General Milley cannot undermine civilian authority. The US is not a military junta

On Tuesday, the Washington Post published a bombshell drawn from a forthcoming book by the journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa: during the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the US’s highest-ranking military officer, called the senior ranking general of the Chinese military and offered to warn him in advance of any American military action against China.

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

Milley, who reportedly believed that Trump was unstable and might launch a politically motivated military operation, contacted the Chinese without the knowledge of the White House. He no doubt thought that his decision was for the greater good. But if he did indeed negotiate with a foreign military rival without authorization, he violated the longstanding American political tradition that the military is subordinate to elected civilian leaders.

A spokesman for Milley released a statement on Wednesday acknowledging the substance of Woodward and Costa’s reporting, and defending Milley’s actions as “in keeping with [his] duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability”.

So far President Biden has declined to discipline Milley. On Wednesday, he told reporters that he had “great confidence” in the general. But he shouldn’t. If anything, Biden should demand Milley’s immediate resignation.

Milley called the Chinese general Li Zuocheng in October and January. On one call, he reportedly said, “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

That alone should be grounds for immediate dismissal. No US military officer can seize authority from the president and call the commanding general of our greatest global rival and tell that general that he’ll be given advance warning of military action ordered by the president. Such an act is dangerously close to treason, as Senator Marco Rubio and others have noted. But Milley deserves to be relieved of duty for far more than this one act of insubordination.

© Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP ‘What Milley did was dangerously close to treason.’

Milley has a troubling, years-long record of poor military judgment and a tendency to subvert his civilian leaders. This is particularly evident in his rosy assessments of the war in Afghanistan and the capabilities of the Afghan military.

In 2013, when Milley was the commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Afghanistan, he praised the Afghan forces at a Pentagon press briefing. “This army and this police force have been very, very effective in combat against the insurgents every single day,” Milley gushed. “And I think that’s an important story to be told across the board.”

Video: Blinken: We will remain ‘hyper-vigilant’ about potential Al Qaeda re-emergence (NBC News)

Yet analysts and observers of the war already knew it was going poorly. Around the time that Milley was praising them, the Brookings Institution’s Vanda Felbab-Brown, for example, argued that Afghan troops “continue to suffer from deeply inadequate logistical, sustainment, and other support capabilities and are also deeply pervaded by corruption, nepotism, and ethnic and patronage fissures.”

It is difficult to say whether Milley knew that the Afghan forces were woefully inadequate, or simply had a glaringly poor ability to assess the progress of a war that he was prosecuting. Either way, he consistently, for years, failed to accurately convey the situation to senior US leaders. But that’s not the worst of it.

In November 2020, according to an investigation by Axios, Trump signed a directive to complete the military withdrawal from Afghanistan by 15 January 2021, five days before the end of his term as president. Milley was “appalled” at the idea of a full withdrawal, according to Axios, and worked behind the scenes to derail the effort. Trump was forced to revise the planned withdrawal deadline to 1 May 2021.

When Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said that the president was going to reduce the troop levels from 4,500 to 2,500 before leaving office, Milley publicly challenged the words of the president’s senior adviser, saying, “I think that Robert O’Brien or anyone else can speculate as they see fit.”

On 21 July 2021, Milley told the Pentagon press corps that despite reports that the Taliban had been capturing scores of districts from government forces, the Afghan forces had “the capacity to sufficiently fight and defend their country”. Less than a month later and mere days after the Taliban had seized Kabul, Milley claimed, “There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days.”

But Milley’s revisionist claim that neither he “nor anyone else” could have foreseen the collapse of the Afghan military is laughable. Just two days earlier, John Sopko, the long-time Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), told NPR that the collapse was not in the least surprising:

I mean, we’ve been warning – my little agency – for the last almost 10 years about issues with the … Afghan security forces’ capabilities and sustainment. All the signs have been there. I mean, we’ve been shining a light on it in multiple reports going back to when I started [in] 2012 about changing metrics, about … ghost soldiers who didn’t exist, about poor logistics, about the fact that the Afghans couldn’t sustain what we were giving them. … I think the speed maybe is a little bit of a surprise. But the fact that the [Afghan forces] could not fight on their own should not have been a surprise to anyone.

