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OMFG, we needed a Jaime Lannister after all.

Before I begin, I have some new things on my plate at work. All good but it means I need to spend some time in rapid learning mode. So posts from me might be spotty for a couple of weeks.

Now onto the fireworks.

General Mark Milley had to reassure his counterpart in China that he wasn’t going to let Trump nuke them.

Take that in. Breathe its unsubtle aroma.

This news is coming from Bob Woodward (natch) in his new book Peril.

Here’s the scoop:

One call took place on Oct. 30, 2020, four days before the election that unseated President Trump, and the other on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the Capitol siege carried out by his supporters in a quest to cancel the vote.

The first call was prompted by Milley’s review of intelligence suggesting the Chinese believed the United States was preparing to attack. That belief, the authors write, was based on tensions over military exercises in the South China Sea, and deepened by Trump’s belligerent rhetoric toward China.

“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley told him. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”

In the book’s account, Milley went so far as to pledge he would alert his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, stressing the rapport they’d established through a backchannel. “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

Wasn’t that nice. At least we would call them in advance before we blasted Beijing.

Didn’t Mary Trump allude to something like this? Donald can’t tolerate the idea that in some universe in the space time continuum, he loses anything to anyone. It doesn’t happen. Ever. So he’s likely to lash out either from anger or retribution or just because he’s still a brat and a bully and he doesn’t care about people who are not him and may not actually exist anyway.

I know that the Cult of Trump will claim “there was a reason why Trump wanted to plunge us all into a nuclear winter and we just don’t know what it is but if we did, we would see him as the steadfast, patriotic, principled strong guy that would have put the fear of god into all our enemies. Why are we picking on him?? Leave Donald Trump Aloooone!!, you stupid commie liberals. You just wanted China to win because you love socialism blah-blah-blah.”

And anyway, he was only kidding. He wasn’t serious about nuking the Chinese. {{they roll their eyes}}

Wait for it. You know it’s coming. Somehow, they’re going to spin this. Mark Milley was a failure. He’s disgruntled. He begged Trump for a job. He’s a never Trumper. He’s a secret Democrat.

Technically, General Milley didn’t have the power or authority to run interference or prevent Trump from doing whatever he wanted. He was a Jaime Lannister watching the mad king unravel, ready to set the world on fire. If Milley had to override the president without constitutional authority, if he was successful, only Milley’s reputation would suffer.

No one would be around to do a retrospective on the alternate outcome.

27 Responses

  1. Trump is beyond pathological. He has no limits. He threw rocks at babies when he was young. He would kill anyone who he thought was in his way. He knew that the goal of the insurrectionists was to kill Pelosi. I always feared this, or China or someone else carrying out a strike against us before we struck them. This is the person that 60% of Republicans say they want to lead their party.

  2. Off topic: 22 years (and a day) have passed, but I still miss the Moon. 😉

  3. Good career news!

  4. Well, IIRC under the UCMJ soldiers are obligated to refuse an illegal order. Aggressive war is a crime under the UN Charter, which was ratified by the US in August, 1945 and therefore has the full force of Federal law, so ordering an unprovoked attack against China would surely be an illegal order, right?

    The implications for George Bush are left as an exercise for the reader.

    • Yes, Milley could refuse an illegal order but the launch codes and activation process is out of his hands constitutionally. Milley was trying to circumvent that. Milley asked the other military support staff to not cooperate if Trump decided to launch. Milley’s meeting with the others is referenced in the WaPo article. It is implied that milley would have had to physically constrain him from doing something reckless and catastrophic and was prepared to do it. It really was a Jamie Lannister moment. That’s why people like Rubio are infuriated that milley was going to override fearless leader and not defer to Trump’s authority. And it’s ok if Rubio feels that way. In fact, it’s lucky that he has the privilege that he can clench his tiny fists and stamp and splutter about it. He’s still alive and it’s a free country.
      But the fact that it was Milley who had to reassure the Chinese TWICE that we weren’t going to launch a pre-emotive attack should give us all the willies.

      • Two small observations:

        1) There’s nothing in the Constitution about launch codes, obviously. The President’s authority to launch comes from his status as Commander-in Chief and the chain of command. The order to launch is still an order, and it’s possible for that order to be illegal. He’s not a king.

        2) This is not the only time this has happened: https://time.com/5388648/watergate-nixon-anonymous-op-ed/. In fact, there were at least two occasions when the Joint Chiefs were instructed to ignore launch orders from Nixon, because he was drunk.

        And good news: Newsom’s recall appears to have failed. Baruch Hashem.

