Eddie Gallagher

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The case of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher, which ultimately resulted in the firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, should have been handled differently. The prosecution mishandled the case, President Donald Trump intervened prematurely, and the Navy secretary got caught between trying to do the right thing, an unorthodox president, and keeping the defense secretary in the loop.

Eddie Gallagher

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Trump’s indifference, and even hostility, toward military law in the Gallagher case makes it less likely that, in the future, service members will come forward when they witness illicit acts in war. This matters because a defining aspect of the subculture of U.S. special operations forces is its limited oversight, at least compared with regular combat forces. Maintaining respect for U.S. military law within this tight-knit setting demands that operators regulate themselves.

Resigned

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In making a decision so quickly without completing an investigation into the leak, Modly revealed there were other concerns on his mind, particularly the views of President Trump. In November, Trump clashed with Navy leaders over his support of disgraced Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, a dispute that ultimately led to former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer’s departure and Modly’s elevation. When asked about Crozier’s letter over the weekend, Trump said, “I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter. This isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear-powered.”