For the families of former LT Clint Lorrance and Major Matthew Golsteyn, the nightmare is over and now they can try to piece together the rest of their lives.

President Trump granted yesterday full pardons to both of these former Army soldiers. The President also ordered the Navy to restore the rank of Chief Petty Officer to Navy SEAL Eddie R. Gallagher, who faced a court-martial and was cleared of murder, but had been demoted.

Lorrance was convicted of the second-degree murder of two Afghans, who he said, were preparing to attack his unit. Golsteyn, a former highly decorated Green Beret, was facing charges of murdering an Afghan bomb maker. 

The President’s decision was met with some consternation from some senior Pentagon officials including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who advised the President against making this decision because it could potentially damage the integrity of the military judicial system, the ability of military leaders to ensure good order and discipline, and the confidence of U.S. allies and partners who host U.S. troops.

The President went ahead with it anyway and I, for one, approve his decision, particularly in the case of Lorrance that I’ll get to below. 

The White House released a statement where it said, “The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted,” the statement read. 

“For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country. These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, ‘when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight.’ “

In the White House statement, the President also addressed the concerns about the military justice system that the Pentagon had made: specifically, that the President’s decision may undermine the military justice system. “The United States military justice system helps ensure good order and discipline for our millions of uniformed military members and holds to account those who violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Due in part to this system, we have the most disciplined, most effective, most respected, and most feared fighting force in the world.”