One of the most important responsibilities a president has is to be Commander in Chief of our armed forces. Establishing discipline and a chain of command is key to military effectiveness. Presidents should respect that and stay out of issues that should be resolved well down the chain. The Obama administration involved itself so extensively in rules of engagement that it was often very difficult for the military to achieve their mission.
If anything, President Trump has been too hands-off. Recently he intervened in a situation in which should have stayed away. Three men had been charged with murdering prisoners. One had been convicted and one was awaiting trial. The third, Edward Gallagher, had been found not guilty but was convicted of posing with the prisoner’s corpse. He was given a reduction in rank and an investigation was being held to determine if he would remain a SEAL.
The president pardoned all three men. He then ordered that the Navy stop the investigation and Gallagher’s rank be restored. I certainly have no problem with the pardons. However, a president should not be the person to decide whether or not a sailor should be a CPO or a SEAL.
Let’s hope that this was a one-time occurrence. Promotions should be based on merit, not knowing someone who has the president’s ear.