President Donald Trump is reportedly considering pardons for some armed forces members and contractors who have been tried by the judiciary and found guilty of committing war crimes. Retired four-star General Barry McCaffrey is urging the president to “not take this action.”
In the views of General McCaffrey, doing so will signal to foreign fighters that the United States would accept the murder or maltreatment of American soldiers should they be captured. Further, it would dishonor and damage the values of the U.S. armed forces, in McCaffrey’s view.
McCaffrey is one of the most decorated generals in the United States. He has been awarded three Purple Hearts, two Distinguished Service Crosses, and two Silver Stars. He served in the armed forces for 32 years, and as an infantry officer, he was deployed on multiple combat tours.
McCaffrey served in the Vietnam War and later commanded the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division during the first Gulf War. Certainly, his opinion carries a lot of weight in military circles. And now, McCaffrey is arguing that armed forces must be subject to the rule of law.
Will President Trump listen? It’s being reported that the president is considering pardoning at least two or three Americans who have been accused of war crimes. No other president has ever offered such pardons as doing so could send a strong message to the global community that the United States is willing to disregard the Geneva Conventions.
Already, the backlash against such pardons has been strong but President Trump has proven willing to buck pressure and to ignore his advisers and outside council.