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Opinion | Noonan, Gen. Milley and Trump


Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 28.


Patrick Semansky/Press Pool

Regarding Peggy Noonan’s “What Milley Got Right—and Wrong” (Declarations, Sept. 25):

Gen. Mark Milley

is chairman of the Joint Chiefs, not the director or dictator of our military services. An adviser to the president and secretary of defense, he is supposed to work with the chiefs and commanders of the military services.

As chairman, he is not charged with determining the mental state of the president. As chairman, he reports his concerns to the secretary of defense, not to a foreign government. His “counterpart” in the Chinese Communist government is not in his chain of command. The charter for the chairman does not include saving the nation from a rogue president. His duties do not include eliminating “white rage” from the ranks.

If Ms. Noonan and the nation are concerned about the potential damage of another Trump presidency, they should be scared out of their wits by the continued service of Gen. Milley in a senior military position. Commanders at lower levels are routinely dismissed for performance significantly less damaging than that demonstrated by the good general.

Jack Hamilton

Silverdale, Wash.

I am disappointed Ms. Noonan considers it reasonable to believe that President Trump would actually start a war with a nuclear power for the hell of it. Ever since Mr. Trump was elected, I have heard from otherwise sober people that he is a protofascist who would very likely defy the courts and the Constitution. The republic was at risk.

I always asked these people: Did you buy a gun and join a militia, or get a plane ticket out of here, as a precaution, like some did in 1930s Europe? Of course no one did. It was all silly hysteria to score political points.

Ari Weitzner

New York

I am surprised to see Gen. Milley call the Afghan withdrawal a “strategic failure” but a “logistical success” (“The Brass Faces the Afghan Music,” Review & Outlook, Sept. 29). Typically, the military relies on colonels and one-star generals for logistical successes. It is the responsibility of the president, the secretary of defense and four-star generals to ensure strategic success. In that, Gen. Milley admitted that our senior leadership has failed.

John Kern

Tryon, N.C.

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Appeared in the October 2, 2021, print edition as ‘Gen. Milley’s Self-Justifications Don’t Wash.’

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