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A Horse Named Stranger

US Politics: Maniac Manchin

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5 minutes ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

Let's hear what he has to say, yes. But then let's not overreact.

I don't think asking for an explanation is overreacting.  While Trumpists and even non-Trumpist GOP members are going apeshit about it and will continue to, to not ask for an explanation would be underreacting.

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2 hours ago, DMC said:

Because, of course, the CJCS is explicitly an advisory role and by law does not act in an operational capacity. 

This is true, but not quite so straightforward See the US Government Manual (PDF) put out by the Federal Registrar. 

Quote

The operational chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense, to the commanders of the combatant commands. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff functions within the chain of command by transmitting the orders of the President or the Secretary of Defense to the commanders of the combatant commands.

His duty of transmitting orders is not the same as operational control -- he's supposed to be just a mouthpiece -- but it means that he can choose not to transmit an order if he considers it illegal or otherwise in conflict with his oath of service.

 

Edited by Ran

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4 minutes ago, Ran said:

His duty of transmitting orders is not the same as operational control -- he's supposed to be just a mouthpiece -- but it means that he can choose not to transmit an order if he considers it illegal or otherwise in conflict with his oath of service.

I don't see any contradiction between this and what I said.  Per the reports, this was not about about refusing to transmit an order but rather demanding to be involved in any order.  Obviously his concerns in doing so were very well-founded, but if and/or how that happened needs to be explained.

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3 minutes ago, DMC said:

I don't see any contradiction between this and what I said.  Per the reports, this was not about about refusing to transmit an order but rather demanding to be involved in any order.  Obviously his concerns in doing so were very well-founded, but if and/or how that happened needs to be explained.

Because orders passthrough him. Reminding people that he was the one they were supposed to receive the president's orders from, not the president or Secretary of Defense directly, is just stating the obvious of how things work.

I've no problem with a hearing, mind you, to tease out why he felt it necessary to actually tell people this. But we all know why this is, that there was concern that after the election the president might do something kooky and it was worth making sure the safeguards already baked in to the process were underscored.

As Tom Nichols puts it, this could have had the effect of basically giving commanders cover to refer to Milley:

 

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2 minutes ago, Ran said:

Because orders passthrough him. Reminding people that he was the one they were supposed to receive the president's orders from, not the president or Secretary of Defense directly, is just stating the obvious of how things work.

I've no problem with a hearing, mind you, to tease out why he felt it necessary to actually tell people this. But we all know why this is, that there was concern that after the election the president might do something kooky and it was worth making sure the safeguards already baked in to the process were underscored.

Right, it is stating the obvious, which is why I think it's important to detail why and how that occurred.  Call it institutional memory or whatever you want, but the alleged actions suggest something potentially above and beyond "making sure the safeguards" were emphasized - Milley demanding he's part of the procedure does not sound like just reiterating safeguards.  It'd be useful to know precisely to what extent that was.

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8 hours ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

What is it you're looking for? Maybe I misunderstanding what happened, but I walked away with the impression he was inserting a brake of sorts within the chain of command to ensure another voice. Not sure it's correct, but it seems like he had legitimate reasons for wanting to do so...

He did.  And I completely understand and support what he did.  Regardless, there are serious problems with what he did, structurally. The US Military is built on “Civilian Control”.  He took steps to supercede that “Civilian Control” that were outside the structure allowed under the US Constitution, with good cause.  But to pretend this doesn’t create a crisis with regard to the Military’s proper relationship to Civilian Control is short sighted.  As DMC said if this were a Democratic President who was being end run by the Brass… we would be up in arms.

If the Military can reject someone like Trump and his legitimate Constitutional authority who else can they reject?  Given the circumstances I’m very happy Milley did what he did, but, we shouldn’t pretend that what he did doesn’t illustrate genuine structural problems.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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7 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

The US Military is built on “Civilian Control”.  He took steps to supercede that “Civilian Control” that were outside the structure allowed under the US Constitution, with good cause.

He didn't. The reporting Woodward provided appears to be somewhat inaccurate, coloring what Milley said in a way that presents it falsely. Dan Drezner provides some good remarks on this:

Quote

The first and most important thing is that I question the accuracy of these anecdotes. Woodward’s book has not even been released yet, so these are reactions based on second- or third-hand reports. Even with what has been released, there have been distortions.

