Brow Beat

President Trump Must Immediately Pardon Gen. Francis X. Hummel

A closeup of Ed Harris, as General Francis X. Hummel, in a still from the Rock. Harris wears Marine dress whites.
Gen. Francis Hummel. Hollywood Pictures

On Friday, President Donald J. Trump proved once again that he cares more about the American people than the opinions of the chattering classes, especially when the American people in question have been convicted of war crimes. Trump wisely overruled his own military leadership, issuing a pardon to Clint Lorance, who was convicted of ordering troops to murder unarmed civilians and lying about it; issuing a preemptive pardon to Matthew Golsteyn, who was facing charges for an extrajudicial murder he bragged about in a Fox News interview; and restoring Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher’s rank and pay, after a tumultuous trial in which Gallagher was convicted of posing for photos next to the dead body of an ISIS fighter.

It is clear that our country finally has a president who understands America’s warriors, a president who won’t tolerate left-wing bureaucrats second-guessing convicted war criminals, a president whose bravery is only matched by his physical fitness. But if Trump wants to successfully demonstrate to America’s rank-and-file troops that there’s no such thing as going too far, he hasn’t quite gone far enough. Trump must immediately issue a full pardon to Brig. Gen. Francis X. Hummel of the United States Marine Corps.*

Hummel’s story is a typical example of the great lengths left-wingers will go to in order to besmirch a patriotic soldier’s reputation. The general served three tours in Vietnam, saw action in Panama and Grenada, and led Marine Force Reconnaissance operations during Operation Desert Storm, earning three Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, and the Congressional Medal of Honor over the course of a long career spent faithfully defending America’s freedoms. Calling him a “hero” or “man of honor” barely scratches the surface. “Legend” might be a better description.

Unfortunately, in the summer of 1996, a cabal of unelected Clinton administration bureaucrats, intent on transforming the finest fighting force in human history into a half-baked social justice experiment, decided to second-guess Hummel’s battlefield actions from the safety and air-conditioned comfort of their offices. These overpaid, beige-Volvo-driving coastal elites, who were just as out of touch with real American values in 1996 as they are today, didn’t have enough warfighting experience to understand Hummel’s split-second decision to infiltrate a chemical weapons depot, use brutal but nonlethal force to steal 15 missiles loaded with VX nerve gas, infiltrate Alcatraz Island disguised as a tourist, take 81 civilian hostages, and threaten to treat everyone in San Francisco to a free lungful of C11H26NO2PS unless the United States transferred $100 million from the Pentagon’s secret Grand Cayman Red Sea Trading Company account to an account designated by General Hummel within 40 hours. For these brave decisions, Hummel should have become a national hero, or at least been given safe transport to a non-extradition country like he wanted. Instead, the Clinton administration took an overtly punitive approach, going so far as to release a British secret agent from prison in an effort to discredit and smear an American patriot, and also in an effort to prevent that American patriot from releasing nerve gas into the atmosphere above a major American city. The result of this all this meddling from liberal pantywaists? Lives lost, reputations ruined, cable cars exploded, and worse.

The fog of war can be difficult for naïve, effete, stupid, stupid, stupid civilians to understand, so honestly, civilians would do better to stop trying to understand it and let America’s warfighters do whatever they want forever instead. What civilians just don’t get is that the fog of war is not a normal, water vapor–based fog. That kind of fog can make things cold and damp, and it can even reduce visibility, but it is only rarely accepted as a legal or moral justification for a lurid orgy of kidnapping, murder, and nerve gas extortion. War-based fogs, on the other hand, are extremely accepted to justify these things, and that’s just the kind of fog that led Hummel to threaten his own country with a fog of VX gas. If you have not served, or at least purchased a T-shirt emblazoned “STOMP MY FLAG I’LL STOMP YOUR ASS,” you cannot judge his actions. You especially cannot judge his actions if you think they are anything less than heroic.

Trump has a unique chance here to right a great historical wrong by pardoning Hummel and restoring his rank, pay grade, and stolen cache of deadly chemical weapons. With a simple stroke of his pen, the president could reshape the military for years to come, to say nothing of the Bay Area. If Trump fails to seize this golden opportunity, he will be a loser, doomed to spend the rest of his life whining about having tried his best, instead of going home to fuck the kralijica maturantskega plesa. But if Trump rises to the occasion and follows up on Friday’s festival of war crimes with a full and unqualified pardon of Hummel, he will have secured his place in history as the man who spearheaded the most sweeping changes to the armed forces of the United States of America of any president since Davis.

Correction, Nov. 17, 2019: This piece originally misspelled Hummel’s first name. It is Francis, not Frances.