Thoroughly Modern Milley

US General Mark Milley’s conduct has been unconscionable and he must go. It seems, in October 2020, before the US presidential election, he claims to have received received intelligence that the Chinese feared an imminent attack by the US because President Trump was in danger of losing the election and becoming increasingly hostile to China.  So, in order to ensure there was no misunderstanding, he phoned his Chinese counterpart, General Li, to tell him not to worry – there was no attack planned and if there were, he would warn Li in advance.

Now, anyone with half a brain would know that if the Chinese did fear an attack their fears would be absolutely groundless. Trump was focussed on winning the election.  What he feared most was vote tampering.  The last thing he would have contemplated to restore his flagging electoral prospects would be to launch an attack on China.  In 2016, Trump had campaigned on a platform of not getting involved in wars.  In the early days of his Presidency, he went out of his way to avoid a war with North Korea, and was vehemently criticised by much of the elite establishment for his approach.  He was instrumental in the withdrawal from Afghanistan which Joe Biden, intent on setting up a September 11 photo op, bungled with his customary aplomb.

So, if Milley really believed Trump was contemplating such an attack, he must be brain dead. So, let’s assume he didn’t really believe Trump would be so stupid and he was just acting to defuse a potentially tragic situation.  Many commentators have commended him for that, including The Australian‘s Greg Sheridan, whose loathing for Trump blinds him to the obvious: Milley, who has failed relentlessly upward in his career, is a soldier of the modern school, more adept at tackling “white rage” than commanding a fighting force.

But defusing a situation entirely of his imagination was not Milley’s  job. Milley’s duty was to report to President Trump that he had received disturbing intelligence, proffer advice (possibly that he, Milley, should phone General Li with reassurance) and then act on his president’s decision.  If he could not accept Trump’s decision, his duty was to resign, in which case he would be justified in going public.

And what if Milley, got it wrong and overestimated his rapport with General Li?  Did he not consider there was a possibility that Li or his boss might not accept Milley’s assurances and act pre-emptively.  If he thought there was a remote chance that China might act – and he must have thought that to have made the call in the first place – did he not have a duty to advise his Commander-in-Chief of this possibility?

So, making the call on his own account was a serious misjudgement.  But having done that, and knowing that there never was a real threat to China from President Trump, decency should have obliged him to exercise some discretion and take that call to General Li to the grave.   There was no benefit to the United States (quite the contrary) from his release of this information.  It can only have been done to discredit President Trump – to emphasize and legitimize the Left narrative that Trump was going crazy, a danger to democracy.

Milley is still a serving officer (and unfortunately likely to remain so).  What right does he have to  release to the public sensitive security information?  Is not the content of phone calls between the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a senior officer of a foreign – hostile – power, classified information?  Top Secret at least, I would imagine.

On that basis alone, Milley should be disciplined.

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  • IainC

    “….he phoned his Chinese counterpart, General Li, to tell him not to worry – there was no attack planned and if there were, he would warn Li in advance.”
    I wonder if he offered the Taliban the same courtesy on behalf of Pres. Biden? That might explain the outcome.

  • Daffy

    Milley’s ribbon chest reminds me of North Korean senior ranks’ pointless adornments. Perhaps it’s just the way of fascism and its baseless rhetoric.

  • David Burnfield

    Milley is a traitor. It’s that simple.

  • Jim Ball

    Sheridan’s comments were idiotic. Talk about going off the reservation and going rogue. Someone should explain to him that the MSM is no longer the gate keeper with a mortgage on news and information and with myriad sources available the rest of us have pretty much the same access to unfolding events as he has. We don’t need him to filter our thinking and conclusions for us.
    In another time Milley would have been shot at dawn. Interesting too that without evidence, (to use the language and argument of the left) he thought Trump was crazy but was so dumb, twisted and bent he went along with Biden’s exfiltration of Afghanistan and thought giving up Bagram was a masterstroke. If Trump was crazy in Milley’s estimation, what the hell does that make corrupt, demented Joe?

  • Doubting Thomas

    My REJECTED comment in the Australian:
    “Spot on. When the military act on their own initiative in defiance of their democratically elected civilian leaders it is effectively a coup d’etat. General Milley should be reduced to the ranks and spend the rest of hid life in the hardest military jail available. He’s a disgrace to his Service and his nation. Nothing Trump said or did while in office excuses Milley’s treachery.”

  • Biggles

    ‘Beribboned perhaps, Daffy? Anyway, I like the way the NKs run their generals awards down their trouser legs. It provides scope for even greater aggrandisement than that enjoyed by their adversaries.

  • Charles

    I agree entirely with Jim Ball’s comment, Greg Sheridan’s opinions of late on US politics has been appalling. Firstly in the interview with Andrew Bolt he claimed that Defence Secretary Esper was a supine doormat for Trump, when revelations about this affair have found that it was he who egged Milley on to contact the Chinese back in October 2020 which led to Milley’s first call to the Chinese. So, that would hardly mean that Esper was some sort of Trump adherent as Sheridan claims.

    Some months before that he also claimed that RINO’s such as Liz Cheney were rock solid Republicans (despite her constantly dumping on Trump and all Conservative Republicans and undermining them at every opportunity) which was only a few weeks before even the RINO leadership had to dump her because she had become so toxic. This all the while when support for her Congressional seat in Wyoming stood at 13% which was about the same level as the ‘donkey vote’ and lower than the ‘do not know’.

    His judgement on many of these international topics, particularly in the US, is often quite erroneous and he does not seem to be too widely read in his selection of sources for his opinions.

  • ianl

    As far as I can speculate here, Milley’s treachery (doubled with his public recounting of events), even if he did make those comments to his Chinese counterpart as claimed, is designed to achieve two purposes: a rude shove to get the ghastly Afghanistan result off the front pages and to damage Trump sufficiently to deny him support for running again for the presidency.
    Trump really scares the swamp.

  • Lawrie Ayres

    Sheridan has left the reservation and his hatred of Trump is obsessive. I also note that Bolt also derides Trump’s justifiable complaint that the November election was beset with cheating as was the recent recall election in California. Next week the results of the forensic audit in Arizona will be released and we expect to see the proof of numerous election irregularities which will cast doubt on whether the Arizona election can be certified. How will Sheridan and Bolt react to the fact that Trump was right again? Maybe they will both take time off for a Well Earned Break in the parlance of the ABC.

  • Peter Smith

    Millie is a woke general. Not so long ago that would have been a contradiction in terms. It still is in Russia and China. Therein lies a problem.
    Sheridan is a know-all. He was lauding the French subs a few weeks back. No mention of that when lauding the nuke subs. He’s also Covid crazy. And you seldom find Covid crazies liking Trump. They move in psuedo-conservative packs doing damage to the genuine brand.
    One point Peter, I didn’t know that Millie had revealed the phone call. I thought it was leaked to Woodward.?

  • Peter OBrien

    Hi Peter Smith,

    Totally agree re Sheridan. I too noted, with amazement, his endorsement of the French subs.

    I must admit I assumed Miley revealed it because, as far as I am aware, he hasn’t denied it. If it was leaked to Woodward you can bet it was Milley who did the leaking.

  • STD

    Another left wing peanut.

  • stephencollard

    I have to agree with the comments about Sheridan. On Sky News, which I quite like, he is treated like a god. I have found his comments about Trump unhinged.
    But the bigger problem is that after the debacle in Afghanistan which has shown China, Russia, North Korea and Iran amongst others that the leadership of the US both politically and militarily is inept, will that empower them to make decisions based on that ineptness.

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