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Should We Prosecute for Overseas War Crimes? Poll Results

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A U.S. army trainer instructs Iraq soldiers at a military base in Taji, Iraq (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)
A U.S. army trainer instructs Iraq soldiers at a military base in Taji, Iraq. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

We reported the case of a Navy SEAL who was charged with covering up war crimes by a fellow SEAL in Iraq. One SEAL has already been charged in the affair.

The case was brought against Lt. Jacob Portier, who was not at the scene of the alleged crime, yet the charge sheet against him says he helped cover up an alleged murder of a wounded ISIS fighter in Iraq in 2017 by fellow SEAL Edward Gallagher. The Navy contends Gallagher stabbed an ISIS fighter to death and then posed for a photo next to the body.

At least a dozen SEALS who were deployed to Iraq between 2017 and 2018 are under investigation for war crimes as well as leaders in Naval Special Warfare Group 1 who were investigating the allegations.

In response to this story, we took a poll of our readers regarding the question of war crimes committed by U.S. personnel overseas.

The following is the response to our question: Should American service personnel be prosecuted for war crimes committed overseas?

77 percent said no, war is a stressful situation and allowances should be made.

23 percent said yes, they should always be held to American standards, whether at home or abroad.

Comments

Killing a member of ISIS should not be a crime.  Taking your picture with the body is just stupid.

This is war, not war games. Why is it so hard to understand?? Our men and women are asked to do a job that very few are asked to do. If we don’t like the result’s, too bad, give up the endeavor!!!

Aren’t we fighting for values? If we do not remain loyal to our values, we fail to be Americans (and follow rule of law).

Lines blur during war, especially when our special ops teams are asked to go on mission after mission fighting such savages. Every effort should be made to be merciful to these heroes.

Walk a mile in their shoes. If you think you can. Then jud

Punishing our soldiers for defending our country will end our civilization faster than anything else.

We need to send some of the desk jockies over there and see how they would react. God bless our troops!

War is hell. ISIS wouldn show a Navy SEAL any compassion.

If the ISIS fighter was wearing a uniform and had surrendered, he should be treated as a POW.  If not, he’s simply an enemy combatant and should be summarily executed as a spy.

If it is outright intentional murder for bragging rights, then prosecution is in order. Who knows what really takes place in war situations? Most times it’s kill or be killed.

Soldiers, special forces included, are always held to the standard of the UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice]. Killing the enemy is not a crime. Posing for a kill picture is not good judgment.

No exceptions. Just because you serve in special forces does not mean that you are above the law.

The wording of the question and, more importantly, the limited choices provided are not sufficient for an accurate assessment. I am really inbetween on my answer. As a retired Army officer who served in combat overseas the word “always” can’t be applied in all practical ways. We should hold our military personnel to high standards, but we can’t always assume that every scenario the law must be enforced. We need to remember that, ultimately, war is brutal.

And how many war crimes has ISIS committed? These good men go through a lot to even go in this sick territory to help keep us safe. How many of those sick ISIS people took photos of people when the removed their heads??? Stop this insanity!!!!

Unless it’s a proven execution style killing they should be allowed to get on with their tasks without being worried about possible charges for doing their job !!! Civilians wouldn’t understand the job the military do.

Hunters pose with dead animals which is sick, and ISIS are worse than animals. If anyone should be accountable it is the governments who send these men to war. The roles should be reversed before they deem murder in battle. It should not even be a consideration. War is war and a pure failure in diplomacy.

Certainly the standards that apply to civilians should not be applied indiscriminately to military situations, but some service personnel do commit war crimes

These men and women watch every day when ISIS fighters kill and rape people, so who can blame them when they react. NOT ME!

Lead by example and there is a Geneva Convention Code.

Every situation is different, but war is not supposed to be Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood.

We cannot become the evil that we are fighting.

They should certainly be held to account, if evidence suggests they’ve committed a war crime, although all aspects of the circumstances should be looked at. How can we expect to win hearts and minds if we’re not held to account.

Taking pictures of a fighter you stabbed multiple times as if he were a trophy stag is a war crime.

The military follows a different set of laws that go over and above. It’s called the UCMJ and it is was created for just such cases. Killing an ISIS fighter during war should not be punished. Posing for pictures may be cause for reprimand. I am not privy to the entire situation but it is something for the military not a civilian court system to handle.

As a non-vet I always defer to my father, a Battle of the Bulge Bronze Star holder. His answer was always NO!

I served in US military 12 years.  I did not meet one person who wanted to kill someone just to kill.  They all preferred not to kill!!

I understand the principle of sticking with your brother or sister in arms in many situations. Not holding soldiers to a high standard gives them absolute power to kill, and we know that much power corrupts. Navy SEALS are not your average fighting troop. They are highly intelligent, motivated, quick thinkers and pragmatic gatekeepers in the war on terror. They must be given a fair hearing as well. So I’m not judging until the all evidence is in.

 

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Navy SEALS Kill 7 Al-Qaeda Operatives in Yemen 

Navy SEAL Charged With War Crimes — Should He Be?

 

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