For years, I admired Gen. Mark Milley and defended him in conversations when others attacked him as being too political. No more. The breaking point was Milley’s recent testimony before Congress. Others have pointed out much of what was wrong with his testimony. But the worst part has gone unnoticed and unremarked.
It was not his statement that “thousands of people” assaulted the U.S. Capitol building. Nor was it his fabrication of “white rage” as the cause for the January 6 riot at the capitol. It was not even his false equivalency of officers who have studied Mao Zedong in order to understand their enemies with the current exhortations to read unabashed race-baiters and other charlatans, not to understand our enemies, but because many in the government, including in the military, are promoting their propaganda.
No, the most dangerous aspect of this testimony by the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military was validating the use of military personnel and lethal military force against political opponents of the administration. Is that a stretch, you may ask? No, if we take Milley at his word, it is the inevitable conclusion that follows from his testimony. Here is why.
The oath of office to which Milley and every officer in the U.S. military swears upon his or her commissioning is a solemn oath to defend “the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Military officers take that oath very seriously. It is not something that Milley or any other officer parrots and then forgets.
It is not an idle, aspirational goal. It is the foundation for all that they will be charged to do throughout their careers. It is the bedrock of their commitment. Combat officers put their very lives at risk to honor and fulfill that oath. So when Milley identified the “thousands” he claims attacked the capitol as insurrectionists who were trying to “overturn the Constitution of the United States of America,” that was one of the most serious charges he could make.
“So, what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to
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