        • I think what they are referring to as far as the constitution is concerned is the Commander in Chief clause. It’s interpreted to mean that the military can not supercede any decision made by the civilian head of the executive branch.
          Mark Milley does not have the authority to block a launch if trump wanted to start one. The authority to launch a nuclear weapon is given to the president, not Mark Milley. It makes milley a passive bystander in that scenario. He can advise but he can’t stop him.
          I know that Schlesinger did the same thing with Nixon. But as bad as Nixon was, he was significantly more presidential and less psychopathic than Trump. Nixon had a pretty good sense of reality even if it was not working in his favor. Trump lives in a totally different reality. It’s the difference between despair and mania. Nixon gave up comparatively easily. Trump will never give up. So I get why Schlesinger did what he did because the situation was unprecedented.
          Trump on the other hand is extremely dangerous and Milley saw proof of that daily. The fact that he had to call Li in China twice suggests that we had already reached freak out stage and the general public didn’t know it. Damn, it’s been decades since we all practiced duck and cover drills.

          • But Her E-Mails.

            And 16 years earlier, But His Earth Tones and But His Old Boss Got A Blow Job From A Consenting Adult.

            The anti-Democratic (capital D) Purity Left, IMHO, mostly stems from That Damned War. If only the normally shrewd LBJ had been shrewd enough to tell his hawks to take a cold shower…

        • Who’s Baruch Hashem?

          (Remember, you’re talking to a non-elite white Southerner here.) 😛

          • If only there was a way to find out. Like an encyclopedia. Or a reference book. Looks like we’ll have to wait for the library to open.

            The Google says “blessed be the name” but that can’t be it…

          • Baruch means “blessed” in Hebrew.

            Hashem is Hebrew for “the Name”, meaning the name of G-d.

            “Baruch Hashem” (Blessed be the Name) is a way of saying “Thank G-d”

          • It is the Hebrew expression “Thank God!” Literal definitions: Baruch means “blessed,” and Hashem is one of many ways to say “God” without using the actual word because under Jewish law, that word can only be used in certain circumstances. (It’s complicated!) And, by the way, the “ch” in Baruch is not pronounced as a “k” sound but rather akin to a rasp in the throat (same as the composer Bach).

            Roz in NJ/NYC

          • I’m assuming you all (or y’all) already knew that! But just in case…

          • Maybe we can all be Jewish for one day?. Like St. Patrick’s day.

          • @RD: But if I had used a search engine, how could I have made a joke about it? 😛

          • Right, Beata. Hashem isn’t “the name” as much as it is “THE Name”, as in the name of 4 letters that we’re so worried about “taking in vain” that we never say it and have in fact, over the last couple of thousand years, forgotten how to pronounce at all ;-). That’s one of the hazards of having a language where:

            1) you don’t write vowels, so we don’t know what vowels might be lurking in the name, and
            2) a couple of the consonants are semivowels and they’re both in that name, so we don’t know whether they’re supposed to be pronounced as vowels or consonants in that context

            All of which means that we not only don’t know how to say that name anymore, we really don’t even know how many syllables it has. Somewhere between two and four (inclusive), but we can’t really narrow it down much more than that. It’s certainly not pronounced the way the JWs do, because there is no “J” sound in Hebrew (which RD may find amusing).

          • And as far as being Jewish for one day is concerned, tonight and tomorrow would probably be a good one to pick. 😉

            Anyway, Lenny Bruce once said that his mom believed that everyone is really Jewish, so welcome to the tribe.

          • But IBW, I couldn’t pass up the joke about waiting until the library was open to go look it up. It went right over the heads of anyone under the age of 35.

        • I was wrong in my earlier serious concerns that Newsom would lose, based on a SUSA poll about five weeks ago that showed him trailing by about six points. Usually when an incumbent is behind in such circumstances,, he does not catch up; and we had the Davis recall as precedent in this state.. But here the poll must have been very wrong. Also, Democrats in California did a great job in framing the issues, Newsom and Democratic leaders blanketed the airwaves with ads, and there was surprisingly good enthusiasm and dedication from voters. We need that going forward in every state!

  5. I see Beata beat me to it! (No pun intended.)

    Roz in NJ/NYC

    • Hi, Roz! A further explanation is a good thing, as the Rabbis would be certain to tell us.

      “Beata” means “blessed” in Latin, BTW.

      • Hi Beata, I’m pleased to learn that about your name. It’s lovely! I think of you often and wish you the very best! Shanah Tova!

        Roz in NY/NYC

  6. Yom Kippur begins this evening at sundown.

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