Milley’s big coup-fighting adventure: Two pings

Milley’s big coup-fighting adventure: Two pings
General Mark Milley (USA), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. DOD, Joint Staff video, YouTube

It’s all spilling out so fast this week, there’s no keeping up with it.  For Thursday night, I’m resorting to short-ping treatments, mainly so our noble readers have a place to dive in.

It’s hard to keep a straight face about the abjectly non-credible tale that will be coming out in full in a few days of a supposed near-coup by former President Trump in his final days in office.  To hear the narrators and at least one participant (in quotes; General Mark Milley, USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) tell it, the method of staving off the coup consisted of scurrying furtively around Washington dropping F-bombs.

There are any number of places to read the sound-bites of linguistic derring-do.  Excerpts from a forthcoming book were published this week at the Washington Post.  The Post put up related treatments as well; e.g., here and here.  For variety, you can check out CNN, The New Yorker, and for that matter almost any mainstream media outlet of your choice.  They source back to the WaPo writers’ book excerpts.

Here are a few samples (from the CNN summary):

Milley spoke to friends, lawmakers and colleagues about the threat of a coup, and the Joint Chiefs chairman felt he had to be “on guard” for what might come.

“They may try, but they’re not going to f**king succeed,” Milley told his deputies, according to the authors. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”


Milley viewed Trump as “the classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose,” the authors write, and he saw parallels between Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric as a victim and savior and Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley told aides, according to the book. “The gospel of the Führer.”


After the January 6 insurrection, the book says Milley held a conference call each day with Meadows and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Leonnig and Rucker report the officials used the calls to compare notes and “collectively survey the horizon for trouble.”

“The general theme of these calls was, come hell or high water, there will be a peaceful transfer of power on January twentieth,” one senior official told the authors. “We’ve got an aircraft, our landing gear is stuck, we’ve got one engine, and we’re out of fuel. We’ve got to land this bad boy.”


The authors write that Pompeo, through a person close to him, denied making the comments attributed to him and said they were not reflective of his views.


[Liz] Cheney bluntly relayed to Milley what she experienced on the House floor on January 6 while pro-Trump rioters overran police and breached the Capitol building, including a run-in with Jordan, a staunch Trump ally in the House who feverishly tried to overturn the election.

Cheney described to Milley her exchange with Jordan: “While these maniacs are going through the place, I’m standing in the aisle and he said, ‘We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you.’ I smacked his hand away and told him, ‘Get away from me. You f**king did this.'”


After the January 6 insurrection, Pelosi told the general she was deeply concerned that a “crazy,” “dangerous” and “maniac” Trump might use nuclear weapons during his final days in office.

“Ma’am, I guarantee you these processes are very good,” Milley reassured her. “There’s not going to be an accidental firing of nuclear weapons.”

On to the pings.

Ping One

A real coup-fighting squad wouldn’t merely lurk in the background wringing its hands and practicing its sailor-talk, if there were a no-kidding coup unfolding before its eyes.

This was one of my consistent beefs with the Obama administration and the Russiagate hoax, in the early months before it was crystal clear that it was a hoax.  Team Obama, we were to believe, knew enough about what was going on that it simply had to use any means at hand, fair or foul, to spy on the Trump campaign. But yet it knew all that, before the 2016 election, and did nothing other than spy on the Trump campaign.  (Well, it also mysteriously launched a propaganda theme about needing more federal oversight of election security.  And it prepared to deploy armed feds to polling sites across the land in case there was a cyber threat – apparently one that could be addressed with bullets – or an eruption of fake news that needed tending.  But outlining an actual, identifiable threat that the states could use their resources to defend against, or request federal help for – no, nothing like that.)

C’mon man.  An administration with above-board intentions would have taken election-securing action at the time, if it knew so darn much, so that the American people could be confident in the results from 2016, instead of being subjected for five years and counting to caterwauling about “fake news” and “collusion” and “grave threats to our belief in our democratic processes” or whatever.

The same logic applies to the claim of a coup attempt by Trump during the 2020 transition period.  Nancy Pelosi, at the very least, was reportedly in the loop on the concerns about a potential coup attempt.  So were Mark Meadows and Mike Pompeo, if the book is to be believed.  These aren’t people who sit around chewing their fingernails and waiting for the CJCS to express his concerns to them, during an actual crisis.

There were plenty of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who could have been expected to stand shoulder to shoulder and advise the public of concrete details, and deliberate transparently on actions, if there were legitimate concerns.

The media could in no sense be called unfriendly to Trump’s critics on this matter.  The media could have been counted on to retail down to the syllable exactly what they were told, if responsible political leaders in D.C. had had genuine information about a coup attempt.

It has been blindingly obvious since 20 January 2017 that the isolated, hounded individual in Washington, D.C. was Donald Trump.  Ninety percent of the other officials in the District were in tune with each other and the media.  It cannot be credibly suggested that those 90 percent were running in fear of Trump, and unable to communicate straightforwardly with the people – if there were actually a coup attempt in progress.

So I simply don’t find believable the suggestion that Trump was trying to pull off a coup.  If there had been such an attempt, and our heroes were the stand-up guys and gals they claim to have been, they would have behaved differently.  (For starters, they would have arranged more security at the Capitol on 6 January when offered the opportunity, as we know they were.  But that’s just for starters.)

Ping Two

General Milley is done.  He needs to resign.  He’s politically toxic and can no longer be effective as CJCS.  What American is going to trust him to advise the president on military operations now?

He should have resigned before engaging in the clearly partisan, politicized hot-babbling that emerges from the quotes attributed to him.  If he felt the need to say such things, the stand-up course would have been to urge political officials to take stabilizing action, and resign if necessary to go public.

Kash Patel’s take, on Thursday evening.

Make up your own mind.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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