Gen. Milley must go for subverting of civilian control of the military


In a climactic episode of the sitcom “Arrested Development,” Jeffrey Tambor’s character confesses to his son that he “may have committed some light treason.” If what was recently reported about Mark Milley is true, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is guilty of something much heavier: colluding with a foreign power against the sitting commander-in-chief.

According to a new book by Washington Post scribes Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley conducted at least two secret phone calls with top Chinese military officials while Donald Trump was still serving as president, one in October 2020, one in January 2021. Reportedly, Milley reassured the Chinese that Trump, the only US president in two decades not to start a foreign war, wasn’t on the cusp of invading. He even went so far as to vow to tip off Beijing in the case of an impending US attack.

This was not all. Woodward and Costa also report that on Jan. 8, 2021, Milley called a secret meeting at the Pentagon during which he instructed senior military officials not to take orders from their Trump unless he (Milley) approved them.

“No matter what you are told, you do the procedure,” Milley reportedly said. “You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure.” During the same period, Milley was also in direct contact with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at whose direction he appears to have initiated not only the Pentagon meeting but overtures to the heads of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency.

Gen. Mark Milley
Milley has faced calls to resign over allegations of illegally circumventing former President Donald Trump.

The most grimly amusing thing about these reports is that they come after four years of tedious self-aggrandizing lectures from journalists and liberal politicians about the sacredness of our “norms.” More than half of Trump’s presidency was spent under the cloud of an absurd McCarthyist probe alleging so-called “collusion” with Russia. The hoax later turned out to spring from a foreign-intel op funded by his opponent’s presidential campaign.

The “norms” stuff was always nonsense. It was nonsense when Trump exchanged pleasantries in typical diplomatic fashion with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and we were treated to weeks of hysterics from CNN anchors and Dem politicians. It was nonsense when Trump was impeached for alluding during a phone call to our current president’s self-dealing in Ukraine, suspicions that were largely vindicated by this newspaper last fall.

But what’s even more nonsensical is the Biden’s administration’s chirping-crickets response to these revelations from Woodward and Costa. In a sane country, Milley would be immediately removed from his position, which he inherited under the present administration, and arrested.

Members of the armed forces, even at the highest level, don’t get to make policy. They don’t conduct secret back-channel meetings with their foreign counterparts without first being instructed to do so by their duly elected leaders.. They serve at the pleasure of the president, who is elected by the American people. They work for us, not the other way around.

As far as I am aware, nothing resembling what is alleged of Milley has ever taken place in the history of the United States. Thank heaven for that. No matter how divided our political life becomes, all Americans should be horrified by the prospect of a rogue general who cares more about assuaging the feelings of our global adversaries than he does about loyalty to the president, at whose direction he acts.

Civilian control of the military is among the most fundamental principles of our constitutional system. This is for a good reason. Any student of history knows that when generals start calling the shots, sooner or later there will be actual shots. As the Roman Empire descended into chaos, it became horrifyingly common for praetorian guards to depose one emperor and replace him with another preferred by patricians in the Senate or by the soldiers themselves.

Something has happened to our military, which now see itself as just another arm of the same liberal establishment that is also in charge of the media, Wall Street, Big Tech and the universities.

Someone should remind members of the brass that they are sworn to protect the people of this country, and that how they go about doing it is best left to the commander-in-chief we elect to do so.

Matthew Walther is editor of The Lamp magazine.

Twitter: @MatthewWalther


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