Background Briefing: May 27, 2019


Will Trump Pardon American War Criminals?

We begin on this Memorial Day with the concerns among the serving military and veterans groups that President Trump will pardon American war criminals who have been turned in by their fellow soldiers because Trump is influenced by Fox News hosts who are chicken hawks peddling macho military fantasies that real men murder defenseless non-combatants. Furthermore our “bone spur” president, who avoided serving in Vietnam by having his father pay a doctor to give his son a phony medical discharge, for reasons that are mystifying, is being given a free pass by Republicans who piled on criticism of Bill Clinton about the way he avoided serving in Vietnam as did liberal critics of George W. Bush who questioned how the son of a prominent politician ended up in the Texas Air National Guard.  A highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts, Dr. Phillip Butler, who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1965 where he spent 8 years as a prisoner of war, joins us to express his disgust at the president’s apparent intentions to pardon war criminals after have already pardoned Lieutenant Behenna who was found guilty of murdering an Iraqi prisoner. We discuss the possibility that Trump will also pardon employees of Blackwater, a mercenary army founded by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s brother Erik Prince, who were convicted for the 2007 killing of 14 Iraqi citizens in what became known as the Nisour Square massacre.


The Release of the Unrepentant “American Taliban” From Prison

Then we speak with Robert Young Pelton, an author, filmmaker, journalist and explorer who has had a first-hand perspective on the war on terror from direct contact with the world’s most infamous jihadi, rebel and insurgent groups. The author of “Come Back Alive” and “License to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror”, he joins us to discuss the release of the unrepentant so-called “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh from prison and describe the scene that he witnessed when Lindh was captured in Afghanistan in November 2001 where a CIA operative was also killed by Lindh’s fellow prisoners. It turns out that branding Lindh as a Taliban is erroneous since as Lindh told Robert Yong Pelton at the time of his capture, that he trained at a terrorist training camp created by Osama Bin Laden and was a member of Al Qaeda, not a Taliban fighter.