General Millie returned to the center of a political battle

WASHINGTON – Nearly 16 months after then-President Donald J. Trump, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Millie, launched an offensive in Lafayette Square, he is still seeking reform.

He apologized in a video that angered Trump.

He has spoken out against Republican lawmakers who have accused the Pentagon of “waking up” too much, issuing a historically broad rebuke referring to Florida’s Republican Matthew and Lenin.

And he has consistently spoken to writers about his efforts to protect the military and American democratic institutions from the hands of a president in the recent turbulent months of the Trump administration who was looking for a way to stay in power. Those steps, described in a book, were twice with General Millie urging him to reassure his Chinese counterpart and pledging from the military chain of command not to warn him first not to use nuclear weapons at Trump’s behest.

In doing so, General Millie demanded the resignation of some Republicans, and Mr. Trump revived the discussion about the way he kept the military as the country’s commander-in-chief, where the country’s founding fathers said it wasn’t supposed to happen: at the center of politics.

On Tuesday, General Millie will appear at the most important televised congressional hearing that included senior military leaders, including General David H.

Halfway through his four-year term as the country’s top military official, General Milli, along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, will face sharp questions about another controversial issue: Afghanistan, with US troops advising President Biden not to withdraw all of them from the country.

The general may have been asked about the announcement of a U.S. drone strike in Kabul last month, even after military officials investigated reports of civilian casualties “a religious strike.” The Pentagon acknowledged a week later that the strike was a tragic mistake that killed 10 people, including seven children. General Millie calmly admitted that he had spoken too soon, calling the error “heartbreaking.”

At normal times, the uninterrupted withdrawal of Afghanistan by two deadly drone strikes would be enough for themselves, to dominate congressional hearings with senior Pentagon leaders. But recent revelations that General Millie erted himself into a chain of command to test Mr. Trump’s ability to carry out a nuclear attack, questioning the limitations of a doctrine traditionally considered sacred: the civilian control of the military.

Today’s polarization means anything that Mr. It is doubtful whether Trump’s criticism or approval is hurtful. So now, Mr. More than a year after Trump’s critics were angry with General Millie, Mr. Trump’s supporters angrily told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the days following the January Capitol riots that she agreed with him. Called Trump “crazy.”

Dichotomy raises an existential question that no senior official has publicly addressed: What is the duty of the military to curb the unilateral power of a reckless commander-in-chief?

“At the end of the day, we want to follow normal rules and procedures, because it’s important for democracy to survive,” said Risa Brooks, a professor of political science at Market University, and an assistant scholar at the Modern War Institute in West Point.

But, he added, “Look, the constitution is not a suicidal agreement. If there is someone in your power who is lying dead, you are responsible for calling it. The Millie situation holds it. ”

Both Democrats and Republicans are expected to seek answers, and a simple quote could land in hot water by responding to Congress or the White House. “This is an important time for Millie,” said Jeffrey J. Schloesser, a retired two-star Army general who served as General Millie’s boss from 2009 to 2009 as commander of U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan.

When General Millie leads the Joint Chiefs, he is not in the military chain of command – the line of authority that commands. But in the case of army deployments or strike orders, he is in the chain of communication and will probably tell lawmakers his job to ensure that proper protocols and procedures are followed when carrying out any legal orders from the Commander-in-Chief.

This article is based on interviews with about two dozen current and former Pentagon and military colleagues, other government officials, and independent military analysts, some of whom have not been named to speak explicitly about the general.

Brush is still intelligent, General Millie’s classic straight-out-central casting demeanor. Trump appealed to, when in 2018, the four-star army general stepped into the Oval Office, which was supposed to be an interview to become the top American commander across the Atlantic – Europe’s highest allied commander. During the meeting, the President asked if the job of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was good. General Millie went for the top prize.

On June 1, 2020, just eight months after being sworn in as the President’s Senior Military Adviser, General Millie, wearing the camouflage uniform he wore to work every day, Mr. Walking across Lafayette Square with Trump and in a political arson. Troops used chemical sprays to clean up the protesters’ area so that the president could walk through the park to St. John’s Church, where he held a Bible and posed for pictures.

The response was instantaneous. “Millie (he’s a general!?!?) Said on TwitterMentioning, he “was frightened to see him in war attire.”

General Millie has been hurt by that walk ever since, colleagues say. Within hours, he spoke with National Guard troops and protesters on the streets of Washington. In the days that followed, he wrote a letter to the military reminding them that the military was committed to protecting the right to freedom of speech, and added a handwritten codecil, part of which went beyond the margins: I swear and I will be true to the American people.

Within a few weeks, he recorded his apology. “I shouldn’t have been there,” General Millie said in the video. “My presence at that moment and in that environment created an idea of ​​military force in domestic politics.”

But he did not stop there. Lafayette Square and Mr. General Millie, his friends and Pentagon colleagues have spoken out against Black Lives Matter protesters in an attempt to call for Trump’s coup law so he can deploy troops on the streets of American cities. As the presidential election approached, the general told friends that one of his biggest goals was to keep the country intact for the next few months, and that Mr. Trump’s vague attempt to use the military for his own political gain.

In the last months of Trump’s presidency, General Millie took one extraordinary step after another. He called his Chinese counterpart twice and assured him that the United States had no plans to attack China. Fearing that Trump would prefer white men for senior military service, he agreed with then-Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper on a plan to prevent the promotion of two female generals to the top post until January 20. He called a meeting with top commanders to remind them of the methods of launching nuclear weapons and told them that Mr. He needs to be warned immediately if such an order comes from Trump.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. “Millie has reasonably navigated some hard water that she shouldn’t have been in,” said Peter de Fever, a professor of political science at Duke University who is studying armed forces.

But his supporters also say he might have been smarter if he had kept quiet about what he did. Instead, he has spoken to several authors who have written books about the Trump presidency, particularly to outrage Republicans.

“I haven’t read a book on policymaking in the Trump administration that doesn’t directly quote General Millie, or throws his actions into the best possible light by quoting Millie’s friends,” said Corey Shake, who conducts foreign and military policy studies. He worked at the Pentagon under the Conservative American Enterprise Institute and President George W. Bush. “Lack of prudence is detrimental to civilian-military dialogue.”

Defense Department officials said General Millie spoke with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward about Robert Coster for his recent book, Peril. Friends of General Millie are worried that more Trump books are on their way that could lead to more interviews with the greedy general.

“General Millie is a war-hardened officer based on intelligence and potential, but sometimes his passion for the mission, his confidence, and his forced civilian leadership upset him,” said Richard V. Spencer, a former Navy secretary who Trump on a disagreement over a war crimes case involving a Navy SEAL. “He has to be careful not to overstep his role as chairman, which I have never seen in my time working with him. But he needs to be more restrained than that. ”

Friends of General Millie admit that after the book walked across Lafayette Square with Trump, many of his book releases were about release. A fan of General Millie, a Biden administration official, said: “He has had a wounded arrogance since June 1 and he can’t get over it.

But some critics of General Millie also say he should be commended for putting the country’s natural security apparatus together in times of unprecedented pressure. Since Harry S. Truman appointed General Omar Bradley as the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1949, a senior military adviser to the president has been directly involved in colluding with the country’s rival political forces. A general is so interested in preserving the democratic institutions of the country.

For General Millie, “the more pressure there is, the more likely it is to politicize things that are not politicized.” Adam said Adam was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Barack Obama. Mike Mullen. “Even the weather service does politics under Trump.”

“It’s electricity that lives in the environment,” Admiral Mullen said in an interview. “And that’s where Millie lives.”

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