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Tipsheet

'Aim for the Head': Air Force General's Fiery Memo on China Bucks Biden Narrative

Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP

In what The Washington Post described as a "bombastic and unusual memo to troops under his command," top Air Force Gen. Michael A. Minihan "warned personnel to speed their preparations for combat, citing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s aspirations and the possibility that Americans will not be paying attention until it is too late."

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Minihan — who leads the Air Mobility Command — wrote in his memo that predicts the Chinese and U.S. military are on an accelerated timeline for conflict that he hopes he is wrong, but that "[my] gut tells me we will fight in 2025." He noted that China's genocidal leader Xi Jinping recently "won" a third term in charge of the CCP and previously established his government's "war council in October 2022." 

Minihan reasoned that Xi's power within the Chinese Communist Party sets him up to potentially take advantage of 2024's presidential elections in the United States and Taiwan, distracting the U.S. and providing pretext for Xi to seize Taiwan — with all of this making odds for a fight "aligned for 2025."

More on Minihan's urging those who report to him to prepare more aggressively and get their personal affairs in order via WaPo:

Minihan then directs airmen who are qualified to use a weapon to “fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most” sometime in February.

“Aim for the head,” he said.

Minihan’s memo encourages the thousands of troops under his command to prepare for war in several other regards. All personnel reporting to him should “consider their personal affairs” and be more aggressive about training, he instructs.

“Run deliberately, not recklessly,” he writes. “If you are comfortable in your approach to training, then you are not taking enough risk.”

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The memo was circulated among Minihan's "subordinate commanders," according to the Post, and dated February 1, but the Air Force confirmed the authenticity of the memo, telling WaPo its call for quick preparation "builds on last year’s foundational efforts by Air Mobility Command to ready the Air Mobility Forces for future conflict, should deterrence fail."

Is Minihan's memo something of a shot across the Biden administration's bow to warn them and the public that the U.S. is not currently in a ready-enough state to respond to an invasion of Taiwan? An attempt to reset the clock and the position of Biden's Pentagon brass toward China? According to one of the usual "anonymous defense officials" who responded to the Post, Minihan's memo is "not representative of the department's view on China," and maybe that's the problem Minihan is seeking to change? 

President Joe Biden has, after all, failed to accurately explain the U.S. policy toward Taiwan should China invade, causing Biden's West Wing handlers to quickly try correcting what their boss had said. 

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) reacted to Minihan's memo over the weekend, warning that the "U.S. military must be ready and able to respond at anytime to growing Chinese aggression" and saying "Gen. Mike Minihan has the correct mentality—our bureaucracy needs to catch up."

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On Fox News Sunday this weekend, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) told host Shannon Bream that he hoped Minihan's prediction of war with China in 2025 is wrong, but he thinks "he's right though, unfortunately." 

Part of the reason, in addition to the timing Minihan cited relating to Taiwan's elections in 2024, is President Biden's failures on the world stage, McCaul added. "As long as Biden is in office projecting weakness," McCaul said, there will be a "very high" chance that China takes advantage of Biden's track record of international muck-ups. 

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