Search This Blog

Friday, October 1, 2021

Cotton, Milley, and the Role of the Military

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Afghanistan on Tuesday:

TOM COTTON: All right. I just got one final question. General Milley, I can only conclude that your advice about staying in Afghanistan was rejected. I'm shocked to learn that your advice wasn't sought until August 25th on staying past the August 31 deadline. I understand that you're the principal military adviser, but you advise, you don't decide. The president decides. But if all this is true, General Milley, why haven't you resigned?

MARK MILLEY: Senator, as a senior military officer, resigning is a really serious thing, and it's a political act if I'm resigning in protest. My job is to provide advice. My statutory responsibility is to provide legal advice or best military advice to the president, and that's my legal requirement. That's what the law is. The president doesn't have to agree with that advice.

He doesn't have to make those decisions just because we're generals. And it would be an incredible act of political defiance for a commissioned officer to just resign because my advice was not taken. This country doesn't want generals figuring out what orders we are going to accept and do or not. That's not our job.

The principles being controlled in the military is absolute, it's critical to this republic. In addition to that, just from a personal standpoint, you know, my dad didn't get a choice to resign at Iwo Jima, and those kids that were at Abbey Gate, they don't get a choice to resign. And I'm not going to turn my back on them.

I'm not going to -- they can't resign, so I'm not going to resign. There's no way. If the orders are illegal, we're in a different place. But if the orders are legal from civilian authority, I intend to carry them out.