The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley, testified to Congress today, and it’s safe to say that he made all kinds of news. He also gave both sides some ammo to use, while also probably disappointing both sides.
We’ll begin with the big explanation by General Milley on whether he undermined President Trump (or committed treason, as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., alleged).
Milley explained that he had made no secret calls on his own to any Chinese generals. That instead, he made these calls with lots of other public officials in the same room. And that he did so because U.S. intelligence indicated that China believed we were about to attack. But as Milley explained, he was certain Trump did NOT plan to attack. And thus, Milley was de-escalating the situation. (See below.)
But not everything was rosey for the Democrats and President Biden. They also took some punishment during the hearing. Biden had said in an interview during the chaotic Afghan withdrawal that no military advisors had told him to keep 2,500 troops in the country.
That was contradicted by another general in today’s hearings. (See below.)
Josh Rogin @joshroginGen. McKenzie: "I recommended we keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan." Also says he predicted withdrawing them would cause the Afghan army to collapse and the Taliban taking over. Gen. Milley agrees.
Milley added further fuel to the fire against Biden by saying that our withdrawal hurt our trust and credibility as a country.
"I think that our credibility with allies and partners around the world and with adversaries is being intensely reviewed by them to see which way this is going to go. And I think that 'damage' is one word that could be used, yes," Milley told senators.
Republicans pounced on this, with the following question (and the best part about this video clip is you can see Milley trying to figure out what to say in real time; this was most certainly not rehearsed and there’s some real emotion in it):
A couple of other things of note. Former President Trump was partly blamed for the Afghan collapse because of the peace deal he pushed.
The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie, said, “The primary accelerant to lowering morale and general efficiency of the Afghan military" was the peace agreement that the Trump administration struck with the Taliban in February 2020, which the Afghans believed was "forced on them."
Republicans will probably counter that McKenzie is blaming Trump since he now technically reports to Biden. But the peace deal under Trump was controversial; and it forced the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, many of whom returned to the fight.
One other noteworthy thing that came up was that the U.S. is continuing to attempt to evacuate folks from the danger in Afghanistan. (See below.)
I’m confident that these efforts include the CIA, and as I’ve said before, it wouldn’t surprise me if we aren’t working with (or paying) the Taliban to help us get these folks out.
Moving to the end here, I’ll wrap up this post with two pieces of motivation for your week.
That’s it for this post. Stay safe and be kind. As always, please share this post if you enjoyed it.
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Every Tuesday and Friday, I write about conflicts and military matters that are happening throughout the world. Such as what’s happening in Afghanistan or Iraq. How we’re aligning ourselves to counter China’s growing influence. Updates on new military technology that we’re fielding.
I also post some motivation, as well as veteran interviews, when I can schedule them. (Veterans NEVER want to talk about themselves or what they’ve done. If you know a veteran, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to feature them on my site.)
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Stan R. Mitchell
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