During his Tuesday broadcast opening monologue, Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson slammed Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier in the day.
Carlson called Milley dishonest, incompetent and dishonorable.
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: If you tuned in to see the hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee today and if you didn’t, you missed out, but if you did, you may have been a little surprised to see Mark Milley sitting there. You remember Milley. He is the fleshy hood-eyed man who is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is also a national disgrace. He is a living insult to the military he oversees.
That’s not invective, it’s not an insult. It’s objectively true. And yet, somehow, despite the overwhelming evidence that Mark Milley is dishonest, incompetent, partisan, and dishonorable, Mark Milley still has a highly prominent job. That’s the amazing thing.
And not only is Mark Milley still employed at the very highest level, he is still lying and doing so with his characteristic relish and enthusiasm.
Today for example, with an entirely straight face, Mark Milley delivered an impassioned lecture about the importance of civilian control of the military, quote: “This country doesn’t want Generals figuring out what orders we’re going to accept or do or not, that’s not our job.”
Oh really? Is that so, Mark Milley? Isn’t this the same Mark Milley who once illegally seized personal control of our country’s nuclear arsenal? And then when that wasn’t sufficient, promised to tip off the government of China about future American military operations and did all of this because he didn’t like his boss, who unlike him was yes, a civilian, elected by voters.
Yes, that’s the very same Mark Milley, the one lecturing you today about civilian control of the military.
It was all pretty amusing in a dark way, but it did make you wonder, what is this about? Why is Mark Milley saying something so obviously preposterous? It has got to be helping him in some way and indeed it was helping him.
What you watched in the Senate hearing today was pure blame shifting. Joe Biden’s foreign policy is a legitimate disaster. Nobody disputes that. But Mark Milley wants you to know that none of it is his fault. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin wants you to know that, too. So does the head of Central Command, General McKenzie.
All three of them want to make it crystal clear that the senile guy in the White House did this. It’s his fault, not theirs. It was Joe Biden, they told us today who forced American troops to leave Afghanistan before we evacuated all American citizens. And because The Pentagon reflexively, in every case, follows every order to the letter from the sitting President, they had no choice, but to obey these crazy decisions.
Watch them explain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): General Milley, it’s your testimony that you recommended 2,500 troops, approximately stay in Afghanistan.
GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Yes, my assessment was back in the fall of ’20 and it remained consistent throughout that we should keep a steady state of 2,500 and it could bounce up to 3,500 maybe something like that.
COTTON: General McKenzie, do you share that assessment?
GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, JR., COMMANDER, CENTCOM: Senator, I do share that assessment.
COTTON: President Biden last month in an interview with George Stephanopoulos said that no military leader advised him to leave a small troop presence in Afghanistan. Did these officer and general Milley’s recommendations get to the President personally?
LLOYD JAMES AUSTIN III, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Their input was received by the President and considered by the President, for sure. In terms of what they specifically recommended, Senator, they just — as they just said, they’re not going to provide what they recommended in confidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Are you following this? Wheels officially coming off, but whoa, what sleaze balls these guys are. We told Joe Biden to keep 2,500 troops in the country. We demanded it. On the other hand, because we are bound by the ancient and sacred rules of confidentiality, we can’t really tell you what we told the President because that would be wrong.
These people, so thoroughly deserve each other. It is wonderful to see them rat one another out, which is exactly what they proceeded to do for the entirety of today’s hearings.
Watch General McKenzie explain that despite the fact that he personally oversaw the disaster in Afghanistan, actually, he had nothing to do with it. It was all demented grandpa pulling the strings from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: I won’t share my personal recommendation to the President, but I will give you my honest opinion and my honest opinion and view shaped my recommendation. I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and I also recommended earlier in the fall of 2020 that we maintain 4,500 at that time. Those are my personal views.
I also have a view that the withdrawal of those forces would lead inevitably to the collapse of the Afghan Military Forces and eventually the Afghan government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: What a dirt ball that guy is? Did you just hear that? “I can’t share my recommendation,” quote, but here was my recommendation.
Take those medals off. You don’t deserve them.
