremony and hovering a drone over the corpse.
Navy Times reports that Navy Capt. Aaron Rugh determined in a Friday ruling that the reenlistment ceremony and drone flight "are not prohibited acts" under Article 134 of the UCMJ, which covers unenumerated offenses that undermine good order and discipline and bring discredit to the U.S armed forces
"The judge is saying that two of the specs under charge 3, the [Article] 134 violation, did not rise to the level of war crimes," Navy spokesman Brian O'Rourke told Task & Purpose. "The judge said 'these are in extremely bad taste, and you should have known better.'"
When asked how such a reenlistment ceremony didn't qualify as prejudicial to good order and discipline under Article 134's broad definition, O'Rourke demurred: "I can't answer for the judge."
Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward "Eddie" Gallagher at home and in Iraq in 2017.(U.S. Navy)
Lt. Jacob Portier, who faces charges of dereliction of duty amid claims that he covered up Gallaghers alleged crimes, reportedly told his superior officer that,"there was nothing criminal" involved in the reenlistment ceremony, according to documents obtained by Navy Times: "It was just in poor taste."
"It is honorable for a Navy SEAL to reenlist on the battlefield, the same battlefield where he was willing to sacrifice his own life to protect our nation," Portier's defense attorney told Navy Times.
Gallagher's civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ruling from Task & Purpose.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."
U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan on August 7, 2018. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani/File Photo)
MUSCAT/KABUL (Reuters) - Even before any peace push-related drawdowns, the U.S. military is expected to trim troop levels in Afghanistan as part of an efficiency drive by the new commander, a U.S. general told Reuters on Friday, estimating the cuts may exceed 1,000 forces.