Tag Archives: Joint Chiefs of Staff

Mullen to POTUS: cool the rhetoric

Mike Mullen wore a Navy uniform for many decades; he went to war for this country and served as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So, when a distinguished officer admonishes the commander in chief over some tough talk about “nuclear Armageddon,” I am inclined to take the admiral’s words seriously.

So should President Biden.

Mullen went on TV this weekend to offer his take on the Ukraine War and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s implied threat to use tactical nukes to put down the Ukrainian resistance to his illegal invasion. Biden has talked about Armageddon and said we’re closer to that catastrophe than we have been since the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Mullen wants Biden to cool it. We need to persuade Putin to negotiate his way out of the quagmire in Ukraine. Issuing warnings about what will happen to Putin if he decides to use more dangerous weapons against Ukraine won’t work, Mullen said.

He’s right. At least I am going to presume he is right. The man knows a thing or three about warfare. Pay heed to his advice.


Back off … chumps!

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.



He put us in ‘Peril’

The older I get the harder it becomes for me to sit down with a book and read it from front to back non-stop. Yep, even those so-called page-turners.

That all said and understood (I presume), I ordered a new non-fiction piece of work that well could go down as a landmark historical document of the final days of the 45th president’s term in office. It’s titled “Peril,” co-written by a walking-talking journalistic legend, Bob Woodward, and an up-and-comer, Robert Costa.

They are telling the world a story about the imminent peril that the 45th POTUS put the nation through while he continued to fight the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Joe Biden won fairly, squarely, legally and any other way you want to describe it.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley called his Chinese counterpart to assure him he would be alerted ahead of a possible attack by the United States, Woodward and Costa tell us. They also related how then-Vice President Mike Pence talked with one of his VP predecessors, fellow Indianan Dan Quayle, about how he (Pence) could overturn the results of the election; Quayle told Pence to “give it up,” that he had no choice but to obey the Constitution and certify the results on Jan. 6.

I want to know more. I trust Woodward implicitly to get it right. I mean, he and his former Washington Post college Carl Bernstein wrote the book on political investigative journalism (no pun intended) during the Watergate crisis of the 1970s.

This is good stuff. I might be too old to read a good book in one sitting. I am damn sure not too old to learn more about how vulnerable our democratic institutions can become when we put a charlatan in charge of our nation’s executive government branch.


Gen. Milley acted correctly

If we are to believe the reporting of two world-class journalists — and I do — about the chaotic final days of the Trump administration, then we also can believe that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff perceived that the president posed an existential threat to our very nation.

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa have written a book titled “Peril.” They chronicle how the 45th president of the United States sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election that delivered Joe Biden to the presidency.

One of the many episodes they chronicle involves Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs chairman, who believed the POTUS was capable of starting a nuclear war with China. What did Milley do, according to Woodward and Costa? He called his counterpart in Beijing to warn him of what he feared might happen.

As you might expect, Republicans are hollering “treason!” and suggest that Milley went outside the chain of command. They are calling for his resignation, or his arrest and conviction by court martial. The Constitution does declare that civilians set military policy.

I do not believe Gen. Milley committed a treasonous act. He did the right thing. He perceived that the sociopathic narcissist who had lost a free and fair election was capable of doing immense harm to this country and, apparently in Milley’s eyes, to the entire planet.

Milley aimed to head off a presidential effort to cling to power by any means necessary.

Truth be told … I cannot fault Gen. Milley for that.


Post-presidency getting weird

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The hits associated with the post-presidency of the twice-impeached, disgraced former Idiot in Chief just keep on comin’.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley now says he feared that the ex-POTUS might try to launch a coup attempt to stay in power after the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to President Biden!

The response from the ex-Nitwit in Chief? He writes: “I never threatened, or spoke about, to anyone, a coup of our government. So ridiculous!” Trump wrote. He went on to clarify that even if he were interested in organizing a coup, he’d prefer if Milley weren’t there. “Sorry to inform you, but an election is my form of ‘coup,’ and if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley.”

Given the interminable trail of lies the ex-POTUS told during his term in office, are you inclined to believe his denial of ever thinking about a coup? Nah! Me neither.

Stand tall, Gen. Milley

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The very idea of leading right wing pundits — none of whom has a moment of military service in their background — criticizing the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff because he tells the truth about racism in this country is reprehensible on its face.

Army Gen. Mark Milley testified this week before a House committee about “critical race theory” and whether it should be taught at West Point and other institutions of higher learning. He said, without hesitation, that “yes,” it should be taught.

Then he went after congressional critics who allege that the military, which Milley has served with honor and distinction for more than 30 years, has become a victim of the “woke” theory of progressive thought. He said he takes “offense” at such notions.

That hasn’t stopped the likes of Fox News’s Tucker Carlson who calls Milley “a pig” who also is “stupid.” Fox’s Laura Ingraham also weighed in with her brand of right-wing idiocy. Let’s not forget that Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. — who faces potential charges of sex trafficking — chastised Milley’s comments on specious, dubious and spurious grounds as well.

I want to point something out about Gen. Milley.

