In defending an alleged war criminal, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter admitted to doing a 'bad thing' when he was in the military.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) admitted that he may have committed war crimes during a speech over Memorial Day weekend, according to the Times of San Diego.
Hunter made the remarks while defending alleged war criminal Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL.
"Eddie did one bad thing that I'm guilty of too — taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid," Hunter said on Saturday.
According to prosecutors, Gallagher took a photo of a dead 15-year-old boy and texted it to his friends with the message, "Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife."
While Hunter admitted to taking photos of dead combatants when he served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hunter did not post photos on social media.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, merely taking a photo of a dead combatant is not a war crime. However, if such a photo is accompanied by "acts of severe disrespect," then it would qualify as a war crime.
In 2011, the U.S. Army apologized for photos that surfaced showing soldiers posing with dead bodies of combatants, saying such behavior was "in striking contrast" to the Army's ethics and standards.
It is unclear if Hunter's photos were similarly unethical — but it's disturbing that he apparently doesn't see the difference between what he did and what Gallagher did.
In his Saturday remarks, Hunter went on to say Trump should "absolutely" pardon Gallagher, but did not discuss the specific crimes Gallagher is charged with. Gallagher allegedly shot a school-aged Iraqi girl and an older man from a sniper hideout. His colleagues also claim he shot indiscriminately into crowds, and fired rockets into crowds of civilians.
Trump is considering a pardon for Gallagher and other alleged or convicted war criminals, with Hunter's enthusiastic support.
In his remarks, Hunter lambasted both the military justice system and the broader criminal justice system, accusing both of being "abusive" and "not about justice."
Hunter's general animus toward the criminal justice system may stem from the federal charges he and his wife are facing related to campaign finance violations. Hunter is accused of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars that had been donated to his campaign in order to live a lavish lifestyle. He allegedly used campaign funds to take family trips to Hawaii and Europe, attend the theater, and even to fly the family's pet rabbit across the country.
Hunter is out on parole and awaiting trial — and still serving in Congress.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.