By Scott Taylor
In the summer of 2017, Canadian Special Forces Operatives were deployed to northern Iraq to act as advisors to Kurdish militia who were battling the evil Daesh (aka ISIS or ISIL) forces. At that juncture in the conflict, Daesh was heavily besieged in the city of Mosul, surrounded by the U.S. led allied ground forces.
Our Canadian soldiers played a very active role in that crucial battle despite the fact that they were officially deployed on a non-combat mission. However one choses to categorize their actions, Canadian snipers did engage and kill Daesh fighters, and on at least one occasion, Canadians successfully destroyed an enemy vehicle with an anti-armour missile.
While the exact nature of Canada’s role in the battle may be disputed, there is no denying that our elite operatives were part of the allied forces that eventually liberated the pile of rubble, which had once been the bustling city of Mosul.
That allied ground force included large contingents of Iraq Shiite militia. As many Middle East analysts had feared, those ill disciplined Shiite militia were motivated more by revenge than anything else, and they committed numerous brutal atrocities against not only Daesh fighters but also many Sunni Arab civilians.
For the record, there were never any allegations of such improprieties leveled against Canadian soldiers. However, the same cannot be said of the U.S. military.
There is presently a court martial in progress at the San Diego Naval Base wherein a highly decorated U.S. Navy SEAL is being tried for numerous charges amounting to a litany of battlefield atrocities.
The individuals who reported Chief Edward Gallagher’s alleged crimes to the military authorities were not a bunch of peace loving hippies who don’t understand the nature of warfare, they were fellow elite U.S. Navy SEALS who were serving alongside the accused in Mosul.
Despite this fact, it still took the U.S. Navy more than a year to bring charges against Gallagher, and his arrest led to a political backlash right up to the White House.
According to his accusers, Gallagher was a bloodthirsty killer who did not discriminate between enemy fighters or unarmed civilians. On one occasion he is alleged to have deliberately shot and killed a teenage girl and on another an elderly unarmed man. Gallagher, despite being a sniper was accused by his comrades of simply taking random shots and indiscriminately spraying rockets and machine gun fire into populated areas with no visible enemy presence.
Evidence tabled at the court martial indicates that Gallagher freely boasted about his propensity to kill – claiming to have averaged three daily kills over 80 days with at least four of these victims being women.
Probably the most horrific allegation against Gallagher was that he stabbed to death an unarmed, wounded, teenage Iraqi prisoner.
Two fellow SEALs testified that upon learning of the Iraqi’s capture, Gallagher had declared “he’s mine” over the radio. When Gallagher arrived on the scene the badly wounded Daesh prisoner was being treated by a medic. Gallagher is said to have stabbed the boy repeatedly with his hunting knife and then posed over the murdered victim for trophy photos.
Despite the fact that witnesses had complained about Gallagher’s actions at the time, a formal investigation was not initiated by the Navy Chain of Command until after the unit returned to the States.
Upon hearing of the allegations against him, Gallagher allegedly threatened to kill his fellow SEALS accusers. This led to additional charges of attempted obstruction of justice and with Gallagher being locked up in the Brig.
That was the case until 30 March when U.S. President Donald Trump personally intervened and ordered that Gallagher be transferred to a “less restrictive confinement.”
On the murder charge of the Daesh prisoner last week, the medic testified that he had in fact sealed off the young Iraqi’s breathing tube. It was he, the medic who killed the prisoner – not Gallagher. No one has refuted the fact that Gallagher stabbed the unarmed victim. The medic freely admitted to being Gallagher’s friend and he testified under an immunity agreement from the prosecutor.
From the perspective of the original Navy prosecutor in this case “Chief Gallagher decided to act like the monster the terrorists accuse us of being. He handed ISIS propaganda manna from heaven. His actions are everything ISIS says we are.”
Nevertheless, should Gallagher still be found guilty, the U.S. Justice Department is reportedly already preparing a possible pardon for Donald Trump’s approval.
The question begs, why?