Gen. Milley: Whisperer for presidents, target in intrigue

In his two years as chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley has been subject to more political intrigue than any of his predecessors in four. Firestorms have erupted around him, which is unusual for an officer who is legally a whisperer to presidents but by custom is careful not to get in the way.

Gen. Milley: Whisperer for presidents, target in intrigue

Milley is often involved in politically charged issues. These include racial inequity, domestic extremism, nuclear weapons, and Donald Trump's fitness to be commander-in-chief.

Milley will be subject to tough questioning by Defense secretary Lloyd Austin during a Senate hearing Tuesday, and Wednesday. The hearings were originally intended to concentrate on Afghanistan withdrawal, and the chaotic evacuation of Kabul's airport last month.

However, Republicans have criticized Milley for his depiction in a new book that he took unusual and some would say illegal steps to protect Trump from starting war with China or Iran or ordering a unprovoked nuke attack during his final months as president. According to reports, Milley agreed with Nancy Pelosi's January phone call, Milley said that Trump was "crazy".

Milley's last week trip through Europe was not without controversy. Reporters quizzed him. He mostly dodged questions or buried them in historical precedent.

Milley is square-jawed and prickly, with bushy eyebrows that cover often mischievous eyes. Milley was born in Boston and has an Irish heritage. He also has a large personality, a sharp intellect, and a passion for military history. Milley, a Princeton-educated historian, often answers simple questions by diving into history. He can go back to the Greeks and cover both world wars. He also explains the context and ideas of war.

As he was facing accusations of disloyalty over what the book, "Peril" by Bob Woodward, and Robert Costa reported as assurances to an Chinese general that they would warn him about a U.S. invasion, Milley seized his identity as a soldier who answers directly to civilian leaders. Instead of addressing the media, he said that he would answer Congress directly. His brief remarks were that calls with the Chinese were normal and part of the duties and responsibilities for his job.

Milley stated that he thought it best to keep my comments off the record, until I speak in front of the U.S. lawmakers with the legal responsibility for overseeing the military. Milley said, "I will go into any level Congress wants to."

Although some members of Congress claim that he abused his authority, President Joe Biden stands by him.

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