For example, Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin noted Tuesday that claims about Milley freelancing are wholly unfounded... She further reports, “Milley did not try to insert himself in the chain of command regarding the launch of nuclear weapons, but he made sure everyone knew what their roles were and what they weren’t.” This makes Milley’s actions seem pretty kosher.

....

Writing in Slate back in 2013, Tanner Colby noted that Woodward’s reporting was not sloppy with the facts but super sloppy with the context:

"In the final product, a lot of what Woodward writes comes off as being not quite right — some of it to the point where it can feel quite wrong. There’s no question that he frequently ferrets out information that other reporters don’t. But getting the scoop is only part of the equation. Once you have the facts, you have to present those facts in context and in proportion to other facts in order to accurately reflect reality. It’s here that Woodward fails."

....

This leads to the next problem. Based on his prominence in these excerpts, it seems safe to conclude that Milley was a source for Woodward and Costa. It is widely perceived that Woodward’s sources tend to be portrayed in a more favorable light in his books. More importantly, however, Woodward’s sources tend to be portrayed as pivotal to the narrative. Just as Colin Powell was at the center of Woodward’s “The Commanders,” Milley seems to be at the center of “Peril.”

This raises some doubts in my mind about whether Milley’s actions were as monumental as portrayed in the book. I do not doubt that he contacted his Chinese counterpart and that he reminded senior officers about following the law and consulting with Milley before taking military action. But the China calls appear to have been entirely by the book, and the nuclear consultations appear to be, as the Naval War College’s Tom Nichols puts it: “Milley’s way of giving top cover to other officers in case Trump tried to issue a direct order to someone to do something nutty.” Interesting, but perhaps less groundbreaking than the initial reports suggested.

I think his read on this one is right. Milley has been at pains to toe the line in public, why would he suddenly present himself doing outrageous stuff to Woodward and Costa? I fully buy that Woodward and Costa have decontextualized the events too much and made it all seem much more dramatic than it was.

 

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44 minutes ago, Ran said:

He didn't. The reporting Woodward provided appears to be somewhat inaccurate, coloring what Milley said in a way that presents it falsely. Dan Drezner provides some good remarks on this:

I think his read on this one is right. Milley has been at pains to toe the line in public, why would he suddenly present himself doing outrageous stuff to Woodward and Costa? I fully buy that Woodward and Costa have decontextualized the events too much and made it all seem much more dramatic than it was.

 

Fair.  I haven’t read the book.  And regardless I support Milley’s actions even if they are as portrayed.  I’m pointing out, however, that this is a potential problem and we don’t want the US Military acting as the gatekeeper for civilian decisions.  

Milley was, and is, walking a tightrope. 

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

He didn't. The reporting Woodward provided appears to be somewhat inaccurate, coloring what Milley said in a way that presents it falsely. Dan Drezner provides some good remarks on this:

I stopped reading Woodward's books after his trilogy on Dubya ("Bush at War").  My main issue is he tends towards tedious overwriting, but it's also certainly true he tends towards exaggeration.  That's hardly unique among political reporters, but what's particularly striking with Woodward is his habit of recreating conversations in somewhat fantastical detail when it's clear there's no way he could be privy to such specificity (not to mention the dialogue often comes off quite unrealistic).

That may well be the case, but it's pretty clear the reporting in the excerpts at least is rooted in truth - otherwise the Pentagon would have issued denials or at least provided a more forceful response.  There seems to be an underlying assumption here that Milley should have it both ways.  But, if his actions were this benign and just blown out of proportion, then he should have no problem explaining himself on the 28th. 

To be clear, this isn't about castigating Milley.  On the contrary, if he took extraordinary steps because of how unstable he and others thought Trump was, we need to know what actions they thought were necessary to better advise future behavior in such circumstances.

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26 minutes ago, DMC said:

I stopped reading Woodward's books after his trilogy on Dubya ("Bush at War").  My main issue is he tends towards tedious overwriting, but it's also certainly true he tends towards exaggeration.  That's hardly unique among political reporters, but what's particularly striking with Woodward is his habit of recreating conversations in somewhat fantastical detail when it's clear there's no way he could be privy to such specificity (not to mention the dialogue often comes off quite unrealistic).

