Bob Woodward has written a new book, in which he makes the sensational allegation that Gen. Mark Milley conspired with counterparts in China against then-president Donald Trump. This is from today’s Washington Post:
In the book’s account, Milley went so far as to pledge he would alert his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, stressing the rapport they’d established through a backchannel. “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”
Believing that China could lash out if it felt at risk from an unpredictable and vengeful American president, Milley took action. The same day, he 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.
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.”
If this account is true, Milley’s conduct, while perhaps not rising to the constitutional level of treason, is about the worst of which any military man could be accused. It would certainly require termination, and there likely is a provision of the federal code under which criminal charges could be brought.
But is it true? I haven’t seen any comment by Milley on Woodward’s allegations, but Ric Grenell is skeptical:
Bob Woodward has become the Michael Wolff of Washington, DC.
It’s hard to believe anything the two of them write.
Trump isn’t a war starter and I don’t believe Milley thought he was. https://t.co/4KAX8vLQi1
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) September 14, 2021
Grenell is right that Woodward’s track record is poor. Remember his purported deathbed interview of Bill Casey?
Still, Milley has done nothing to merit a vote of confidence, and as noted above, I haven’t seen that he has even denied Woodward’s charge. I am highly skeptical that Milley could have done anything so shameful, but investigation is warranted.