Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Treason, Up Close and Personal

According to a forthcoming book, "Peril" by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made two secret phone calls to the Chinese military stating that he would give the People's Liberation Army, and hence the Chinese Communist Party, advance warning of any US attack against them.

These calls were made during the end of Trump's time in office, when Milley believed that "the president had suffered a mental decline after the election" and that Trump would use nuclear weapons against them.

During the first call, on October 30, 2020 - before Trump's supposed decline, Milley is quoted as telling his Chinese counterpart:

"I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay... We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise."

Parts of this book were released by the Washington Post, which states:

"[Milley] called the admiral overseeing the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the military unit responsible for Asia and the Pacific region, and recommended postponing the military exercises, according to the book. The admiral complied."
It gets worse:
"Milley also summoned senior officers to review the procedures for launching nuclear weapons, saying the president alone could give the order — but, crucially, that he, Milley, also had to be involved. Looking each in the eye, Milley asked the officers to affirm that they had understood, the authors write, in what he considered an “oath.”"

The second call was made on January 8th - two days after the protest on the Capitol - when China doubted US stability. Milley calmed them down, stating

"We are 100 percent steady. Everything's fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes."

None of this was communicated to Trump, but Milley did discuss this with Nancy Pelosi.

Woodward and Costa used only unnamed sources, according to the WaPo, but Milley has just released a statement affirming that he did indeed make those calls.

When asked about Milley's actions, Biden said, "I have great confidence in Gen. Milley." The cycle of incompetence thus continues with this ringing endorsement.


Excusing the Inexcusable

Defenders of Milley's actions would say that Trump was "squirrelly", and that this somehow necessitated communication between Milley and the CCP. But what evidence is used to justify claims of squirrellyness? That Trump required NATO members to pay their dues? That he called mass illegal immigration for what it is - an invasion? That he put terrorists on notice that there would be swift retribution for their attacks? That he pissed off the left-wing media?

Well, Trump did indeed piss off the left-wing media. Milley saw this, stuck his finger in the air to determine which way the wind was blowing, and acted accordingly. He started by apologizing for inspecting the damage done by Antifa and BLM rioters while standing next to Trump. Then came his House Armed Services Committee testimony in which he was offended that people would call the military "woke" while simultaneously stating that he wants to understand critical race theory and the roots of "white rage":

"I want to understand white rage, and I’m white, and I want to understand it. What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? I want to find that out."

Now, we find that he has been working with at least one enemy. His actions were based on political expediency and nothing more.

Imagine that the United States did indeed choose to attack China - how would the Chinese use the information that Milley would provide? Further, did Milley actually believe that his tango with the Chinese would end with Trump being out of office? His naiveté is staggering.


The Context

Milley was not acting in a vacuum.

Even before the disastrous exit from Afghanistan, you had a West Point cadet advocating for communism, former high ranking officials making disparaging remarks about their Commander-in-Chief like Mister James Mattis and his inexcusable "bone spurs" comment, and the National Guard being used to protect the Capitol against "insurrectionists and violent extremists" - while not providing them with any ammunition.

And of course there's the woke Army recruiting video.

Then during and immediately after the loss of the Kabul airport you have Defense Department spokesman John Kirby admitting that he doesn't know how many Americans are still in Afghanistan, and General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. stating that he was sharing information with and relying on the Taliban to provide security.

At the highest level there is Joe Biden. He admitted that lists of Americans and American sympathizers were given to the Taliban so that they can expedite their exit (presumably from Afghanistan, not from this mortal coil). Biden stated that he accepts responsibility for the exit, then immediately lays blame for the Taliban takeover on the Afghan National Army and on the left's perpetual whipping-boy, Donald Trump.

Between the exit from Afghanistan and the woke military, the latter is the most damaging to us, for it indicates the criteria used to measure the worthiness of any military action. Potential actions will not be judged upon whether they further America's safety and security, or on the possibility of success. No. Instead, actions will be judged on whether they act against the cis-normative hegemony and deliver a blow against the patriarchy, all while being culturally sensitive and minimizing our carbon footprint. To quote Trump, "everything woke turns to shit." You, gentle reader, can complete the syllogism.


Signs of Hope

All is not lost, however, for there are dissenting voices. One of them belongs to USMC Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller who, following the Kabul airport terrorist attack that killed 13 service members including 11 Marines, released a video in which he absolutely excoriated the higher-ups for their shortage of accountability over the events in Afghanistan:

"I’m not saying we’ve got to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying: Did any of you throw your rank on the table and say ‘hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone. Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say 'we completely messed this up.'

That one man with his one video has proven that there are some men with a spine left in the US military. Hence the importance of dissent - it allows us to separate the institution from some very rotten apples.

And Scheller's not alone: others have come out against the leadership vacuum.

And they're not alone, either: those of us with friends who are either active duty or retired military cannot help but see the courage and patriotism in their eyes.


The Fallout

Both Milley and Scheller should be concerned for their future (as should we all), but notice the difference between them: Milley, in his "desire to understand white rage" comments, expressed his opinion without concern for personal repercussions. This could mean that either politicians would accept those comments as obsequious bromides, or more likely that the expression of those sentiments was the goal itself, consequences be damned. That's called virtue signaling, the sine qua non of wokeness.

Scheller explicitly acknowledges the personal consequences that would befall him after his video goes public. There is nothing wrong with doing so. It does not prove that he has a martyr complex; rather it shows a man who is fully aware that opinions and actions have consequences, the opposite of wokeness.

Shortly after the release of that video, Scheller announced that "I have been relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence." Whose trust? Whose confidence? No one of any merit.

Popular opinion holds that only tragedy awaits those with principle. This is incorrect - those with principle are resilient, and that resiliency comes from having a spine. Those with principle understand that an individual must stand up one more time than he is knocked down. Men with principle can move the world; those without merely stand with their fingers in the air, waiting for the winds to change.

Scheller is a man of principle, hence he will land on his feet.

For Milley, the wind is shifting against him. Christopher Miller, the Secretary of Defense during the time Milley made at least one of his calls with the Chinese military, stated that he did not and would never authorize such calls. Supposedly, several Pentagon officers present in Milley’s secret meeting are willing to testify against him under oath. He even lost the support of never-Trumper Alexander Vindman.

So, what of Milley? Biden, in his quest to accept responsibility, is looking for a new whipping boy, and Milley just moved to the front of the line.