Can we believe Bob Woodward's story about General Milley?
Can we believe the shocking allegations of misconduct on the part of General Mark Milley in a new book to come from Bob Woodward? His paper, the Washington Post, has published excerpts. Briefly:
Twice in the final months of the Trump administration, the country's top military officer was so fearful that the president's actions might spark a war with China that he moved urgently to avert armed conflict.
In a pair of secret phone calls, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army, that the United States would not strike, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and national political reporter Robert Costa...
"General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay," Milley told him. "We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you."
In the book's account, Milley went so far as to pledge he would alert his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, stressing the rapport they'd established through a backchannel. "General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we're going to attack, I'm going to call you ahead of time. It's not going to be a surprise."
Photo credit: U.S. Secretary of Defense.
I already despise Milley for his focus on "white rage" and for his conduct of what became an abject surrender to the Taliban. But I have to express some caution about believing Woodward, who does not name his sources. Peter Hasson of the Daily Caller News Foundation cautioned us two years ago about Woodward, citing
repeated, credible charges — including from well-respected fellow journalists — that in previous books Woodward embellished the truth, made dubious bombshell claims or was otherwise misleading.
Woodward's former editor at the Washington Post, Ben Bradlee, though publicly complimentary of Woodward, privately doubted some of the more dramatic elements of Woodward and Carl Bernstein's Watergate-era bestseller, "All The President's Men."
Richard Grenell has a caution for us today, as Katie Pavlich writes:
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell is pouring cold water on new reporting from Bob Woodward, detailed in the Washington Post Tuesday, that General Mark Milley vowed to give China a heads up if President Donald Trump ordered an attack.
Bob Woodward has become the Michael Wolff of Washington, DC.— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) September 14, 2021
It’s hard to believe anything the two of them write.
Trump isn’t a war starter and I don’t believe Milley thought he was. https://t.co/4KAX8vLQi1
He's also dismissing calls from Alexander Vindman, the "whistleblower" behind Trump's first impeachment over a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for Milley to resign.
Once again, Vindman shows he acts on gossip and innuendo. https://t.co/EnovkNshed— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) September 14, 2021
Mark Levin pointed out on his syndicated radio show today that Woodward and the WaPo should not have sat on this story, if it is true, until Woodward had a book to hype. Milley allegedly was, after all, discussing a wartime situation in which the U.S. was going to strike China, which would make his giving aid and comfort to the enemy treason, a capital offense. Since we were not at war at the time he allegedly made these overtures, they probably do not qualify as treason per se, but they do indicate a plot to commit treason.
The sooner Milley is placed under oath before Congress and required to testify and produce documentary evidence of his communications, the better.
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