I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this from a General, let alone the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. For many, Milley being at the photo-op was a new step in American policy. The military is obviously political. Not acknowledging that fact is silly. The secretary of defense is a political appointment and those people don’t stick around if they are ideologically opposed to the commander in chief.
But, forever, we’ve had this farcical notion of an apolitical military. It’s much like the much-quoted, completely untrue sentiment that we don’t negotiate with terrorist. We do. We always have.
But, Milley broke with tradition and admitted that his mistake was just that, a mistake. In the military, it’s so rare to see a high-ranking person admit a mistake, intentional or not. Ignore or delegate responsibilities for miscommunication/misunderstanding and carry on as if nothing happened. For example, in January, there was high level conversations about the US withdrawing from Iraq. A Brigadier General doesn’t shit that idea himself. But, the letter went out to Iraqi leaders and parliament so Secretary Esper and four-star generals had BG William Seely holding the bag like he was the absolute unit escorting the Queen of England out of her hotel.
Whoops. Wrong big cock link. Whatever. Moving on.
I think ole General Milley knew he had to take ownership of his actions in order to be the clear example of how quickly the wrong image can be blasted all over the news. Standing there in his cammies while the President had a photo-op was the Gob Bluthe moment for the Chairman.
Owning it helps. Good for the General.