Moreover, had Milley continued the process of withdrawal that Trump committed to completing by 1 May, the US would almost certainly have been able to finish the mission on time and in relative order – and 13 US service members might still be alive.

The US is not a military junta; it is a republic led by elected civilian leaders, and it cannot allow the creation of any precedent, large or small, of military insubordination.

In 1951, after Gen Douglas MacArthur repeatedly publicly clashed with President Harry Truman’s direction of the Korean war, Truman fired MacArthur. The American public widely considered MacArthur a war hero, and Truman’s decision was bitterly unpopular, but he believed MacArthur had given him no choice. Similarly, in 2010, after a Rolling Stone article depicted Gen Stanley McChrystal and his staff badmouthing President Barack Obama and undermining his command of the war in Afghanistan, Obama summoned McChrystal to Washington and accepted his resignation.

Both decisions were controversial – but they were the right ones, and arguably the only ones, that those presidents could take.

Milley cannot continue serving as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. For the good of the nation, Biden must relieve him of duty.

  • Daniel L Davis is a senior fellow at Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the US army who deployed in combat zones four times. He is the author of The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Dad's horror as kids, 3 & 5, vomit and die after eating poisonous fruit in their garden they thought were apples

A DAD was left distraught when his kids vomited and died after eating poisonous fruit in their garden they thought were apples. Jhofran Mathias Gonzalez Chaya, five, and sister Amira, ... Read more »

Woman proudly shows off her stunning ring after getting engaged – but that's not what's got people talking

SAYING yes to your significant other when they propose is always an exciting moment. So it's only natural to want to share the news with everyone you know. Showing off ... Read more »

James Gunn Shuts Down Another Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Rumor

DFree/Shutterstock 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a huge gamble for Marvel Studios, considering the niche nature of the titular group. In a franchise filled with heavy-hitters like Iron Man ... Read more »

Man, 24, arrested for terror offences over Manchester Arena bombing is released on bail

A MAN arrested on suspicion of terrorism in connection with the evil Manchester Arena bomb attack has been bailed, police said. Greater Manchester Police said the 24-year-old man was bailed ... Read more »

Boris Johnson vows ‘we'll do whatever we have to do' to stop rising Covid cases but says lockdown ‘not on the cards' yet

BORIS Johnson today vowed to do “whatever we have to do” to keep rising Covid cases under control but insisted a full lockdown isn't “on the cards”. The PM urged ... Read more »

Shoppers can save up to 50% on Yankee Candle ahead of Black Friday – here's how

BLACK Friday has started early, as Amazon has already launched a huge sale on Yankee Candle. Yankee Candle are particularly popular over the Christmas period as they make for great ... Read more »

UK weather – Brits braced for torrential rain & gales that will last ‘for days' sparking half-term flood fears

BRITS are braced for torrential rain and gales that will last “for days” sparking half-term flood fears. The weather is due to deteriorate as the week progresses – becoming wetter ... Read more »

Chancellor Rishi Sunak to unveil £700million to boost sports facilities at next week's Budget

THE Chancellor will unveil £700 million at next week’s Budget for 8,000 new sports pitches and sports clubhouses, The Sun can reveal. The cash will go towards hundreds of new ... Read more »

51 MPs have called in police over terrifying death threats in past year amid murder of Sir David Amess

AT least 51 MPs have called in the police over terrifying threats made against them in the past year, it is reported. The chilling findings come after Tory MP Sir ... Read more »

I wed my ‘beautiful' girlfriend as she died after being left brain dead in horror crash – she was at peace

A HEARTBROKEN boyfriend has told how he married his partner as she died after being left brain dead in a horror car crash. Greg Peters, 34, paid tribute to his ... Read more »

Netflix's Super Crooks Trailer Promises More Millarworld Madness

Netflix What’s the only thing more dangerous than a team of supervillains? A team of supervillains with a plan. That’s the idea behind the comic limited series “Supercrooks” by writer ... Read more »

Two teenagers arrested for ‘conspiracy to poison' after string of women spiked in nightclubs

TWO teenagers have been arrested after a string of women reported being “spiked” in nightclubs. An 18 and 19-year-old remain in custody after Nottingham Police arrested them on suspicion of ... Read more »

