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Tag: bob woodward

Hands Off General Milley — He Did Nothing Wrong

What Gen. Mark Milley has learned during his most recent years of service is what most Americans have now come to understand about former President Donald Trump. He was always a highly dysfunctional and dangerous leader, or as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi succinctly told the general, "crazy." Treating him as a "normal" president would involve unacceptable risk.

That knowledge had to be a stunning realization for a military leader raised in our country's traditions of strict civilian control of the armed services. When the civilian in control has lost control of himself — and struck many around him as unstable from the beginning — then the burden of averting disaster inevitably falls heavily on flag officers at the pinnacle of the command structure. As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appointed by Trump himself, Milley confronted the conundrum in the frenzied final days of Trump's misrule.

Anyone who judges what the JCS chairman did must take into account the ominous context of his actions.

According to Peril, the aptly titled new book by the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, tensions with China increasingly spooked top officials in the Pentagon as Election Day approached in the fall of 2020. Intelligence suggested that the Chinese military feared a U.S. military strike, ordered by Trump, who was screaming about "kung flu," which could erupt into a catastrophic conflict. Not only Milley but also then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper sent calming messages to their Chinese counterparts, urging them not to "over-read" Trump's belligerent threats during the presidential campaign.

It isn't clear whether Esper or Milley told the irrational Trump about those contacts. Milley has described the calls as "routine" and "perfectly within the duties" of his job.

The effects of their soothing outreach dissipated in the election's aftermath, when Trump's mad and bad behavior attempted the ultimate destabilization of the American order, climaxing in the attempted coup of January 6. Observing the potentially lethal mischief of a deranged president, the Chinese government went on red alert.

Woodward and Costa report that on January 8, as the full dimensions of Trump's assault on our political system emerged, Milley reached out to the Chinese leadership again. He offered assurances that Trump would not attack China and therefore China need not contemplate the launch of any preemptive or defensive attack on the U.S. The Post reporters write that Milley promised to deliver a secret warning to the Chinese if any such attack was imminent — although Axios reports a slightly different version, in which the JCS chairman says, "We'll both know if we're going to war ... there's not gonna be some surprise attack and there's no reason for you to do a preemptive strike."

At the same time, Milley sought to reinforce the safeguards within the U.S. chain of command, which are designed to prevent a nuclear strike by a crazed president who attempts to act unilaterally. Milley reiterated to top generals and admirals that they were not to undertake any military action outside those protocols that he feared Trump might attempt, perhaps through a lower-ranking officer.

Unsurprisingly, Trump is enraged by the revelation of his top general's profound sense of responsibility, which has put on public display again the utter disrespect and mistrust he engendered in every experienced official he appointed. They all knew firsthand that he was absurdly unqualified to be president, his incapacity exceeded only by his frightening arrogance. Beyond the forced displays of toadying by his Cabinet, not one person who observed him close-up thought he was competent or rational.

In Trump's cartoon presidency there were endlessly embarrassing and outrageous moments — and then there were other moments when an unstable narcissist with access to the nuclear codes could have become a threat to the world. If Trump had turned into such a menace, Milley's choices were very narrow indeed.

Milley upheld his oath out of patriotism to the highest degree, contrary to the right-wing banana republic chorus that ludicrously claims he committed "treason." Milley aimed to preserve stability and avoid crisis by following all the protocols. He retains the full confidence of President Joe Biden, for good reason.

Our flag officers are not about to follow the impulses of a real traitor like former Gen. Michael Flynn, the convicted criminal pardoned by Trump, who urged that Trump institute martial law. Gen. Mark Milley did his duty and performed under pressure with composure and honor. He is owed thanks, not insults.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

Gen. Milley Secretly Swore Officers To Ignore Nuke Order From Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

General Mark Milley, President Donald Trump's top military adviser and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assembled senior military officials in charge of the National Military Command Center two days after the January 6 insurrection, telling them they were not to take orders from Trump if he were to launch a nuclear attack unless Milley was involved in the decision-making procedure.

The revelation comes in the new book, Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, according to CNN.

Milley was "deeply shaken" by the January 6 insurrection, CNN reports, and "'was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies.'"

"You never know what a president's trigger point is," Milley told his senior staff, according to the book.

On January 8, Milley secretly assembled the top Pentagon officials.

"No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I'm part of that procedure," Milley told the officers, according to the book. He then went around the room, looked each officer in the eye, and asked them to verbally confirm they understood.

"Got it?" Milley asked, according to the book.

"Yes, sir."

'Milley considered it an oath,' the authors write.

Read the entire report at CNN.

Woodward Calls On Congress To Curtail Trump’s Assault On Constitution

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward said that Donald Trump "cannot stabilize the electoral process" and is in fact making it unstable through his rhetoric and actions, including his performance in the first presidential debate.

Woodward called on Congress to "step up" and solve what he described as a "constitutional problem."

"It's reached a boiling point," Woodward said on Wednesday. "I mean we are teetering here. The Congress needs to step up."

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The Beltway’s Forrest Gump Takes Down Donald Trump

So Bob Woodward went out and found the "named source" Trumpists were clamoring for: Boss Trump himself.

Following a bitter dispute over an anonymously-sourced article in The Atlantic that quoted their hero calling American war dead in a French cemetery "suckers" and "losers" for being fool enough to serve their country, nothing less would have convinced them.

What's more, Woodward had Trump on tape, in his own voice, confiding to the veteran Washington journalist that he understood exactly how infectious and deadly the Covid-19 virus was, and explaining his policy of lying to the public lest he provoke a panic.

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Woodward Book Says Mattis Feared Trump Would Start Nuclear War With North Korea

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The coronavirus bombshells in Bob Woodward's new book, Rage, due out September 15, are so explosive that they have somewhat overshadowed other important parts of the book — for example, the veteran journalist/author's reporting on President Donald Trump's foreign policy decisions. And Woodward, according to the Guardian's Julian Borger, describes some of the ways in which Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and others tried to rein Trump in on foreign policy.

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Four Stunning Episodes From Woodward’s New Trump Book

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward conducted a series of interviews with President Donald Trump for his new book, "Rage," which is due out on September 15 — but the details are already coming out.

Between December 2019 and July 2020, Woodward conducted 18 on-the-record interviews with the president — and "Rage" is based in part on those interviews. And the revelations are nothing short of explosive.

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‘Cheerleader’ Trump Tries To Talk His Way Past Woodward Revelations

Donald Trump is defending his decision to downplay the coronavirus outbreak, telling reporters his deception occurred because he is a "cheerleader for this country."

"I love our country and I don't want people to be frightened, I don't want to create panic," Trump said on Wednesday. "We don't want to instill panic, we don't want to jump up and down and start shouting that we have a problem that is a tremendous problem, scare everybody."

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