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Murdering unarmed people doesn't make someone "a great fighter."

In one day last week, Donald Trump reversed decades of global moral order established after the horrors of World War II with his reckless decision to pardon three soldiers convicted of war crimes.

  • The first was a soldier charged with murder and convicted for posing with the corpse of an enemy combatant.
  • The second was convicted after ambushing and murdering an unarmed man.
  • The third ordered his platoon to open fire on three unarmed men, and then went to great lengths to cover up the act during investigation.

These aren't some gray area, slap-on-the-wrist charges; they strike at the very heart of our nation's commitment to human rights and dignity.

Our military has been embraced and trusted on the world stage because other nations have long known our military abides by a strict code of justice, and our leadership has long held those who violate that code accountable.

And make no mistake: the rest of the world is watching. This week, the spokesperson for the United Nations noted that these pardons may violate international humanitarian law.

Military brass advised the president that pardoning war criminals set a dangerous precedent, endangered our troops, and disrespected our veterans. But Trump overruled them, preferring instead his scorched-earth, all’s-fair-in-war vision of combat, in which “we teach [our soldiers] how to be great fighters, and then when they fight sometimes they get really treated very unfairly.”

It’s been clear for some time that Trump doesn’t respect the rule of law. His actions in this case suggest that he doesn’t understand the purpose of law, either.

But our nation does, as do the soldiers who nobly serve to defend it. And my colleagues and I will continue to do everything in our power to hold him – and war criminals from any country – accountable for their actions.

Ron

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Posted on November 22, 2019.

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Ron Wyden & Jeff Merkley at a health care rallyRon Wyden is a champion for our progressive values -- standing up for consumers and the middle class, fighting for digital privacy and an open internet, protecting our planet and Oregon's special places, and always insisting on human rights and equality for all.

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