Rep. Duncan Hunter says his unit ‘killed probably hundreds of civilians’ in Iraq

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., listens to testimony during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 7, 2017.


By NICHOLAS WU | USA Today | Published: June 3, 2019

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is currently awaiting trial for misusing over $250,000 of federal campaign funds for personal use. But this hasn’t stopped him from stirring the pot further.

In an interview with Barstool Sports’ Zero Blog Thirty podcast, Hunter said while serving as a Marine field artillery officer in Iraq, his unit had “killed probably hundreds of civilians, if not scores, if not hundreds of civilians” and “probably women and children.”

Hunter’s comments came in response to a question about his support for Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was accused of using a knife to kill a teenage Islamic State prisoner in Iraq and posing for a picture with the body, and of other killings of civilians.

On the podcast, Hunter said that he “frankly [doesn’t] care” if the ISIS fighter was killed, and that “even if everything the prosecutors say is true in this case, then Eddie Gallagher should still be given a break, I think.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that during a May 25 town hall, Hunter also admitted to posing with a body of an enemy combatant, saying, “a lot of us have done the exact same thing.”

Recent reports suggested that Trump might pardon Gallagher and other men accused of war crimes. Gallagher, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, has become a cause célèbre among conservative lawmakers. In an op-ed in USA Today, Hunter said that Gallagher “cannot expect to receive even a semblance of a fair trial,” calling for Trump to pardon Gallagher.

In its annual report on civilian casualties associated with U.S. military operations, the Department of Defense explains that civilian casualties are a “tragic and unavoidable part of war,” but “no force in history has been more committed to limiting harm to civilians than the U.S. military.”

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