A decorated veteran of several conflicts….
A survivor of a tour of duty under Donald Trump…..
An Army General that grew up in Boston and went to school at Princeton, Columbia and the Naval War College…..
And a guy who has been trying to keep the American military out of politics….
Politico does piece on the Army’s highest ranked General who is the President’s, as Commander-in-Chief’s, highest uniformed advisor …..
Where people outside the Pentagon ecosystem might not have been able to pick Milley’s immediate predecessors out of a lineup, Milley is the most famous Joint Chiefs chair since Colin Powell — and without an actual ongoing war to boost his profile. Like the politically savvy Powell, of course, he’s helped himself, especially when it comes to cultivating the folks who shape reputations. Reporters on the national security beat say he’s a blunt, intellectual and remarkably available source, particularly off the record. Veterans of the beat described Pentagon run-ins that turned into long, candid conversations.
Beyond the Pentagon media, he’s also been a ubiquitous presence in books about the late days of the Trump administration, where his perspective on the dramatic events (if not his direct quotes) have been exhaustively presented, right down to the resignation letters he drafted but never sent. Bestsellers by the likes of Bob Woodward as well as Susan Glasser (former editor of POLITICO) and Peter Baker depicted Milley as one of the responsible figures seeking to avert disasters as Donald Trump sought to hold office after losing an election — a time when many insiders feared the defeated commander-in-chief would launch wag-the-dog foreign operations or try to pull the military into his domestic schemes. Like a good Washington operator, his story got out with just enough plausible deniability.
But if Milley’s efforts to protect the military from political chaos are about a deep desire to preserve the pre-Trump, constitutional version of normal, the profile he cuts in Washington is a daily reminder of how far we are from that normal.
At a time of peace, it’s not normal for the senior general in the U.S. military to be famous. In a country where all military officers take an oath to the Constitution, it’s not normal for a general to come across as transgressive for praising that Constitution’s most famous amendment. And while the hero’s welcome accorded Milley in some circles isn’t especially common, the feelings about Milley at the opposite end of the spectrum are even more notable: It’s profoundly abnormal, in the annals of the modern American military, for a sitting general to attract the kind of partisan vitriol that Milley does….
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