You’re not alone if you missed this news last week. It was hiding on Page 15 of the New York Times and Page 4 of the Seattle Times – far less newsworthy than the frenzied presidential impeachment inquiry – but, standing alone, it deserved Page 1 treatment. Three American military officers charged with and/or convicted of murder by military courts were given full pardons by President Trump.
“Unprecedented” is a term often applied to this Commander-in-Chief’s actions and commuting the sentences of US servicemen convicted of war crimes by a jury of their military peers definitely meets that standard. This president, who never served in the military and is not a lawyer, feels he knows better than the courts. His justification for the pardons was “War is chaos” – suggesting a different standard should apply, even though the Uniform Code of Military Justice explicitly covers the situation.