The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, raised a number of mysteries at Tuesday’s high-level hearing.
Austin and Millie in particular have been questioned about the chaotic retreat from Afghanistan, and a recent report in a book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in the Washington Post that Millie sought to reassure China about the fear of then-President Donald’s state of mind. trump card.
Milley defends China’s invitation
One of the biggest questions raised during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee was what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley planned to do when he called his Chinese counterpart last month, October and January.
Mr. Milley then assured that the US would not launch a preemptive strike while Donald Trump was about to leave office.
On September 28, Millie sought to give a strong response.
He stressed that his calls to China had been previously reported to the highest levels of the Department of Defense, including Defense Secretary Mark T.
He said he was also in touch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after the second call in January.
“For the China calls, coordination was done first and then with Secretary Esper and the staff of Acting Secretary Miller and the Interagency Agency,” Milley said.
Milley also sought to downplay the idea that this was done out of fear of possible actions by Donald Trump.
“I know – I am sure – that President Trump has no intention of attacking the Chinese, and I have a direct responsibility to convey that intent to the Chinese.”
Milley also responded to a claim in Bob Woodward’s new book that he promised to keep China on alert if an attack was imminent.
After questioning Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Millie summarized the approach:
“I told China that if there is an attack coming, there will be a lot of communication back and forth. Your communication system will take it. I said I will probably call you. Everyone will call you. We will not attack you. Just settle in, it will not happen.”
Sullivan objected, saying it was like giving China a preview of the attack.
Mielle replied that the problem was that the attack wouldn’t happen, which is why he called.
General Mark Milley said he spoke with a number of journalists including Bob Woodward, Carol Leonig, Philip Rucker and Michael Bender about interviews featured in various books on the Trump administration.
Millie also said he hasn’t read any of the books.
Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asked Millie if he felt “properly represented” in the books, to which Millie replied, “I haven’t read any of them.”
“I’ve seen the press, not read the book,” Millie says.
About the plan to withdraw from Afghanistan
One of the most important things in these sessions is to ask the officials directly involved and who agree to take the oath as they speak.
In an interview with ABC News during the withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden emphasized that he did not remember his military advisers calling for troops to remain in Afghanistan:
George Stephanopoulos: Didn’t they tell you that they wanted the army to stay?
Biden: No. No – they are not against our withdrawal in a time frame.
Stephanopoulos: So the military advisors didn’t tell you, “No, we should only keep 2,500 soldiers. The situation has been stable for the past few years. We can do that. We can do that. Can we continue to do that?”
Biden: No. Nobody told me that I could remember.
Milley claimed that in the fall of 2020, during Trump’s presidency, he proposed keeping troops in Afghanistan, and that his recommendation for 2,500 to 3,500 troops “remains consistent.”
“I recommend that we keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan,” General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, added.
Senator Tom Cotton sought to delve into the matter, asking military leaders if they would pass it on to Biden directly.
Both Millie and Mackenzie declined to reveal details of their personal conversations with the commander in chief.
But McKenzie points out that the same sentiments for General Austin “Scott” Miller, the commander-in-chief in Afghanistan, are clear. “I think his opinion has been heard,” McKenzie said.
Senator Cotton then pressed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to respond to Biden’s interview with ABC. Then Austin chose the language carefully:
Austin: First of all, I know the president is an honest and forthright person. and the second –
Cotton: That’s a simple question, Secretary Austin. President Biden said that no senior military commander had advised him to leave a few soldiers behind. Is that true or not?
Austin: Their comments were well received by the President, and certainly taken into account by the President. As for what they specifically proposed, the Senators, as they just said, will not say what they have proposed in private with the President.
Surprised by the fall of Afghanistan
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said the rapid collapse of the Afghan army and government was “completely unexpected”.
“We were completely surprised by the rapid collapse of the Afghan army, which lasted 11 days, and the collapse of his government,” he added.
“There is a lot of intelligence that indicates that after the withdrawal, there may be a collapse of the army, a collapse of the government.”
“Most of these intelligence assessments indicate that by late autumn, and possibly early winter, Kabul could last until next spring.”
“But while we were there, until August 31, there was no intelligence assessment saying that the government would collapse and the army would collapse within 11 days.”
“Many units fought at the last moment. But the vast majority dropped their weapons and disappeared in a very, very short period of time.”
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