There is a fun story at Patterico’s site today, outlining some of the behavior of Navy Seal Edward Gallagher, whom Donald Trump recently pardoned in connection with some extracurricular activities he engaged in during his time in Iraq. If you have not been following the story, as I have not, then I will not ruin your amusement with spoilers, but let’s just say some of the highlights involve a hunting knife thrust into the neck of an enemy captive under sedation, potshots at civilians from sniper locations, and sending pictures of one’s kills to friends back home.
Trump pardoned the man in spite of all this — or so goes the criticism. I would say, on the contrary, that Trump pardoned the man because of all this. This kind of behavior is Trump’s bread and butter, because he is a cowardly arm-chair thug with grandpa fantasies of being a real, blood-and-guts thug himself.
Trump’s admiration for, and willingness to pardon, this Gallagher fellow is of a piece with his admiration for, and willingness to pardon, Kim Jong-Un, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They are all sociopaths, as is Trump of course, but Trump lacks the courage to actually do the things he fantasizes about doing — remember the quip about “shooting a man on Fifth Avenue”? — whereas those others actually have the guts to go through with it.
So he admires them, and makes excuses for them. A man who not only lacks a conscience (like Trump) but also has the chutzpah to live according to that consciencelessness with bravado and without fear of disapproval and rejection (unlike a cowardly popularity hound) is the ideal man, in Little Boy Orange’s childish imagination.
“MAGA.” “But Hillary.” “He’s been more conservative than I expected.” “He’s earned my vote this time.”
Please stop manufacturing fallacious excuses, and just vote for him already. And have the guts to own it: “I’m voting for a moronic amoralist who has the political principles of a gnat, the conscience of a phone scammer, and the courage of a chinchilla. And I’m fine with that.”