I get the uproar over Bob Woodward’s latest luridly compelling book on the administration of Donald Trump. Woodward is like a filthy tabloid version of Robert Caro, and he always squeezes every anecdote for maximum salaciousness. So in his telling, Gen. Mike Milley, Trump’s (and now Biden’s) Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, was so alarmed at Trump’s behavior before the election and after the January 6 riot that he felt compelled to call his counterpart in China and say, more or less, “Don’t listen to this president. We’re not going to attack you.”
What you’re hearing mostly about Milley’s two phone calls is that he was “treasonous,” that he should be “court martialed,” and that he should face “immediate dismissal” for undermining civilian leadership of the military. On the other side, Milley himself has defended what he did as proper and that it was “within the duties and responsibilities” of his position to tell other countries that the United States is not going to war with them. He’s backed by other generals and President Biden. Chances are that this is really a big nothing sandwich that Woodward oversold and overhyped, as is his way.