Republican says his unit 'probably killed hundreds' of Iraqi civilians
California Republican Duncan Hunter has claimed his military unit "killed probably hundreds of civilians" in Iraq, his latest eyebrow-raising comment since being charged last year with spending campaign funds on personal expenses.
Mr Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran, made the remark while renewing his call for clemency for Edward Gallagher, a Navy Seal chief who is accused of killing an Isil prisoner under his care in 2017.
"I frankly don't care if he was killed. I just don't care," Mr Hunter said of the slain prisoner in an interview on 'Zero Blog Thirty', a military-themed podcast produced by Barstool Sports.
"Even if everything that the prosecutors say is true in this case, then, you know, Eddie Gallagher should still be given a break," he added.
One of the podcast's hosts, Kate Mannion, pushed back, arguing that "it's such a slippery slope" and that Mr Gallagher's alleged killing of the prisoner "goes against our honour so egregiously".
"Well, then, how do you judge me?" Mr Hunter replied. "So, I was an artillery officer, and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians.
"Probably killed women and children, if there were any left in the city when we invaded.
"So do I get judged, too?"
The interview was published last week and gained broader notice after CNN and 'USA Today' reported on Mr Hunter's comments.
Prosecutors say Mr Gallagher stabbed an injured Isil prisoner and then posed with the teenage militant's corpse. They also accuse Mr Gallagher of shooting unarmed civilians. Mr Gallagher, whose trial is due to begin on Monday, has pleaded not guilty.
Mr Hunter has previously defended Mr Gallagher.
He wrote a 'USA Today' opinion piece last month, arguing for clemency.
He also told a town hall audience that he had taken a picture of himself with a dead combatant during his US military service. (© Independent News Service)