The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley, testified before the House Armed Services Committee. He was asked pointed questions about the, now-infamous, pardons issued by President Trump to three military personnel who had either been tried or were about to go on trial for war crimes in the Global War on Terror. Many are saying that these pardons handed down by the President will erode military discipline and breakdown the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

This is just the latest attempt to erode the President’s support within the military, which remains rather strong within the rank and file troops. However, an increasing number of senior officers have come out against the policies of the administration. 

General Milley stood firm in his support of how the military will act moving forward, despite what several congressmen had to say on this issue. Especially involved in this was Congressman Seth Moulton, (D-MA), who was himself a Marine Corps officer. 

Moulton read a statement he said he received in a text from a Marine Corps Sergeant Major, who stated that President Trump’s pardon of the three different men accused of war crimes was “appalling,” and said that this action was encouraging troops to be “burning villages and pillaging like Genghis Khan.”

Milley did address the text, and while stopping short of endorsing the President’s decision, he stood by his authority to act. He tried to point out that each of the three cases had a different set of circumstances. 

He said that “I understand where the sergeant major is coming from,” Milley said. “And I know the advice that was given, which I am not going to share here. But the President of the United States is part of the process, and he has the legal authority to do what he did. And he weighed the conditions and the situation as he saw fit.”

Addressing the second part of the text, Milley was forcefully adamant that the discipline of the services was not going to fall apart. “We will not turn into a gang, raping and pillaging throughout, as the sergeant major implies,” he added. “That is not going to happen because of this or anything else.”

Congressman Moulton wasn’t done and added, “This is a Sergeant Major of the Marines who’s got a Purple Heart and a Navy Cross and we’re defending the actions of a draft dodger in our president.”