The House Armed Services Committee recently met to debate the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018. Congressman Steve Russell (R-OK) (a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army) had some harsh words for critics of the UCMJ. In the course of a debate over a proposal to make court-martial panel selection random (taking from commanders the responsibility to select the members), Congressman Russell said this:
And again, I go back, Mr. Chairman. Honestly, I didn’t know that I was such a knuckle-dragger, that I was so closed minded, that I was a rapist, that I was a murderer, that I was a sexual assaulter, that I were all of these things until I came to Congress and often heard from my colleagues how horrible I was when I was in uniform as a commander and how incapable I was in being able to do justice and make decisions. But now I’ve learned that maybe I just didn’t realize who I was. What I would suggest is that, once again, we do not break the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It is the glue that holds our discipline and good order together.
Here’s a clip (link if video does not show below):
And here is a link to his full remarks in context.