Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley was among the military leaders who testified before Congress recently regarding the chaotic U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
His testimony left much to be desired from a number of critics, however, including columnist Charles Hurt, who wrote that it only solidified the perception among many Americans that Milley is a “Swamp Creature.”
“I haven’t read any of the books”
Hurt was particularly focused on Milley’s attempt to explain why the withdrawal and evacuation ordered by President Joe Biden had gone so poorly. In reality, the columnist argued that Milley was too busy granting interviews to reporters and providing quotes for a series of tell-all political books to bother himself with the intricacies involved in ending a 20-year war in Afghanistan.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) highlighted this concern with a string of questions regarding whether the general had cooperated with specific authors for books with a clear bias against former President Donald Trump.
Milley confirmed that he had spoken to multiple reporters the senator listed, prompting Blackburn to ask if his remarks had been “accurately represented” in the resulting publications.
“I haven’t read any of the books, so I don’t know,” he replied.
In addition to essentially giving Milley a reading assignment in hopes of ultimately receiving an answer to her question, Blackburn went on to accuse him of spending “hours with journalists spinning his egotistical self-promotion instead of doing his job.”
“Fashionably flogging himself”
Hurt clearly agreed, expressing incredulity over Milley’s claim that he had not read any of the books in which he is extensively quoted.
“In a modest town like Washington, everybody starts books at the very end — searching the index for their own name,” the columnist asserted. “And Gen. Milley is a perfect creature of Washington.”
As for evidence backing up his claim, Hurt recalled the general “fashionably flogging himself for the television cameras over ‘white rage’ or dodging blame for losing every war he ever touched,” slamming Milley as “a Swamp Creature from central casting.”
Milley has also sparked criticism over allegations in one recent book that he sought to undermine Trump’s military authority by speaking to a Chinese general behind the president’s back in the waning days of the last administration.
Along with his claim that the Afghanistan pullout was a “strategic success” and constant “dodging and weaving” in response to questions from other senators, it all adds up to Hunt’s diagnosis, which is sure to be shared by Milley’s critics far and wide.