Gallagher, good. Crozier, bad. Got it.

Donald Trump, our draft-dodging Commander-in-Chief, apparently doesn’t just pardon war criminals. It would seem that he also stands by as legitimate heroes are driven out of their positions within the United States armed forces. And, when I say “stands by,” that’s the most generous interpretation of his role in the recent firing of Captain Brett Crozier, skipper of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. It very well could be that it was Trump’s decision to force Captain Crozier from his position aboard the Theodore Roosevelt. As of right now, though, we just don’t know how it all went down… Here’s what we do know.

On March 30, Captain Brett Crozier sent a letter up the chain of command, to about 25 people, requesting that immediate action be taken to protect the men and women under his command from an “ongoing and accelerating” COVID-19 outbreak aboard the Theodore Roosevelt.

The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed onboard the aircraft carrier on March 24, and Crozier, since then, had been seeking permission to remove the sick from the ship, where the extremely tight quarters were accelerating the spread of the deadly disease. [I believe he’d been asking to transfer those with COVID-19 to a hospital in Guam.] Well, by March 30, the number of inflicted crew members had already risen to 155. And, as he still hadn’t received authorization to transfer these members of his crew, Crozier sent a letter further up the chain of command. In that letter, Crozier wrote, “Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.” And we know this because the letter, in which Crozier demanded “decisive action,” was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle… at which point all kids of shit hit the fan.

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” Crozier wrote in the letter. “If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”

Well, this apparently didn’t sit well with either the acting Secretary of the Navy, or Donald Trump. Crozier was fired on April 2. Thomas Modly, the acting Navy secretary — who, by the way, was apparently fine with Trump’s pardoning of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher — said that he fired Crozier because the coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship had “overwhelmed his ability to act professionally.” In sending the letter to some 20 or 30 people in the chain of command, Modly said, Crozier “did not take care to ensure that it couldn’t be leaked.” And that, Modly said, was “part of his responsibility.” Trump, when asked what he thought about the firing by members of the press, said that the Crozier’s letter “looked terrible,” and was “not appropriate.” He also said that he agreed “100%” with the decision to fire Crozier.

Again, we don’t know if Trump gave word to Modly to fire Crozier. All we know, as of right now, is that the president was supportive of the decision. There is reason to think, however, that Modly was doing the work of the Trump, who clearly didn’t like the narrative in the press that his administration’s chaotic response to COVID-19 had put U.S. military members in harms way. We know, for instance, that Admiral Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, had argued against the firing of Crozier, suggesting instead that they allow an investigation to take place in accordance with Navy regulation. Modly, however, a Trump appointee, overruled him for some reason, arguing that Crozier had cracked under pressure. [There will clearly be a court case over this, and I suspect that, when all the facts come out, we’ll learn that it was Modly who was responsible for not acting more quickly to ensure the safety of the Theodore Roosevelt’s crew.]

The Navy personnel on the Theodore Roosevelt, for what it’s worth, apparently had a different perspective on what transpired. Here they can be heard cheering their Captain as he left the ship for the last time, after receiving word of his termination.

Nearly 3,000 sailers would be removed from the Theodore Roosevelt on April 3rd, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak that Captain Crozier had been sounding the alarm about. A few days later, it would be announced that Crozier himself had been among those infected.

Modly, as you may have heard yesterday, visited the Theodore Roosevelt this past Sunday to talk with the crew. Here’s the audio that was leaked yesterday. I’d encourage you to listed through the two-minute mark, where Modly tells the crew that their former commanding officer — the guy who sacrificed his promising career to protect them — was either “too naive, or too stupid, to be the commanding officer of a ship like this.” As you can hear in the audio, it doesn’t exactly go over well. [One sailor can be heard saying, “What the fuck?”, and there’s a whole lot of grumbling.] Modly then goes on to call Crozier’s letter a “betrayal,” and suggest that he may have even leaked the letter to the press himself. [“The alternative is that he did it on purpose,” Modly can be heard saying on the tape. “And that’s a serious violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which you are all familiar with.”]

