Nov 25 2019

Not the Hero Intially Reported

So the early stories on Navy Secretary Richard Spencer’s firing by Defense Secretary Mark Esper painted the situation as Spencer courageously standing on principle to strip a convicted and confessed (that’s what a pardon is folks, a confession and clemency) War Criminal of the honor of belonging, or ever claiming to have belonged to, an elite and highly respected Military Force- the SEALs (that’s what stripping your Trident means). Think Branded, torn epaulets, broken sword, and all- only Edward Gallagher is not a secretly honorable man on an undercover mission…

He’s a War Criminal.

At least that was Richard Spencer’s public position, he was down the line behind the actual Navy brass in their disciplinary actions and would resign rather than let Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio interfere. The implication from the initial reaction was his sudden and forced resignation a dastardly attempt by the Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio through Mark Esper to preempt Spencer (various theories about how and in what Universe that would be a good idea, none of them very convincing but… covfefe).

Well, maybe not so much.

Mark Esper’s position is that while Spencer was making his public commitments and, just incidentally, assuring him the same thing privately and officially, instead Spencer went to Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio and offered him no removal from the force (Branded) and that he would be allowed to retire (which is immanent) as a SEAL. Compare and contrast with McCabe.

Esper says that since Spencer flat out lied to him he had no choice but to ask for his resignation.

Which version do you choose and why? Five hundred words on my desk tomorrow.

Navy secretary forced out by Pentagon chief over handling of Navy SEAL’s war crimes case
By Ashley Parker and Dan Lamothe, Washington Post
November 24, 2019

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper asked for the resignation of Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer on Sunday after losing confidence in him over his handling of the case of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes in Iraq, the Pentagon said.

Spencer’s ouster was another dramatic turn in the story of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who was accused of committing war crimes during a 2017 deployment. Gallagher was acquitted of murder but convicted in July of posing with the corpse of an Islamic State prisoner.

Esper said that Spencer privately proposed to White House officials that he would ensure that Gallagher retired as a Navy SEAL, with his Trident insignia, if they did not interfere with a review board convened to determine his fitness to stay in the elite force.

Spencer’s proposal to the White House — which he did not share with Esper during several conversations about the matter — contradicted his own public position on the case, chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

Esper said in the statement that he was “deeply troubled by this conduct.”

“Unfortunately, as a result I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position,” Esper said. “I wish Richard well.”

A senior defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the Pentagon verified with several sources that Spencer made the private offer to the White House.

Esper and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, learned of Spencer’s private offer to the White House when they spoke with Trump on Friday, Hoffman said.

Spencer’s proposal came after Trump intervened in the cases of Gallagher and two soldiers on Nov. 15. Countering Pentagon recommendations, the president issued pardons to Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who faced a murder trial next year, and former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who was convicted in 2013 in the murder of two unarmed men in Afghanistan.

Trump also reinstated Gallagher’s rank after the SEAL was demoted as punishment for posing for the photograph with the corpse.

After Trump’s intervention in the case, Rear Adm. Collin Green, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, moved to convene review boards for him and three other Navy SEALs to determine whether they should be ejected from the force.

That prompted speculation that Spencer might resign or be fired for standing up to Trump, and angry reactions from Gallagher and advocates for him.

I have other talents for summarizing than Proust.