During his second day of grilling on Capitol Hill, Army Gen. Mark Milley provided further detail for lawmakers on phone calls with his counterpart in China which seemed to confirm that the controversial communications did indeed occur.
This information prompted a Republican congresswoman to call for his resignation.
During the open-to-the-public hearing, U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) straight up asked Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, if he told CCP Gen. Li Zuocheng “when you talked to him on the phone that if we were going to attack China, that you would let him know ahead of time?”
After some attempt to repeat a prior scripted explanation, Hartzer told him to get to the point and asked again, did you or did you not tell him if we were going to attack you would let him know?
“As part of that conversation, I said, ‘General Li, there’s not gonna be a war; there’s not gonna be an attack between great powers.’ And if there was, the tensions would build up; there would be calls going back and forth from all kinds of senior officials. I said, ‘Hell, I’ll probably give you a call, but we’re not going to attack you. Trust me, we’re not going to attack you,'” Gen. Milley explained to Hartzler.
“These are two great powers, and I am doing my best to transmit the president’s intent, President Trump’s intent, to insure that the American people are protected from an incident that could escalate.”
“I understand your intent, but I think you articulating that, that you would tell him, you would give him a call, I think is worthy of your resignation,” Hartzler responded. “I just think that’s against our country that you would give our number-one adversary that information and tell him that.”
Watch the exchange embedded below and form your own conclusions:
According to a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley allegedly took it upon himself to promise Gen. Li Zuocheng of the CCP in one or two secret phone calls that he would provide advanced warning of any theoretical U.S. military action against the communist regime. The calls were reportedly placed on October 30, 2020 and January 8, 2021.
Yesterday, under questioning from U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Milley admitted to talking to Woodward for the latter’s book, which is called “Peril.”
Along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, Milley is testifying today before the House Armed Services Committee about the botched U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan.
It’s the House’s turn after the trio testified in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 23, 2021
Portions of Milley’s initial answer were inaudible until he was prompted to move closer to mic (or push the on button). He then started over with a certain amount of word salad.
Based on a “body of intelligence…that was persuasive to Secretary Esper, and myself, and many, many others, that the Chinese thought, wrongly, that the United States is gonna attack them,” Milley asserted. “I am certain, guaranteed certain, that President Trump had no intent to attack. And it was my task to make sure I communicated that, and the purpose was to de-escalate.”
Christopher Miller, the acting Defense Secretary who was in charge of the Pentagon as the Trump administration wound down, previously called for Milley’s resignation on the grounds of insubordination.
Perhaps the irony of the whole situation is President Trump was intent on avoiding getting the country into any further military quagmires that have plagued previous administrations.
Trump also planned to implement a conditions-based withdrawal from the Afghan theater, which would have allowed first for the orderly evacuation of American civilians and U.S. allies and which would have also likely prevented massive quantities of U.S. military hardware from falling into Taliban hands.
Rep. Hartzler began her round of questioning by describing the Biden-created Afghanistan debacle as “the most significant foreign policy failure in a generation,” which will “have ramifications for years to come.”
Hartzler’s home-state colleague, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, has also called for Milley’s resignation.
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