Everyone knows by now that a forthcoming Bob Woodward book alleges that General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), may have committed sedition during the Trump years. According to Woodward, Milley contacted the top Chinese general and assured him that everything was under control in spite of the eccentric Trump, that he (Milley) wouldn’t let Trump get us into war with China, and that he’d call them (the Chinese) if Trump were planning on that so there wouldn’t “be any surprises.”
If true, this is the biggest politico-military bombshell in American history. MacArthur was insubordinate with Truman, but not since Benedict Arnold has a commissioned American officer in high office colluded with the enemy. The problem isn’t that the CJCS called up his counterpart to keep communications open between the two; he would actually be derelict in his duties if he did not do that every few months. But Milley is alleged to have gone far beyond that approach in expressing willingness to aid and abet a major potential enemy in the event of hostilities. Such behavior is so shocking that even many on the Left have spoken out against it.
Even LTC Alexander Vindman is calling for an investigation. That’s ironic because Vindman might well have gotten the idea from watching Milley operate that an unelected military man had the right or even the responsibility to short-circuit the Commander in Chief (CinC) if he, the military man, thought he should. Talk about inappropriate. As Vindman considered it his job to coordinate U.S. policy with Ukraine, Milley apparently considered it his job to coordinate U.S. policy with China.
But where Vindman was a lieutenant colonel with delusions of importance, Mark Milley was the top officer in the entire, huge military establishment. His alleged actions breached the principle of civilian control of the military, which could be expected to fan the partisan flames of subordinate officers such that the entire military structure became politicized. That in turn would threaten military capability.
If Woodward’s account is found to be accurate, Mark Milley should face severe punishment such as dismissal from the service with loss of all rank, honors and pension. (Enlisted guys get dishonorably discharged; officers get dismissed) That will never happen with Joe Biden at the apex of power; if Joe knew about Milley’s carryings-on, he would probably only be concerned that he get his cut. One can’t help but wonder if Lloyd Austin was in on it.
Woodward had better have rock-solid proof of these claims. Not only is his reputation at stake, but his fortune is also at risk of a lawsuit for libel.
Meantime, now that the whole world has heard of the charges, you sorta wonder how many young GI’s will be applying for early discharge, not wanting to serve another day under Mark Milley.
By Jack Rail
Jack Rail is a retired Army officer who writes mostly when something gets his goat.
Photo by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Flickr.