UT Commentary: What Duncan Hunter’s support of Eddie Gallagher Reveals About his Character

Congressman Duncan Hunter Undesignated 1 Comment


Congressman’s support of SEAL immediate and unwavering


OCT. 24, 2019 4:45 PM

Editor’s note: While Eddie Gallagher was acquitted of other serious charges, he was found guilty on one count of posing with the corpse of the enemy, a charge he never denied.


In the early days of the farce of a war crimes case against my brother, Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher, it was dark. The Navy had locked him up and threw away the key, leaving him to languish in a prison before trial. They denied access to his lawyers, medical care, even food. It was practically guaranteed, given the stacked deck against us, he’d be wrongfully imprisoned for life.

However, now that Eddie is vindicated — acquitted after a lengthy and costly trial — people seem to think it was predestined. They think that the facts spoke for themselves, and we would have prevailed no matter what.

You would be fooling yourself if you think that’s how our system works.

While the truth was always on our side, our experience under the thumb of a corruptible system decisively showed us that truth alone is not enough. It needs to be accompanied by faith, family, grit and strong allies.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, was one of those allies. His support for Eddie was immediate and unwavering because it was rooted in something few other members of Congress have — a knowledge of what it’s like in combat and an ingrained support for our warfighters and their families.

So when Big Navy and the career bureaucrats told us to trust the process, that my brother’s charges and abysmal treatment were all normal, Duncan Hunter refused to accept it. He saw how ridiculous Eddie’s case was, that people who fly a desk or push a pencil were second-guessing how someone with eight combat tours and multiple medals for valor was doing his job down range.

He had seen this kind of political correctness wrongly target our warfighters before, and he knew it was his responsibility to fight.

Congressman Hunter’s advocacy was not only impactful but also incredibly personal. He fought to ensure Ed had access to his legal rights, yet also took the time to visit and speak with him in prison. On weeks where my brother hadn’t seen sunlight, was starving or shivering at night, he and his staff would stop by to make sure Ed could step outside, get a blanket, eat a proper meal and be treated like a human.

Eddie may be a rough, weathered Navy SEAL, but he’s my only brother. Take off the armor and camo and there’s a person under there; a loving father of three and devoted husband. Duncan Hunter helped ensure he never had to leave them again.

Furthermore, Congressman Hunter’s support for Ed is incredibly revealing not only of his own character, but also of the government’s case against him. I know it may seem bad. The media headlines are dramatic and the charges sensational.

But let me remind you it was the same against Ed. During those dark days of his unjust imprisonment, Eddie stood accused of the most ludicrous acts. People believed the headlines, and Eddie’s wife Andrea and I tried desperately to defend him in public but often felt like we were screaming at the wind.

I wish the world saw Eddie’s trial. I wish people could witness, as we did, the accusations crumble, Ed’s accusers exposed for their deceit, and how broken the process really is.

What was billed as a slam dunk case failed epically, instead revealing a cancer within the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The prosecutors, who had peddled the lies against Ed and violated his constitutional rights, are now on the chopping block.

The secretary of the Navy has order a review of the entire Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The leaders who permitted the unjust targeting of Ed and his family are being relieved of their command.

Eddie’s vindication reminds us never to rush to judgment and the vital importance of due process. As David French, a former JAG officer wrote, “Among the blessings of liberty, few are more precious than the right to due process … no nation is truly free without this vital check on the power of the state.”

So, I implore you, before judging Congressman Hunter’s case, heed the man behind the charges, what he has given to this nation and the fighter he is for our warriors.

You may not agree with all of his politics, but remember that he’s declared himself innocent, that all men and women are afforded due process, and the government — and its prosecutorial enforcers — often times get things wrong.


Gallagher lives in Washington, D.C.




Comments 1

  1. 50 years ago, hundreds of civilians were raped and murdered at the hands of US troops in the village of My Lai. In the aftermath, the number of people sent to jail under the UCMJ? Zero. That miscarriage of justice did nothing to erase the stain on the honor of service members involved specifically, or on the US military generally. The horror of the My Lai Massacre is now taught in every US service academy.

    Eddie Gallagher was convicted of a war crime. But his acquittal on the most serious charges makes him a brother not of honorable service members, but of the perpetrators of My Lai. He joins the brotherhood of dishonor, of inhumanity, of shame.

    To the extent that Hunter declares himself a member of that (thankfully small) brotherhood, it is absolutely revelatory of his character.

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