If you look at the right sleeve of his dress greens, you see multiple hash marks, each one of which represents six months of service in a war zone. By my count, I figure Milley has thrust himself in harm’s way a total of four years. Also, take a gander at the “fruit salad” collection of medals over his left breast pocket. They include a Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Oh, and on his left sleeve you’ll see a Rangers and a Special Forces patch.

I understand fully that those do not inoculate any service member from criticism … when it is warranted. Gen. Mark Milley is a soldier’s soldier who speaks truth to power.

As for his critics, they need to look inward and ask themselves: Do I really need to go there?

Trump takes aim at the brass

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis _92@hotmail.com

I cannot remember ever hearing an American president say the things that Donald Trump has said about the high command of the nation’s military.

Moreover, I also doubt the generals and admirals about whom Trump was referring had ever heard it, either.

Trump called a press conference on Labor Day and then decided to take off on a riff against the brass. He said the line soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines like and respect him, but not so much with the top end of the chain of command.

He essentially accused the Pentagon brass of being war profiteers. They want to keep fighting “endless wars” because it keeps weapons suppliers in business, which Trump said suits the brass just fine.

Hey, I never got close the brass while I served in the U.S. Army, so I cannot speak with any actual authority on the subject. I just will posit the notion that generals and admirals who have been to war want no part of it even though they no longer thrust themselves into harm’s way.

How do I know this? I just do. I have talked over the years with enough junior- or field-grade officers who’ve seen combat to know how they feel about the idea of going to war. They hate war with a purple passion!

So, for Trump to effectively defame the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the officers who answer directly to them makes me wonder: How do these men and women continue to serve silently under a commander in chief who has no appreciation for what they have endured while serving the country they all love?

Gen. Milley: Confederates were ‘traitors’

U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley laid it on the line before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.

He has staked out a position regarding the naming of Army posts after Confederate generals that is diametrically opposed to the position taken by the commander in chief.

On these matters, I will stand with the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman every … single … time.

Milley told committee members that the officers who signed up with the Confederacy were traitors to the nation and they violated the sacred oath they took when they were commissioned as American military officers.

What’s more, Milley said he supports a top-to-bottom review of the 10 Army posts named after these traitors and pledged to work to ensure the nation does right by the places that today house and train American warriors.

Of course, that is opposite of what Donald Trump wants. He said just recently, via Twitter: “The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

I won’t quarrel with what Trump said about how those bases “trained and deployed” these heroic Americans. That isn’t the point of this discussion. The point is about whether it is appropriate to commemorate the memories of men who committed an act of treason — which is the highest crime one can commit against our government, which carries a death sentence under federal law.

As Gen. Milley noted, “The American Civil War … was an act of treason at the time against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution — and those officers turned their backs on their oath. Now, some have a different view of that. Some think it’s heritage. Others think it’s hate.”

You may count me as one who believes in the latter description. Our nation fought the Civil Ware because the Confederacy wanted to retain the “states’ right” to keep human beings in bondage.

Isn’t that the definition of “hate”?

Trump didn’t know about bounty on U.S. troops? Huh?

Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump likely is lying yet again, which is not even a little bit of a surprise to those of us who don’t believe a single word that flies out of his mouth.

He says he didn’t know anything about reports of Russian government officials putting up bounty money to pay Taliban fighters who kill U.S. troops fighting them in Afghanistan.

He got no briefings from the Joint Chief of Staff; nothing from the CIA; nothing from the office of National Intelligence; not a word from field commanders. Trump instead is calling the New York Times report another bit of “fake news” and says that “no one has been tougher on Russia” than he has. “We stand by our story, the details of which have not been denied by the President’s own National Security agencies,” a New York Times spokesperson told The Hill.

I believe Donald Trump is lying to us, ladies and gentlemen. I believe further that the CIA knew about the bounty, as did the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the FBI, the office of National Intelligence.

Are we to accept the notion that none of these agency heads reported a single thing to the commander in chief? That no one told him that Russians are paying Taliban terrorists a bounty for the U.S. warriors they kill on the battlefield?

I have to ask: If Trump was not briefed, why wasn’t he told? If the military and intelligence officials were keeping this information from the man in charge, then they are guilty of the most grotesque mismanagement of our war effort imaginable.

Except that I believe Donald Trump knew about it … and that he is lying to us. 

Trump is ‘fine’ with Gen. Milley’s regret? Sure … I believe that

Photographer: Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Donald Trump says he is “fine” with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley’s expression of regret for taking part in that hideous photo op at the Episcopal church not far from the White House.

Milley, a four-star Army general, said his presence in the walk from the White House to the church where Donald Trump held up a Bible for a goofy photograph to show how much he cares about religion sent the wrong message about the military’s mission. It thrust the military into a partisan political dispute, which Gen. Milley is not in keeping with why he wears the uniform. The entire event was meant to show Trump’s disgust with protesters who have damaged property in response to the George Floyd killing by the police in Minneapolis.

Hey, Trump told Fox News he has no problem with Milley’s push back.

Do you think Trump is telling the truth? Bwahahahaha!

The Liar in Chief’s veracity on anything that flies out of his mouth is open to serious questioning. Were I a betting man I’d say Trump has a serious problem with Gen. MIlley’s remarkable admission that he messed up … except that someone advised Trump to keep his thoughts private.