California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter said that as an artillery officer, his unit “killed probably hundreds of civilians” during his 2004 tour in Fallujah, Iraq.
During a Barstool Sports interview for a podcast that was released on Monday, Hunter defended his support of Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL facing a premeditated murder charge in the stabbing death of an injured person in Iraq. President Donald Trump is considering pardoning Gallagher.
“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,” Hunter said. “Probably killed women and children, if there were any left in the city when we invaded. So do I get judged, too?”
Bob Muth, a former Marine and current law professor at the University of San Diego, said recent comments made by Congressman Duncan Hunter about him and a lot of his military peers posing with dead bodies while in combat are not true. And they set a dangerous precedent for the United States military. “The Congressman’s saying lots of his peers did it, I don’t think that’s true,” Muth said. “I think he’s just trying to minimize what’s taken place.”
Hunter’s comments are in defense of Edward Gallagher. The former Navy SEAL has been accused of posing for photos with dead enemy combatants. He’s also accused of killing an injured Islamic State fighter in custody and shooting indiscriminately at Iraqi civilians. Gallagher is facing trial in San Diego for the commission of war crimes. He has pleaded not guilty.
Hunter and his wife are awaiting trial on federal charges of illegally using more than $250,000 in campaign contributions for personal living expenses. His next court date is July 29th. Despite his high-profile indictment, Hunter won reelection last year by a 3-point margin.