Home/Rod Dreher/Sadism, Ours And Theirs

Sadism, Ours And Theirs

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, from the tweet of actor Jim Carrey

Not much shocks the conscience these days. This did:


Carrey, the comic actor, delights in the prospect of murdering a Republican politician, and makes funny out of the details of abortion (e.g., vacuuming an unborn child’s skull to pieces). You can imagine what would have happened had a conservative actor (James Woods, say) posted a cartoon of a dead Iraqi child, shot by an American soldier, with the caption, “I think if you’re going to kill a jihadi, it should be done sometime before they get old enough to carry a gun.” That would be the end of that actor. Carrey gets away with it. They always do.

But the theoretical sadistic actor of my story would no doubt be a hero for some on the Right. I say that because President Trump is reportedly considering pardoning an accused war criminal who did exactly what I theorize above. Look:

Stabbing a defenseless teenage captive to death. Picking off a school-age girl and an old man from a sniper’s roost. Indiscriminately spraying neighborhoods with rockets and machine-gun fire.

Navy SEAL commandos from Team 7’s Alpha Platoon said they had seen their highly decorated platoon chief commit shocking acts in Iraq. And they had spoken up, repeatedly. But their frustration grew as months passed and they saw no sign of official action.

Tired of being brushed off, seven members of the platoon called a private meeting with their troop commander in March 2018 at Naval Base Coronado near San Diego. According to a confidential Navy criminal investigation report obtained by The New York Times, they gave him the bloody details and asked for a formal investigation.

But instead of launching an investigation that day, the troop commander and his senior enlisted aide — both longtime comrades of the accused platoon leader, Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher — warned the seven platoon members that speaking out could cost them and others their careers, according to the report.

The clear message, one of the seven told investigators, was “Stop talking about it.”

The platoon members eventually forced the referral of their concerns to authorities outside the SEALs, and Chief Gallagher now faces a court-martial, with his trial set to begin May 28.

But the account of the March 2018 meeting and myriad other details in the 439-page report paint a disturbing picture of a subculture within the SEALs that prized aggression, even when it crossed the line, and that protected wrongdoers.

Please read the whole thing to learn the details of what Gallagher is charged with having done. Gallagher is unquestionably a brave man … but he is also pretty obviously a sadist:

Two SEAL snipers told investigators that one day, from his sniper nest, Chief Gallagher shot a girl in a flower-print hijab who was walking with other girls on the riverbank. One of those snipers said he watched through his scope as she dropped, clutching her stomach, and the other girls dragged her away.

Another day, two other snipers said, the chief shot an unarmed man in a white robe with a wispy white beard. They said the man fell, a red blotch spreading on his back.

Notice it was other SEALs who turned him in.

Gallagher deserves a fair trial. But there are some conservatives who would not care one bit if he were found guilty — they would not want to see him punished.

TAC’s Mark Perry has a good, detailed piece on the case. Excerpts:

The case against Gallagher, a 19-year Navy veteran (14 of them as a SEAL) and father of three, is straightforward and summarized in a three-page charge sheet that details the case against him. While deployed with his unit in Mosul on May 3, a wounded enemy fighter was brought in for treatment. When he was told that the teenager was with ISIS, Gallagher turned to his platoon. “Nobody touch him,” he allegedly instructed. “He’s mine.” At that point, Gallagher took out his knife, stooped over the injured fighter, cut into his pants in an apparent attempt to treat him—then stabbed him in his lower neck and chest, leaving his fellow platoon members stunned. Gallagher then (allegedly) posed for pictures while holding up the corpse’s head and conducted a macabre reenlistment ceremony over him.

Later, according to prosecutors, Gallagher texted a photo of himself next to the corpse to a fellow SEAL with the message: “I got him with my hunting knife.”

Gallagher’s platoon members have told Navy investigators that Gallagher’s actions both before and after the May 3 incident had convinced them that their chief had “gone off the rails,” a senior Navy officer involved in the case said. Several told Navy investigators that Gallagher shot Iraqi civilians with his sniper rifle, bragged about his “kills” (while pledging that he would beat super-sniper Chris Kyle’s “body count”), and, when told that he would be reported for what he’d done, intimidated his accusers and set members of his platoon against them.

The Navy’s case is sobering. During a two-day preliminary hearing held last November, military prosecutors and NCIS investigators presented evidence against Gallagher that included a helmet-cam video of the wounded ISIS fighter, footage of Gallagher’s “reenlistment ceremony,” photographs of Gallagher holding the knife over the corpse, pictures of SEALs posing with the body, and 1,000 pages of documents, interviews, and backup evidence. (The case has been the subject of a series of detailed investigative pieces written by Carl Prine that have appeared in the Navy Times.)

We close our eyes to inhumanity for tribalist reasons. Think of all the pro-abortion liberals who said nothing about Kermit Gosnell, or who rationalized (and do rationalize) the gruesome work of Planned Parenthood. Human life becomes an abstraction. Real war, the kind that gets people (unborn children, innocent Iraqi old men and children) killed, becomes nothing but an extension of the culture war. Ha ha! Don’t you wish someone had sucked the skull of Alabama’s governor dry before she was born? 


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

leave a comment

Latest Articles