So, to sum up, Modly’s contention is that Crozier had to be fired because it was “part of his responsibility” to “ensure that (what he wrote) couldn’t be leaked.” And we know this because Modly didn’t ensure that his own comments couldn’t be leaked. Ironic, right?

Oh, and since I started writing this post last night, Modly has stepped down at Acting Secretary of the Navy. One just wonders how others who supported Modly though this, like Secretary of Defense Thomas Esper, who said that Modly had “laid out very reasonably and very deliberately the reasons” for firing Crozier, might be feeling now.

Speaking of Navy secretaries leaving office, it’s worth remembering why Modly’s predecessor, Richard Spencer, was forced out less than five months ago, in the wake of President Trump’s decision to pardon Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, a man who, according to members of his own platoon in Iraq, shot civilians and stabbed a wounded, sedated prisoner. Spencer, at the time, wrote to Trump, telling him, “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” And, in response, Trump asked for his resignation, and moved up Modly, who apparently didn’t care so much that Gallagher’s fellow SEALs saw him as “freaking evil.” And now Modly’s name is on the list of those who sacrificed their dignity to serve Donald Trump.

And, yes, I find it pretty disgusting that Modly invoked the Uniform Code of Military Justice when it came to justifying the firing of Crozier, but didn’t say a peep about the code when Donald Trump stepped in to reverse the demotion of Gallagher and end administrative proceedings against him. Modly was put in Spencer’s position because he was loyal to Trump over the U.S. Navy, and I have little doubt that, when the truth comes out about Crozier’s dismissal, we’ll see that it was done primarily to appease Donald Trump.

One last thing. Here’s what the sleeping quarters look like on the Theodore Roosevelt. And this is why the virus spread so quickly.

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  1. Bob
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Trump should held personally charged with negligent homicide for the death of John Prine

  2. Cassandra
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    What kind of monster would keep thousands of sailors trapped on a ship in close quarters like that when they know that the virus is on the ship? Trump. It takes a special kind of awful to support a guy like that.

  3. Kit
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Crozier made Trump look bad. Gallagher praised him. That’s the whole story.

  4. iRobert
    Posted April 7, 2020 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m just really hung up on the astonishing fact that anybody can’t tell how dumb and emotionally messed up Trump is.

    I’m not even sure that it’s even the actual situation. It is still unclear to me whether or not people are genuinely that bizarrely blind or if they’re making the conscious decision to pretend like they don’t see it.

    They also seem committed to keeping the answer from being discovered through any sort of inquiry. It’s all so very odd and really pretty disturbing.

  5. John Brown
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Crozier is a leader. Agent Orange is a traitor. If this isn’t super clear cut, then you are also a traitor and should be aware you are seen as such by the legitimate citizens around you.

  6. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Aloha, mew article on Trump ignoring the “intelligence” on the virus as early as late November.

    I wonder how our intelligence community using satellites was able to determine with only a few known cases that a potential epidemic was starting in China. I mean it took the Chinese at least to late December to figure out they had a new virus.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    As of right now, 230 sailors stationed on the Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    An investigation is starting in the house.

    Kyle Griffin: “A House subcommittee is pressing the Pentagon for “any and all documents and communications” between top military leadership and Brett Crozier by next week.”

  9. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted April 8, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    My friend Mattis reports
    In Sweden, Corina hits into decades of neoliberal undermining of universal healthcare. They allowed private entrepreneurs to pray on people’s need for medicine and health. They have neither sufficient tests nor respiratos or emergency beds. So, folks here are angry and demand our healthcare back. In Stockholm, private firms are temporary back under public control. One sector really privatized is elderly care, you should see there adds for silver homes, masterly PR but horror reality with underpayed underclass staff in insufficient numbers. That’s why our elders die in high numbers. True face of capitalism.

  10. Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    In addition to the antibody study they are conducting, Stanford is doing a symptom based study. The more participants, the better! You can click on this link to join

  11. Anonymous
    Posted April 10, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    416 sailors from the ship have now tested positive.

  12. Kit
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    One of the sailors has died.

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