Parmelin ist wegen der unterbrochenen Lieferketten besorgt

© KEYSTONE/CYRIL ZINGARO Der Unterbruch zahlreicher Lieferketten zur Versorgung der Unternehmen mit Einzelteilen beunruhigt Wirtschaftsminister Guy Parmelin. Es könnte sein, dass die Firmen im nächsten Jahr wieder vermehrt auf Kurzarbeit ... Read more »

Man wanted over murder of his mum 19 years ago is found dead in Spain after killing himself while on the run

A MAN accused of murdering his mum 19 years ago has been found dead in Spain after killing himself while on the run from cops. Sean Flynn, 38, was due ... Read more »

Multiple Accidental Prop Gun Discharges Occurred On Rust Set, Says New Report

Jim Bennett/Getty Images A fatal prop gun shooting occurred on October 21 on the set of “Rust,” a new movie starring Alec Baldwin, Jensen Ackles, and Frances Fisher. According to ... Read more »

Lego fans will soon be able to build this house from the Home Alone movies – and recreate classic scenes

LEGO fans can soon build this house from the Home Alone movies. The 3,955-piece set was designed by Lego fan Alex Storozhuk, 28, and has familiar details of the McCallister ... Read more »

Westfield Stratford evacuated following reports of a fire as shoppers flee

SHOPPERS have been evacuated from Westfield following reports of a fire. The shopping centre in East London was emptied just under an hour ago after an alarm sounded. Westfield has ... Read more »

Red Bulls hold off Crew to extend unbeaten streak to eight games

Fabio battles the Crew’s Jonathan Mensah for the ball during the Red Bulls’ 2-1 victory. AP COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sean Nealis scored in the 87nd minute for his first MLS ... Read more »

Hypocrite Jihad preacher Anjem Choudary slams social media platforms for not protecting him from death threats

HATE cleric Anjem Choudary has blasted social media firms for not protecting him from death threats — after years cheerleading for jihad. He has inspired dozens of convicted terrorists and ... Read more »

Customers mock supermarkets using cutouts of fruit & veg to hide empty shelves

BEMUSED shoppers have ridiculed supermarkets for using cardboard fruit and veg cutouts to cover up empty shelves amid the food supply crisis. Workers at stores including Tesco and Sainsbury's have ... Read more »

Jacqueline Fernandez Denies Dating Sukesh Chandrashekhar, Calls Reports 'Slanderous'

© Provided by News18 Actress Jacqueline Fernandez has found herself embroiled in controversy after being summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in relation to a money laundering case involving Sukesh Chandrashekhar. ... Read more »

Will Alec Baldwin face charges? Legal experts say massive civil suit is a virtual certainty, but that any criminal prosecution would likely focus on whoever prepared prop gun

Legal experts tell lawsuits naming Baldwin are a virtual certaintyIn addition to acting, he was producer on film where cinematographer was killedBut any criminal charges are more likely to center on whoever prepped prop gunProsecutors would have to prove gross negligence in loading the weapon Murder charges are unlikely unless there was an intentional act behind the deathBut manslaughter does not require intent to kill, only criminal negligence  Read more »

Ex-Labour MP Frank Field announces he is terminally ill as he backs controversial plans to allow assisted dying

A FORMER Labour MP has backed controversial plans to let terminal patients die – by announcing he's dying himself. Lord Frank Field, 79, revealed he's spent time in a hospice ... Read more »

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein Actor Shireen Mirza Marries Hasan Sartaj in Jaipur- See Pics From Royal Wedding

© Kritika Vaid | Entertainment Desk Yeh Hai Mohabbatein Actor Shireen Mirza Marries Businessman Hasan Sartaj in Jaipur- See Pics From Royal Wedding Jaipur: Yeh Hai Mohabbatein actress Shireen ... Read more »

Infizierten sich EVZ-Spieler mit neuer Corona-Variante?

