While the testimony of Gen. Mark Milley today was not at all helpful for Joe Biden — making it clear that Joe Biden had lied when he said he was never told by his military advisers that they wanted to keep about 2500 troops in Afghanistan — Milley actually said some things that blew up a few Biden/Democratic narratives.
First, ever since the Woodward-Costa book reporting came out, Democrats have been pushing this claim that President Donald Trump was somehow saying or doing things to put China in fear of a nuclear war. As I had previously reported, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) even tried to push that insanity of Trump using nuclear weapons on Milley back on Jan. 8, trying to get him to basically engineer a coup against Trump.
But during Milley’s testimony today, he himself said that was complete nonsense.
Gen. Milley on his Chinese calls:
"I know — I am certain — that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese."
Yet Milley says he felt the need to get involved to de-escalate a situation…that he acknowledges was never going to happen. pic.twitter.com/hec00bbShF
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) September 28, 2021
Milley also sought to play down the idea that this was done out of fear of Trump’s potential actions.
“I know — I am certain — that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese, and it was my direct responsibility by the secretary to convey that intent to the Chinese,” Milley said.
So all the claims from Democrats that Milley was somehow having to interfere to save the world from Trump madness was just nonsense, even in the words of Milley.
Milley said that his calls had been cleared through a variety of people including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller (on the January call). But both Pompeo and Miller said they had not been told of the nature of such a call with the Chinese, where Milley allegedly said that he would tell the Chinese ahead of time if we were going to attack and if he said that, it would be inserting himself in an improper role.
Milley also admitted that he had in fact spoken to Bob Woodward, among others, but he claimed that he hadn’t read the book, so he didn’t even know if he’d been quoted correctly. In the words of Joe Biden, “Come on, man!” Not to mention: why is he talking to Woodward about such things, when he’s clearly not speaking to the president and he’s a sitting Joint Chiefs Chair?
Another narrative that Milley blew up was Biden’s frequent whining that somehow he was obligated to stick to the “Trump deal.” That’s something that Biden has frequently pushed as a justification for his bad actions. But as, Milley confirmed, the Trump deal had conditions; it wasn’t just a ‘let’s pull-out and have the Taliban take over everything,’ the way that Biden did it. Trump had checks and balances in there to hold the Taliban back. But the only part that the Taliban adhered to was not killing Americans for the 18 months of the deal, according to Milley.
That was a success for that period of time for Americans. But it also meant that since the Taliban weren’t adhering to the deal, Joe Biden wasn’t obligated to anything. Indeed, Biden didn’t hold to the May 1 withdrawal date that had been agreed upon. He changed the date to September 11 for the photo op opportunities, and then to August 31. So pulling out — claiming you were holding to a deal that the Taliban wasn’t adhering to — is complete folly. You can say anything you want about the deal itself, but Biden was completely free to to act; the debacle was all on him.
The last thing that Milley blew up — although he probably wouldn’t quite put it that way himself — was a big part of the rationale for the withdrawal. Biden has repeatedly said the main goals of going into Afghanistan were 1) to get Osama bin Laden and 2) to make sure that we were never hit with a terrorist attack again from Afghanistan.
Of course, because of the botched withdrawal, we were attacked by terrorists at the Kabul airport. But even beyond that, Milley was asked about the situation that we are now left with in Afghanistan and he said a “reconstituted Al-Qaeda or ISIS with aspirations to attack the United States is a very real possibility.” Preventing such an attack “will be much harder now,” he said.
Gen. Milley: "We must remember that the Taliban was and remains a terrorist organization and they still have not broken ties with Al-Qaeda…A reconstituted Al-Qaeda or ISIS with aspirations to attack the United States is a very real possibility." pic.twitter.com/CnQkVyidWJ
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 28, 2021
So after twenty years, we lost American lives, damaged our credibility around the world, left Americans and our allies there, left the terrorists in charge, with no strategic capacity left in the area, with them having our weapons even, with a reenergized ISIS because Biden let ISIS go free when we pulled out of Bagram, with al-Qaeda still a big factor there. Only to be told that they’re going to come back and bite at us again every soon.
This isn’t the first time Milley has said this either. But he knew all this, and let it happen anyway. Yet he has still not resigned. So, there’s no doubt that we are going to have to deal in the future with some very harmful consequences of this decision.