US Rep. Duncan Hunter of California acknowledged taking a photo with a dead combatant.
This took action during his time as a Marine. He defended a Navy SEAL charged with multiple war crimes, including killing a teenage fighter.
The Republican congressman, who was re-elected last November as he faces corruption charges, made the comments during a town hall Saturday in his San Diego-area district, the Union-Tribune reported.
Hunter’s comments were made as he defended Navy SEAL, Chief Edward Gallagher. Edward Gallagher is charged with stabbing to death a teenage Islamic State fighter. The teen was under his care in Iraq in 2017 and then holding his reenlistment ceremony with the body.
“Eddie did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too — taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,”
Hunter told a crowd, before noting that he did not share the images he captured to social media.
“But a lot of my peers… have done the exact same thing,” he added.
Prosecutors said the Navy SEAL chief texted a photograph of himself next to the dead fighter and wrote he “got him with my hunting knife.” He’s also accused of shooting two civilians in Iraq and opening fire on crowds.
Hunter said he also posed for a photo next to a dead combatant but said he did not text it or post it to social media. The congressman said,
“a lot of us have done the exact same thing,” referring to fellow service members in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hunter calls the military justice system “corrupt.” He says it is run by lawyers and bureaucrats intent on pursuing “warfighters.”
Gallagher’s court-martial is beginning this week at Naval Base San Diego. Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
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