Der Zuger Kantonsarzt Rudolf Hauri will abklären, ob eine Mutation hinter dem Ausbruch beim Zuger Hockeyteam steckt. Der Zuger Kantonsarzt Rudolf Hauri will abklären, ob eine Mutation hinter dem Ausbruch ... Read more »

Real-life Mowgli who lived in jungle to escape cruel bullies dons suit as he heads off to school

THE real-life ‘Mowgli’ who grew up in a Rwandan jungle to escape cruel bullies has transformed his life and now wears a suit to go to school. Zanziman Ellie gained ... Read more »

Derby d'Italia: Inter und Juve unter Druck

© KEYSTONE/EPA ANSA/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO Am Sonntag um 20.45 Uhr spielen in der Serie A Meister Inter Mailand und das taumelnde Juventus Turin gegeneinander. In Italien ist es mehr als ... Read more »

I gave birth to world-record NINE babies after conceiving naturally – my belly weighed 30kg and I use 100 nappies a day

A MUM who gave birth to NINE babies has revealed that she gets through 100 nappies a day as she copes with their care. Halima Cisse, from Mail, completed her ... Read more »

Christina Hendricks and Christian Siriano at Savannah Film Festival

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo They were in Savannah the night before to inaugurate a new fashion-focused museum exhibit. And Christina Hendricks and Christian Siriano extended their trip ... Read more »

Lottery results and numbers: Lotto and Thunderball draw tonight, October 23, 2021

THE NATIONAL Lottery results are in and it's time to find out who has won a life-changing amount of money tonight (October 23, 2021). Could tonight's jackpot of £7.3million see ... Read more »

Devastated family-of-five left homeless after horror blaze rips through home leaving them with nothing

A DESPERATE family of five has been left with nothing after a late-night fire destroyed their home. Kabir Ahammed, who lives in Swansea with his 68-year-old mother, his wife and ... Read more »

Jamie Laing: 'Fame is nonsense, you can't do anything with it'

Jamie Laing attending the National Television Awards 2021 (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images) Yahoo Entertainment's editors are committed to independently selecting wonderful products at great prices for ... Read more »

Taliban ‘forcibly evicting' Hazaras and opponents in Afghanistan

Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock Thousands of people have been forced from their homes and land by Taliban officials in the north and south of Afghanistan, in what amounted to collective punishment, illegal ... Read more »

Spike in fear stalking so many women: Scores say they have been injected with drugs in clubs and bars, spiking victim SIAN BOYLE went back to campus to investigate... and her findings are deeply disturbing

The last things I remember are the bright overhead bulbs of the basement bar, the booming music and the confidence of the men who’d just joined our group, one with ... Read more »

Forensic investigators scour Cleo Smith's family home for evidence amid fears the abduction of the four-year-old may have been planned by a stalker - as mum posts fresh plea

Cleo  Smith's disappearance is now being treated as a likely abduction by police Youngster vanished from tent she was sharing with family in Western Australia Four-year-old could be 'anywhere in Australia' as police receive hundreds of tips  On Saturday, police were seen at family home as taskforce cover 'all avenues' Read more »

I've been bombarded with death threats after flashing my boobs in front of cathedral – but the trolls are pure filth

AN OnlyFans model was bombarded with death threats after a video of her flashing her boobs outside a cathedral resurfaced, reports suggest. The woman, who is known to subscribers as ... Read more »

Hotel staff reveal the guests they hate the most – are you one of them?

HOTEL staff have been spilling the secrets about the guests they hate the most – with a long list of pet peeves. If you take food from the breakfast buffet ... Read more »

Mystery of Brit family found dead on hiking trail finally SOLVED after two-month probe

A BRITISH family mysteriously found dead on a remote hiking trial in California were killed by hyperthermia and dehydration, cops have confirmed. Software engineer Jonathan Gerrish, 45, his wife Ellen ... Read more »

What we know about deadly prop gun shooting on 'Rust': Vigil held for Halyna Hutchins

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was remembered by fellow crew members and supporters Saturday night with a candlelight vigil in Albuquerque, New Mexico, about one hour south of where “Rust,” the Western she ... Read more »

Spanish celebrate end of Covid lockdown by running with bulls as hair raising race returns

SPANIARDS have celebrated the end of their Covid lockdown by running with bulls as the hair raising race returns for the first time in months. Residents flocked to a small ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic