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US Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter was accused yesterday of committing possible war crimes after he admitted that he had probably killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children, in Fallujah in 2004.
Speaking in a podcast interview last week, Mr Hunter also said he had posed for gruesome photographs with dead bodies while serving as an artillery officer in the US army during the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.
He was defending Eddie Gallagher, a US navy seal charged with premeditated murder for stabbing a wounded 15-year-old boy to death.
“I was an artillery officer and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians, if not scores, if not hundreds of civilians,” Mr Hunter said on the Barstool podcast last Monday.
“Probably killed women and children, if there were any left in the city when we invaded. So do I get judged, too?”
US President Donald Trump seeks to pardon Mr Gallagher for his crimes, which also include posing for photographs with corpses and firing at civilians from a sniper’s position.
It is claimed that the boy killed by Mr Gallagher as he lay wounded on the ground was an Isis fighter.
Mr Hunter appeared to justify the killing in the podcast interview, saying that the victim “might have been killed in a way that you don’t personally agree with, because you say it’s against the laws of war.
“As opposed to artillery killing civilians, women and children, because it’s kind of indiscriminate in a way,” he added. “It’s not a sniper weapon, right. Which is worse?”
He goes on to say: “I frankly don’t care if he [the boy] was killed. I just don’t care,” adding that, “even if everything that the prosecutors say is true in this case, then, you know, Eddie Gallagher should still be given a break, I think.”
Professor Joyce Alene of the University of Alabama law school said yesterday that Mr Hunter’s comments were “deeply disturbing.”
She added: “It’s clear that Hunter doesn’t believe in the rule of law or much else that’s decent and part of America’s traditions. Does he also approve of the My Lai massacre?”
It is not the first time Mr Hunter has complained about the treatment of war crimes suspects.
In February, he appeared on right-wing television news programme Fox and Friends to defend US army Major Matthew Golsteyn, who is accused of killing an Iraqi prisoner and burning his body.
“What I think we have here is what the US government would call ‘compassionate combat’,” he said.
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