Milley must resign or Biden must fire him

U.S. Army photo by Matthew Moeller
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Recently I wrote on these pages that Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley should all resign or be fired for their lack of performance. Blinken’s testimony to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees and Austin’s refusal to testify to Senate Foreign Relations demonstrated not only their incompetence, but how callous these individuals have been in serving our country. But they have become the sideshow to a much bigger and dangerous problem. Chairman Milley must absolutely resign, be fired, or removed by the Senate if reports by Bob Woodward, in his new book, are accurate.

Woodward, who somehow has a nose for sniffing out facts that others cannot discover, makes claims in “Peril” that should startle and shock every American’s conscience.  According to Woodward, Milley called his counterparts in the Chinese Communist Party shortly before the election and then again after the events of January 6th. In these calls, he assured the Chinese that the U.S. would not be attacking China, and if events unfolded in a different direction, he would warn them in advance. It is impossible to know, but certainly begs the question what in the world was this guy thinking?

There are at least three major issues with this scenario. First, Chairman Milley, this is not within the scope of your responsibility. You advise the President; you do not undercut him! Second, our relationship with China is a complicated at best. The military relationship is only a part of this complicated puzzle. There is an economic piece and also the diplomatic piece. Researching the origins of COVID is also part of the puzzle. Did Milley’s counterpart, or anybody in the Chinese government reach out and undercut Chinese Community leader Xi Jinping as the pandemic raged globally? I don’t think so.

Finally, Woodward’s reporting suggests that this occurred after Milley reviewed U.S. intelligence reported that China was nervous that the U.S. might make a strike in the South China Sea. By using this information and making the call Milley most likely tipped off the Chinese that their leadership was compromised by a U.S. source or technical access.

Milley should already be in serious trouble after his leadership and advice led to the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal debacle. Who knows how many Americans were left behind since the Biden administration will not or cannot provide a credible answer, but we do know that thousands of Afghan allies were left behind and some are systematically being hunted, imprisoned and executed. Video also has emerged of Afghan women being abused and beaten by the Taliban in the streets of Afghanistan. Milley also recently stated that Afghanistan could easily become a safe haven for terrorists within 1-3 years, but given how wildly inaccurate Biden administration estimates have been, it is likely as good a guess to say about 1-3 months at the current rate.

If Milley had legitimate concerns, the proper course of action was for him to resign and publicly state his case. Instead, if Woodward’s reporting is true, he actively undermined the bedrock principle of civilian control of America’s military and directly interfered in the command and control of America’s nuclear arsenal.

Chairman Milley, you can continue to serve even though many of us believe your handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal has exposed your incompetence. But when you wear a U.S. military uniform, break the chain of command, undercut the constitutionally delegated powers of the President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of our military, and engage directly with the enemy, there is no option but for you to resign, be fired by President Biden, or removed by the Senate.

You may have believed you were acting in America’s best interest, but what you actually did was weaken America’s standing, and undercut its civilian and diplomatic leadership, before our biggest geostrategic adversary. And for this reason, you must be gone.

Pete Hoekstra

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