That may well be the case, but it's pretty clear the reporting in the excerpts at least is rooted in truth - otherwise the Pentagon would have issued denials or at least provided a more forceful response.  There seems to be an underlying assumption here that Milley should have it both ways.  But, if his actions were this benign and just blown out of proportion, then he should have no problem explaining himself on the 28th. 

To be clear, this isn't about castigating Milley.  On the contrary, if he took extraordinary steps because of how unstable he and others thought Trump was, we need to know what actions they thought were necessary to better advise future behavior in such circumstances.

Well said.

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So let me try follow this, Mr. DMC. You want either a Democrat led House or Senate to open an investigation, with hearings, into how someone tried to prevent Republicans (one in particular) from potentially destroying the planet of Earth out of pure spite?

Do you hate the very concept of having a non-Republican controlled government or is the incineration of any and all hope for slowing down the erosion of democracy in more than half the country a fair price to pay to answer your idle questions about some shit that didn't even end up happening? 

I'll take my answer off the air.

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While it's depressing to see the fencing go up around the Capitol, it is rather funny that these conspiracy theorists have effectively made it impossible to ever organize anything again because there's always the threat in their minds that it's a trap meant to arrest them all.

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18 minutes ago, Babblebauble said:

So let me try follow this, Mr. DMC. You want either a Democrat led House or Senate to open an investigation, with hearings, into how someone tried to prevent Republicans (one in particular) from potentially destroying the planet of Earth out of pure spite?

When did I say I wanted an "investigation."  Milley was already scheduled to testify before the Armed Services committee on the 28th, that's why I keep mentioning it.  That he's going to get grilled on this during that hearing isn't about my personal preference, it's simply a fact.

I'm not sure if I should take you second paragraph seriously, but you seem to be asserting that Milley informing the public about how worried he was Trump was going to destroy democracy - and what steps he took to prevent that - would somehow aid in destroying democracy.  That's some truly Alice in Wonderland logic.

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2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Fair.  I haven’t read the book.  And regardless I support Milley’s actions even if they are as portrayed.  I’m pointing out, however, that this is a potential problem and we don’t want the US Military acting as the gatekeeper for civilian decisions.  

Milley was, and is, walking a tightrope. 

Correct me if I am wrong but do not military personnel swear an oath to defend the constitution of the United States? If there is a conflict between his Commander in Chief and his oath would not his oath take precedence?

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If people READ what is in the book, one will see Milley did do everything by the book, and did not destroy the democracy of the red, white and blue (but not black!) America!

It was Barack Obama who did it. Ben Shapiro has so informed us.

https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-barack-obama-killed-rock-and-roll-daily-wire-20210916-seuirdpbongozfzngbhdatvijq-story.html

 

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2 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Correct me if I am wrong but do not military personnel swear an oath to defend the constitution of the United States? If there is a conflict between his Commander in Chief and his oath would not his oath take precedence?

Yes.  Here’s the problem.  They are members of the military.  The President, like it or not, is the highest ranking military official in the United States.  

If all Milley did was remind everyone of their oath that’s one thing.  If he actively attempted to countermand or undercut the President (who was absolutely problematic make no mistake) he stepped beyond his perview.  Understandably, and with good cause, but that isn’t his role.

If a President is going rogue that’s a political question and exactly what the 25th Amendment exists for.  Unfortunately, for the US the 25th presumes the political class and President’s cabinet will put the good of the Nation above politics.  

My ultimate point is that we have a structural problem and expecting the Military to defy civilian authorities is not the way to fix that structural problem.

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

When did I say I wanted an "investigation."  Milley was already scheduled to testify before the Armed Services committee on the 28th, that's why I keep mentioning it.  That he's going to get grilled on this during that hearing isn't about my personal preference, it's simply a fact.

I'm not sure if I should take you second paragraph seriously, but you seem to be asserting that Milley informing the public about how worried he was Trump was going to destroy democracy - and what steps he took to prevent that - would somehow aid in destroying democracy.  That's some truly Alice in Wonderland logic.

Ya got me. :spank: I'm getting lazy in my advanced age.

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22 minutes ago, Zorral said:

If people READ what is in the book, one will see Milley did do everything by the book, and did not destroy the democracy of the red, white and blue (but not black!) America!

It was Barack Obama who did it. Ben Shapiro has so informed us.

https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-barack-obama-killed-rock-and-roll-daily-wire-20210916-seuirdpbongozfzngbhdatvijq-story.html

 

I wish we had a :facepalm: emoji.

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