Pete Hegseth, the guy who accused Rep. James Clyburn (Black– SC) of endangering the rule of law, was ecstatic over Donald Trump’s latest round of pardons for war criminals, in this case four Blackwater security contractors convicted of slaughtering 14 unarmed Iraqi citizens.
The Washington Post explains what happened in 2007, as part of the U.S. Operation Iraqi Freedom:
Investigators for the military and the FBI later described the shootings, in which the contractors unleashed a blaze of gunfire and grenade explosions in a busy Baghdad square, as unprovoked and unjustified. Federal prosecutors said that many of the victims, including women and children, some with their hands in the air, “were shot inside of civilian vehicles while attempting to flee.”
But Hegseth, who has claimed that the U.S. “liberated” Iraq, thinks the murderers were the real victims. After successfully lobbying Trump for pardons for a previous batch of war criminals, Hegseth was named by the White House as a supporter of this one.
On Fox & Friends this morning, Hegseth made a very public demonstration of his appreciation, as his cohosts nodded in agreement:
HEGSETH: God bless the president for having the courage, which a lot of other presidents wouldn’t do, to pardon those men.
Yet, in August, during an interview about other subjects, Hegseth ambushed Clyburn with the obvious intent of making him look like he supports lawlessness.
HEGSETH: Congressman, as you know, over the last couple of months, we’ve seen riots in Portland. Thankfully, the last couple nights, the state police there have effectively been able to help and protect the federal courthouse. Before that, President Trump made it clear we’re gonna send federal agents, law enforcement officers there, to protect federal property as necessary.
Recently, you made comments comparing those federal officers to the Gestapo. Why would you make such a comparison, when what they’re doing is their job, to protect federal property? Is that rhetoric not unhelpful as we’re trying to make sure the streets are safe in a place like Portland?
Apparently, serial adulterer Pete Hegseth’s commitment to law and order is as deep as his commitment to family values.
You can watch Hegseth slobber over the pardoning of war criminals below, from the December 23, 2020 Fox & Friends, via CNN's Brian Stelter. Underneath, from MSNBC's December 22, 2020 Last Word, you can watch former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner discuss how the conviction of the Blackwater defendants raised U.S. standing abroad. I can only imagine how far low it has sunk under Trump.
Fox's Pete Hegseth championed pardons for the Blackwater contractors. The WH announcement specifically cited his support. Hegseth mentioned it this morning: "God bless the president for having the courage -- which a lot of other presidents wouldn't do -- to pardon those men." pic.twitter.com/8r3l1V4wPx— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 23, 2020
There are multiple bad choices in these pardons – the Blackwater murderers being some of the worst. There’s also his choice to spare three completely corrupt Republican congressmen who were caught flat-out committing graft. There’s his choice to let Jared Kushner’s dad off the hook for some truly vicious behavior, including blackmail. There are the expected pardons for Trump’s lackeys in the campaign chicanery, like Manafort, Papadopoulos, Flynn and now a full pardon for Stone. With all of these cases, it’s probably not clear to the Pence White House that they just admitted the guilt of these felons – because you can’t pardon someone for a crime if they didn’t commit the crime.
The two pardons that jumped to my attention in these piles, however, are the ones thrown to Ramos & Compean. Those are the two thugs who used to work for the US Border Patrol in Texas. In 2006, they got into a pursuit situation where they were chasing a drug smuggler near the border in El Paso. They didn’t know for certain he was a smuggler or if he was a citizen or not. They just knew he was acting fishy. At some point, the smuggler jumped out of his van and ran on foot toward the border. Compean ran after him and moved in to arrest him. The smuggler tried to surrender at this point, but Compean decided this would be a good time to hit the smuggler with his shotgun. The smuggler then ran away again. Compean emptied his pistol shooting at the suspect and missed every time. Ramos then ran up and shot the suspect in the back. The suspect fell down, and then limped over the border into Mexico, where he was picked up by a passing car. Ramos & Compean never radioed for help or said that they were dealing with an armed suspect. Instead, they gathered their shell casings and threw them down a storm drain. A couple of months later, they were arrested for attempted murder and at that time, they began selling a lie that the smuggler was armed and about to fire a weapon at them. This went to trial and they both went to prison. At which point Right Wing media went nuts on the subject and Sara Carter was able to take cherry-picked bits of the story and peddle it around to establish herself as a “serious Right Wing journalist”. Fox News personalities and AM radio hosts went on and on about how these brave men were being railroaded and how the smuggler deserved to be shot. (Because angry Right Wingers really wanted to send the message that anyone coming over the border better be prepared to die) When W was leaving office in disgrace in early 2009, the propagandists demanded that he pardon these thugs. W commuted their sentences instead. This allowed them to come home from prison but with their felony records. What Pence’s childish spokesman just did was expunge their records and send a message that it’s okay to just shoot people on sight at the border.