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Mark Milley Is Quite Dangerous

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool

The critical moment in General Milley's testimony yesterday was when Senator Tom Cotton asked him, "Why don't you resign?" General Milley gave an extremely bizarre answer, which I'm going to get to in a moment. But let me start by talking about Milley. I always have to laugh when I see this guy. He's such a costume peacock. He's such a pompous, full of himself type of guy. First of all, his ridiculous outfit. What are we looking at? Some Soviet general? He has like 400 medals. How long does it take for this guy to get dressed? 

Imagine if I were to dress like Milley. "Honey, where are my medals? Wait, wait, wait, I think I'm missing a ribbon. I got that one for doing ten push-ups at West Point with one hand." Anyway, you have this Milley character, and he's asked by Sen. Cotton rather straightforwardly, "Hey, listen, all of these disasters, one on top of the other, don't you think you should resign?" Milley then says he's not going to resign for two reasons.

One, "Because my dad didn't resign at Iwo Jima."

What? Wait a minute. My problem with this analogy is the word "because." What does his dad's role at Iwo Jima have to do with him today? Is he saying the bravery of the father excuses the incompetence of the son? What's the connection between these two things?

The other thing that Milley says is even more bizarre. He said, "I'm not going to resign because of those 13 boys who died in Afghanistan. They didn't resign. I'm not going to turn my back on them."

Wait a minute. You did turn your back on them! You left them behind. You left them behind, and they got killed, and they got killed because you, acting and cohort with others, not alone, closed the Bagram Air Force Base. You didn't make provision to get all these people out. You played a role through negligence in their deaths. And you're now pretending like you're not going to turn your back on them? They're dead in part because of you. This is the fact of the matter. I'm not being unduly harsh. I'm actually only being duly harsh. 

Now, Milley basically confirmed his call with General Li of China. Of course, Milley tried to cover it up, saying essentially, "I knew Trump wasn't going to attack China. I know that." Milley then said, "So I was merely relaying to General Li what I knew to be Trump's intentions."

First of all, Trump did not, in fact, okay this. Trump didn't tell them, "Okay, you know what, go ahead and call General Li."

And I'm thinking as I'm listening to Milley say, "I am certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese. And it is my directed responsibility. And it was my direct responsibility by the secretary to convey that intent to the Chinese. My task at that time was to de-escalate. My message again was consistent, stay calm, steady, and de-escalate. We are not going to attack you," it's very nice of General Milley to offer to warn General Li in case Trump orders an attack, but would Li do the same for him? Would General Li, the head of the People's Army of China, be so nice as to warn Milley in case the Chinese Premier Xi Jinping ordered an attack on America? I think we know the answer to that one. 

One of the important facts that came out in the testimony is that all these generals, General McKenzie, who is the commander of US Central Command, Scott Miller, who didn't testify but they referred to his views, and General Milley, all told Biden, all relayed to Biden, that the United States cannot withdraw in this way. Biden not only ignored them but lied about it. George Stephanopoulos, back in August, asked Biden if people advised him not to do it this way.

Biden said no, "No one said that to me that I can recall." Now, we have to make some allowances for the "that I can recall." Biden could be basically saying, "my neurons are not firing at full blast. And so, maybe I forgot the whole thing," which is even scarier because we have a president sitting in the saddle who really doesn't remember what was said to him yesterday. 

I want to turn, however, briefly to the case of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller. I discussed this with Rand Paul yesterday in our interview, this is a guy who has been thrown in the slammer. In the brig. Why? Because he publicly questioned the US failure in Afghanistan. To excuse this guy a little bit, he did this right after the Marines got killed. He did it right after US officers, 13 of them, died unnecessary deaths. I think we can all agree he was reflecting public frustration. 

Now, he was ordered by the military, not to keep posting on social media. So he did ignore that. And I'm not going to quite excuse that. I also think that his statement that he was going to personally make sure that people like General McKenzie were held accountable and prosecuted was over the top. He shouldn't have done that. 

Now, that being said, if you asked what was Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller's offense? Well, I guess it is that he violated the chain of command. The military is not a democracy. It is a structure in which you have to follow orders and obey authority. 

Scheller didn't disobey a direct order, but he did disobey a demand that he not post on social media. He did violate the chain of command, but so did General Milley. Because if you listen to what Milley said, even though Milley tried to cover his tracks, and, of course, he's probably more clever than Stuart Scheller in doing this, what Milley was basically saying is, "Listen, I went around Trump, but I was still following procedures." Milley was implying that what he did was routine. 

But if you can believe anything in the Bob Woodward book, Milley was very concerned about Trump being out of control. And Milley has repeatedly said that, and he's even said that in other books. He has said that to other sources. So Milley's actions are consistent with his behavior that he sort of has to work around Trump. That's why there was the backdoor call to Pelosi.

Milley, by the way, also admitted he's been having interviews with Bob Woodward, with Washington Post reporters writing a book. So, in other words, this guy is running down Trump behind Trump's back. He's not exactly playing the good boy following the rules of authority. This is a guy who is disloyal. He's partisan. He's ideological. So in a sense, he's doing on a much larger scale what Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller is doing on a much more minor scale. 

We can live with a Marine officer speaking his mind out of turn, but we can't live with generals who are colluding with foreign adversaries, who are essentially usurping the chain of command. 

This Milley character, I think, not only has a disconnected mind, a scrambled brain, but at some level, he's also quite dangerous.


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