General Mark Milley has remarkable control when it comes to House and Senate hearings, but it does not last forever. When he testified this week, the Democrats’ questions were thoughtful, serious, and at times even rather critical. Conversely, the Republicans flew about him trying to peck out his eyes. They called upon him to defend himself from quotes in a recently published book, one he had not read. The more they talked, the worse they looked.
For two days, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Milley testified until he was on his last nerve with the Republicans. In the Senate Armed Forces Committee, senators’ questions frequently lacked any understanding of how the military operated. And even those who had served threw out foul balls.
Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) addressed a supposed warning he gave to China about our military. Earlier, the general had spoken with the authors of three books, including Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s just-released book Peril published by Simon & Schuster. During the testimony, Milley said that he believed in transparency with the public, and that meant he talked to authors of books, reporters, and others.
Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) landed on General Milley’s broad shoulders accusing him of doing what Woodwards and Costa wrote. This was regarding the conversations he had with his counterparts in the Chinese military, according to Reuters. The senator wondered whether by doing so, he had undermined Donald Trump. Milley said no, that he had made calls in keeping with the Department of Defense guidelines.
Sullivan began his questioning with this:
‘If you think the Chinese Communist Party decided to invade Taiwan, would their military leadership call and give you a heads-up?’
Milley responded by saying during such an event:
‘[It] would be an obvious thing to pick up on.’
Sullivan dug his claws in deeper:
‘You are quoted in the Woodward book as telling the top commander If we’re going to attack, “I’m going to call you ahead of time.” Is that true, General Milley?’
‘Let me tell you what I actually said…’
Sullivan interrupted him:
‘[S]o that’s not true? I hope its not.’
Milley tried to continue:
‘What I said is if there is going to be a war, if there’s going to be an attack, there will be a lot of calls and tension ahead of time…’
Once again, Sullivan cut him off and went back to what the general had said before, that Trump would not launch an attack. Milley continued:
‘That is true, and I was communicating to my Chinese counterpart — on instructions by the way — to de-escalate the situation, and I told him that we are not going to attack. President Trump has no intent to attack, and I told him that repeatedly, and I told him if there was going to be an attack, there will be plenty of communications going back and forth, your intel system are gonna pick it up.’
Then, the two men spit fireworks over whether Milley’s call had been a “heads-up” to China, according to The Washington Post. Alas,Sullivan’s time was over.
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