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Welcome home, heroes? Marine investigated for appearing at Trump rally, dead grunt’s family lectured on face masks

Welcome home, heroes? Marine investigated for appearing at Trump rally, dead grunt’s family lectured on face masks
A US Marine who claimed to have saved a baby at Kabul airport is under investigation for appearing on stage with Donald Trump, while a DC reporter tattled on a dead marine’s family for going unmasked. A hero’s return indeed.

Lance Cpl. Hunter Clark was one of nearly 6,000 troops sent to Kabul in August to oversee the US’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. A soldier from his unit was seen on camera lifting a baby to safety over the razor-wire fence surrounding the city’s airport, where the baby later received medical treatment.

Marine Corps spokesman Major James Stenger called the snap decision to rescue the infant “a true example of the professionalism of the Marines.” Last week, former president Donald Trump invited the lance corporal, who wore plain clothes, on stage at one of his campaign-style ‘Save America’ rallies in Georgia.

Although he did not specify whether he was involved in that particular episode, Clark spoke briefly on how rescuing “the baby” was “one of the greatest things I’ve ever done in my entire life,” before shaking hands with Trump and departing. It remains unclear whether he was one of the other Marines seen in that footage or if he pulled a different child over the wall in a similar incident.

Regardless, he’s now under investigation by his superiors for his few seconds in the spotlight.

“The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has initiated a command investigation regarding LCpl Hunter Clark’s attendance at the event last weekend to determine if any [Pentagon] policies were violated,” Captain Kelton J Cochran, a spokesman for Clark’s unit, stated on Thursday.

Cochran also added in comments to the media that Clark was not the Marine identified in the “viral photo that began circulating around August 20, 2021.” But he is apparently part of the same USMC task force as the soldier in that footage.

Pentagon policy forbids active-duty troops from “speak[ing] before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause,” but whether Clark violated this policy is difficult to predict. While Trump’s rallies are partisan affairs and feature scathing critiques of the Biden administration and liberal culture, the former president is not currently seeking office, and Clark did not promote any candidates or causes while on stage.

Conservatives and Trump supporters immediately accused Clark’s superiors of running a politically-motivated “witch hunt” against him.

Clark’s investigation may well be procedural and swiftly resolved. However, he is not the only member of the US military facing what increasingly looks like ideological punishment. After the pro-Trump riot on Capitol Hill in January, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a stand-down order so commanding officers could investigate supposed ‘extremism” within the military’s ranks. With ‘extremism’ broadly defined by the Biden administration at the time as fueling the Capitol riot, the order was seen by conservatives as an initial effort to purge the ranks of Trump supporters.

As the investigation against Clark was announced, the family of Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, who was killed by a suicide bomber outside Kabul airport last month (and was also pictured cradling an Afghan infant), toured the House of Representatives. Some of the group went without face masks despite their wearing being mandatory in federal buildings, and were called out on this by Politico reporter Heather Caygle.

When furious commenters suggested that Gee’s family should get a pass, Caygle doubled down, arguing that the family’s sacrifice shouldn’t “exempt them from wearing a mask.”

While the military investigates one of its own, whom many would consider a hero, and partisan reporters hector the families of the fallen, two men who have escaped punishment are Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Despite failing to predict the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, overseeing a tactically flawed withdrawal, admitting to being “unable” to assess an enemy’s will to fight, and in Milley’s case consorting with Chinese military leadership behind his own commander-in-chief’s back, both men still have their jobs and the “complete confidence” of President Joe Biden.

Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, who publicly called for “accountability” from Austin and Milley and their ilk after the Afghan withdrawal, however, remains behind bars.  

Also on rt.com Resigning over Afghanistan is too ‘political’ for Gen. Milley, who worked just fine with CIA, NSA & Democrats to resist Trump

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