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US troops will not burn and pillage like Genghis Khan's hordes as a result of Trump intervening in war crimes cases, Milley says
The U.S. military will not disintegrate into an undisciplined horde following President Donald Trump's recent intervention in three war crimes cases, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley assured lawmakers on Wednesday.
Milley was testifying before the House Armed Services Committee when he was pressed by Iraq war veteran Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) about the president's actions in the cases of former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, retired Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, and retired Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher.
Moulton, who served in the Marine Corps, told Milley that he had received a text from a Marine sergeant major, who argued that Trump had set a precedent that the rule of law does not apply in combat zones and he had encouraged troops to "start burning villages and pillaging like Genghis Khan."
"Is this sergeant major of Marines wrong?" Moulton asked.
Milley said the Uniform Code of Military Justice is one of the tools that the military uses to "maintain that capability and some level of humanity in combat zones."
"I understand where the sergeant major is coming from and I know the advice that was given, which I'm not going to share here," Milley said. "But the president of the United States is part of the process and he has the legal authorities to do what he did and he weighed the condition and the situation as he saw fit. He is part of the process."
"We do maintain and we will maintain good order and discipline," Milley continued. "We will not turn into a gang of raping, burning, and pillaging throughout – as the sergeant major implies. That is not going to happen."
Moulton interrupted Milley to say the Marine sergeant major is Navy Cross and Purple Heart recipient "and we're defending the actions of a draft dodger."
Committee chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) ended the exchange by saying lawmakers understood the president is commander-in-chief but they objected to how Trump is being part of the process.
On Nov. 15, Trump pardoned former Lorance, who had been convicted of murder for ordering his men to open fire at three unarmed Afghan men, two of whom were killed. The president also ordered that a murder charge be dismissed against Golsteyn, who had admitted to killing an unarmed Afghan man whom be believed to be a Taliban bomb maker.
Trump also ordered that Gallagher's rank and pay grade be restored to chief petty officer. Gallagher had been acquitted of murder but convicted of posing for a picture with an ISIS fighter's corpse. That conviction still stands.
Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)
Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.
Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.
75 years ago, Audie Murphy earned his Medal of Honor with nothing but a burning tank destroyer's .50 cal and insane bravery
Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018
On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.
Florida senators are pushing for Purple Hearts for service members wounded in the NAS Pensacola shooting
Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.
"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.
The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.
When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.
Temores was a master-at-arms who loved his job and cracking corny jokes.
"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."
That ability to make others laugh and put people at ease is just one of the ways Temores is remembered by his colleagues. It has been seven weeks since the 23-year-old married father of one was killed when a civilian intruder crashed his pickup truck into Temores' vehicle at Fort Story.