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General Milley is still Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As such, Gen. Milley is “the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and the principal military advisor to the president, the secretary of defense and the National Security Council.” So, when the President’s team decides to use Marines in dress uniform as part of his speech attacking half of the American public as domestic enemies, the Chairman bears some responsibility. Yet, he has been uncharacteristically silent. I am shocked, shocked!
General Milley was not nearly so reticent on another occasion, as I noted in “Esper, Milley, and sports as political events.” As Milley proclaimed before a graduating class of senior service college students (O-5 or O-6 rank):
As many of you saw, the result of a photograph of me at Lafayette Square last week has sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society. I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer it was a mistake that I learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it. We who wear the cloth of our nation come from the people of our nation. And we must hold dear the principle of an a-political military that is so deeply rooted in our republic.