Mark Milley: Deep State Poster Boy

When you're the author of a book titled The Deep State Revolution, and you live in a lovely little town located much too close to New York City, you constantly run into the judgmental politics of the left. 

When they will actually have a conversation — hardly a given with the woke — they say, if not with words, then with their expressions: "There is no Deep State."

Not long ago, I would cite examples, but as neither The New York Times nor NPR nor CNN has not told those on the left about such things, their response was typically to dismiss me.

Now all I have to say is "General Mark Milley."

Suddenly, they mentally step back and have to consider the obvious truth before them.  After all, can there be any reasonable explanation for the fact that General Milley called a Chinese general — Gen. Li Zuocheng — to inform him, in October 2020, that if an attack was coming from the United States, General Milley would call the Chinese military first to warn them?

Clearly, this is a Deep State actor moving behind the scenes to get his way — even if his way means committing treason down the line.  General Milley has thus become the personification of what conservatives mean when they say "Deep State": an arrogant, self-righteous, unelected, elitist official who thinks he can circumvent the American people's will via our elected representatives.

And so General Milley has given us the pivotal moment in American politics that should have come when it came out that former FBI director James Comey was leaking to the media.

As a result, the Deep State now has a face and an arrogance that are palpable.  General Milley is so much a part of the Deep State that he doesn't even think he did anything wrong.

Even the woke can understand this.  I saw this the other day when I ran into a friend on the left named Bob.  He asked what I had written lately, and I told him the aforementioned book title and saw that dismissive expression appear.  I easily wiped it off his face by saying, "General Milley."

He stopped.

"Did you see that General Milley put out a statement saying he was just conducting the duties of his office when he called that Chinese general?"


"Isn't Milley's hubris appalling?"

"Well, yes.  But—"

"But you think this is just an exception, not an example of an unelected Deep State actor in action?"

His face went blank, but he was still listening.

"I can bore you all afternoon with examples of unelected officials using power as they see fit."

"Such as?"

  • How about the leak of the billionaire's tax returns?  The leak of thousands of people's tax returns — including notable billionaires — to ProPublica was designed to help Biden's argument that the rich don't pay their fair share.  This was an unprecedented abuse of IRS data in order to affect policy.
  • How about the IRS scandal under President Barack Obama?  Remember Lois Lerner, the IRS functionary who for several years managed to deprive conservative nonprofits of their free speech rights?
  • Or how about the spying on journalists by the Obama administration?  Sharyl Attkisson is still fighting in court after the Obama administration tapped her phone and got her emails.  The Obama administration also did this to other journalists as it used the Deep State to threaten and destroy adversaries.
  • Or how about the many FBI scandals?  Just think of the FBI's Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who vowed in secret texts to "stop" Donald Trump and nearly did with the Russia collusion hoax.
  • What about Operation Fast and Furious?  The Obama administration actually used the ATF to foment a gun-running operation that was clearly designed to bolster his argument for more gun control.
  • How about the fake whistleblowers?  Real whistleblowers get destroyed by the Deep State; meanwhile, think of the so-called anonymous "whistleblower" and the likes of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who were at the center of the non-scandal over Trump's call to the Ukrainian president.
  • What about the State Department's activism?  Recall the thousand State Department employees who signed a cable protesting Trump's travel ban.
  • How about the many chapters of the Russia-collusion hoax?  Remember special counsel Robert Mueller's team of career Justice Department prosecutors, most of them Hillary Clinton–boosters, who spent years working to trap former national security adviser Mike Flynn?
  • How about all of the leaks during the Trump era?  The career bureaucrat's tool of choice has become the leak.  There were 120 leaks in 2017 alone.
  • What about the fact that the bureaucracy is clearly now stronger than Congress?  Even when they held a majority, congressional Republicans learned that their own oversight powers are limited, so much so that career officials can actually block demands for information for years.

As I rattled through the list, he was wincing.  He didn't have any way to dispute any of that.  All he could and did say was, "Well, they had to do something.  Trump was president."


And so I asked, "And General Milley?"

He just shook his head.  After the decades of failures by the Deep State managing Afghanistan were exposed by President Joe Biden (D)'s horrific retreat, General Milley has become the failed, though still smirking, face of the Deep State.

This, if Republicans are clear-headed enough to use it properly going into 2022, could force reforms upon the bureaucratic state.

Image: West Point - The U.S. Military via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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