There’s something off-putting about watching politicians grill battle-hardened military men in search of what I consider to be cheap political points.
That’s what I saw today as three distinguished warriors sat before a Senate committee to be questioned about their role in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Let me be clear about a key point. I subscribe wholly to the notion that civilian authority must remain central to the conduct of our military policy. However, when I watch politicians seek to dress down men of valor, well … it turns me off.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a former Army four-star general, was one of the targets of the chumps serving on the Senate panel; so was Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; same for Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commanding officer of Central Command, which has coordinates all military activity in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, sought to get Milley to admit whether he spoke to authors of books that have looked critically at the last days of the Donald Trump administration. Milley answered “yes” that he had spoken to the authors. Blackburn then asked whether he supported what they wrote. Milley said he hasn’t read any of the books.
That wasn’t good enough for Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, who then asked whether Milley was too busy being interviewed by the likes of Bob Woodward and Robert Costa to pay attention to the details of the Afghan War withdrawal. Hawley, ever the showman, then demanded that Milley and Austin resign their posts.
All three of these men have served their country with honor, valor and distinction. Milley has taken heat because of reporting in the book “Peril” that he gave his counterpart in China a heads up in the event of a potential attack by the United States in the waning days of the Trump administration. Good grief! He acted nobly as he sought to protect the United States against potential catastrophe!
Politics fuels everything these days. Hawley wants to run for president. He wants to make waves within the GOP so he takes this opportunity to question the integrity of genuine Americans heroes.