A decorated SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher who was specially selected as a commando has been charged with murder. He is accused of stabbing to death an Islamic State prisoner of war around 15 years of age while the teen was in his custody when the Navy commando was posted in Iraq. He is also accused of shooting unarmed Iraqi civilians, without any reason.

Arrested for murder

Gallagher was arrested on Sept 11 and is presently held without bail. A judge will decide next week whether the 19-year-old SEAL can be released pending trial.

The Navy SEAL will be tried by a judge with a jury consisting of at least one-third enlisted personnel. The purpose is to give the Navy commando a fair hearing and trial.

Gallagher is a highly decorated veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star twice, a testimony to his professional efficacy. The prosecutor has prepared a 1700 page dossier which includes Gallagher's text messages when he tried to intimidate witnesses.

Gallagher is accused of stabbing to death a young ISIS teen fighter as well as firing on unarmed Iraqi civilians. NBR has reported that Gallagher used a hunting knife to kill the ISIS teenager who was captured after Iraqis called in an airstrike on a building.

Defence attorney

Gallagher is represented by attorney Phil Stackhouse who is of the opinion that Gallagher did not shoot anyone and as such he should be given bail.

He claims that Gallagher is being victimised. NBC has reported that the defense plans to call other SEAL commandos to testify as some of them have changed their statements. Navy prosecutors, however, have painted a grim picture of a highly trained fighter going off the rails after repeated deployment in Iraq.

The US armed forces and its allies have been plagued by similar incidents for many decades.

One can recollect that a Lieutenant of the US Army carried out a massacre at Mai Lai during the height of the Vietnam war. He was court-martialed but was given a presidential pardon before his sentence was finished. The UK Navy had recently discharged 9 sailors from one of their submarines for drug abuse.

Serious charges

The charges against Gallagher are serious and if he is convicted he will have to spend his entire life in jail.

The evidence against Gallagher is strong and many SEALs have testified that he would fire without reason into Iraqi crowds. The buck will not end with Gallagher as his platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier is also to be questioned for his role in not restraining the SEAL commando. He may be arraigned later.