Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is scheduled for a Section 32 hearing under the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for his conduct and statements as recorded in Bob Woodward’s book “Peril,” and the Aug 8, 2022, New Yorker magazine excerpt from a forthcoming book by Susan B. Glasser and Peter Baker.
A Section 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a civilian grand jury, and if probable cause for the commission of a crime were established, it would lead to the court-martial of General Milley. The military has an affirmative duty to maintain good order and discipline, particularly with regard to the misconduct of senior leaders.
History provides an example of a senior officer engaging in misconduct. Deputy Chief of the Army Air Service Brig. General Billy Mitchell was court-martialed in 1925 for remarks to the press regarding two fatal military aviation accidents.
Mitchell made the following offensive statements: “These incidents are the direct result of the incompetence, criminal negligence, and near treasonous administration of national defense by the Navy and War Departments” and “The Corps of my former comrades in aerial casting under the ground in America, and in Asia, Europe and Africa, many, yes a large number, sent there directly by official stupidity.
On December 17, 1925, Mitchell was convicted of “conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon military service.” The court suspended Mitchell from rank, command and duty, with all wages and allowances forfeited for five years. Mitchell resigned his commission as an army officer on February 1, 1926. Some would say history proved Mitchell right, with the onset of World War II. Nonetheless, Mitchell paid the price for statements to the press outside the scope of his authority and insubordination.
General Milley called his communist Chinese military counterpart in October 2020 and January 2021 with unauthorized promises and assurances of advanced warnings of US military intentions and actions. America learned of these contacts from the book “Peril”, written by Mr. Woodward and Robert Costa. In the book, General Milley is quoted as saying, “General Li, I want to assure you that the US government is stable and everything will be fine. We are not going to attack or conduct kinetic operations against you. And then, apparently, General Milley said this: “General Li, you and I have known each other for five years. If we’re going to attack, I’ll call you ahead. It won’t be a surprise. »
General Milley admitted to making the calls. A spokesman for General Milley said that General Milley acted within his authority as the principal military adviser to the President and the Secretary of Defense, but that General Milley did not consult any civilian authority, a fact confirmed by Christopher Miller, the former acting. Secretary of Defense, and by former President Donald Trump.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a West Point graduate and Army officer, as well as a lawyer, congressman and former CIA director, described General Milley’s actions: “If you had a leader senior military, who is merely an adviser, tell the Chinese Communist Party that they would be notified of an attack, this rivals anything we have seen in the history of our nation.
Mr. Woodward and Mr. Costa “obtained” a copy of a transcript of a call between General Milley and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi regarding Mr. Trump and nuclear weapons. The book provides detailed quotes from General Milley and Ms. Pelosi. In one exchange, Ms. Pelosi attacks Mr. Trump at length, saying “they couldn’t even stop him from attacking the Capitol,” and that “he’s crazy.” You know he’s crazy. He’s been mad for a long time.
“So don’t say you don’t know what his state of mind is. He is mad and what he did yesterday is further proof of his madness. But anyway, I appreciate what you said.
General Milley replies to Mrs. Pelosi: “Madam President, I agree with you on everything.”
General Milley obviously cooperated in some way with Mr. Woodward. Requests for call transcripts under the Freedom of Information Act have been blocked by the Pentagon. General Milley hides the information from the American people and forces an ongoing lawsuit in federal court to compel him to release information he selectively leaked to friendly reporters.
Mr. Baker and Ms. Glasser make it clear that General Milley hated Mr. Trump and was blatantly insubordinate. The authors quote General Milley saying, “F—- that’s—-, I’m just gonna fight it” [President Trump]and, “If they want to court-martial me, or put me in jail, go ahead. But I will fight from within. An ‘all-out fight from within’ against the president is the very definition of subversion.
General Milley must be held accountable for his conduct and his selectively disclosed statements. His conduct goes far beyond the controversy of Mitchell’s court-martial. Mitchell pales in comparison. His reported actions, if true, are the most flagrant examples of treasonous subversion by a commissioned officer of the United States since Major General Benedict Arnold.
• Chris Farrell is the director of investigations and research for Judicial Watch and a former US Army counterintelligence officer