Until today, the Generals and their many allies in government have been undermining Biden indirectly and far be it for us to defend Joe Biden who deserves no defense, but it is a defense of the American system, which works well when civilians control the military.
Up until today, they have been leaking Biden’s phone calls for example, with the President of Afghanistan. That’s illegal, but they did it anyway. They’d be giving nasty background quotes to their stenographers at NBC News about what a dope Biden is, all true, but still, they’re not allowed to do that.
But today was different. Today’s performance took place in public. It was on the record and it was under oath and in that performance, they directly contradicted the Commander-in-Chief. As a reminder, here is what Joe Biden was saying just a few weeks ago on ABC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Your top military advisers warned against what’s drawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, they didn’t. It was split. That wasn’t true. That wasn’t true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They didn’t tell you that they wanted troops to stay?
BIDEN: No, not at — not in terms of whether we were going to get out in a timeframe all troops. They didn’t argue against that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no one told — your military advisers did not tell you, no, we should just keep 2,500 troops. It’s been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that.
BIDEN: No. No one said that to me that I can recall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Oh, it’s not a defense of any of them. They’re all so awful and so undeserving of leading this great country. They should not be in charge of this country. It’s too good a country for people like this.
So here you have the Generals claiming they told Biden the Afghan withdrawal would be a total disaster, Biden just in the tape you saw says they did not tell him that. The question is, who is lying? Someone is lying. Joe Biden doesn’t know who is lying, he can’t remember anything. He doesn’t know what he had for lunch.
Here’s what we know for sure though and this is the point of today’s hearings and it’s the point that matters going forward. No one in The Pentagon’s leadership will ever be held accountable for this, the latest in a very long string of colossal screw-ups that have dramatically reduced American power and prestige around the world and gotten a ton of people killed — no one.
This is unbelievable. Let’s say you worked at a nuclear power plant and one day, you had too many beers on your lunch break and you fell asleep and the reactor melted down and thousands died, and then you got a massive raise. That’s pretty much what’s happening here.
The House of Representatives just passed a $776 billion defense budget. How big is that? Well, it is fully $24 billion dollars more than even the White House requested. In other words, Congress just threw a little extra for a job well done, a bonus for the Generals who left $80 billion worth of American military equipment for the Taliban to use.
Good work, guys.
So, it’s official now. No one will ever be punished for any of it, not for abandoning Bagram Air Base — that was idiotic. Everyone knew it, they did it anyway. Not for leaving American citizens behind as they fled, not for leaving our troops exposed to the attack that killed 13 young American servicemen, not for the drone strike that blew up children, the one they lied about for weeks.
The people who did these things are in great shape tonight. They will retire exactly when they feel like retiring, at which point they will get full benefits and jobs at Lockheed. That’s how our system now works.
It’s very, very frustrating not because recrimination is good, but because in order to function, a system has to be accountable. And as of tonight, there is only one man in the entire U.S. government who is being punished for the failure, the catastrophic failure in Afghanistan, just one man.
His name is Stu Scheller. He is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps. He is an honorable and honest man. He is also blameless. Scheller had no role in any of these decisions. What was his crime? His crime was criticizing those decisions.
In August, he posted this video on the internet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STUART P. SCHELLER, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS LIEUTENANT COLONEL WHO WAS RELIEVED OF COMMAND: If an 0-5 Battalion Commander has the simplest live fire incident EO complaint, boom, fired. But we have a Secretary of Defense that testified to Congress in May that the Afghan National Security Force could withstand the Taliban advance. We have Chairman of Joint Chief who is in command, is a member of that who is supposed to advise on military policy, we have a Marine Combatant Commander, all of these people are supposed to advise.
And I’m not saying we’ve got to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying, did any of you throw your rank on the table and say hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, the strategic air base, before we evacuate everyone?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So that’s an honorable man you just saw on the screen. That’s a man who’s in it for the right reasons, not to get promoted or work at Lockheed, but because he cares about the country and wants to defend it. There’s a man who believed in his superiors, who is not cynical, who is genuinely confused by his superior’s unwillingness to admit their own error.
His confusion comes from decency, and almost immediately, his superiors reacted to that video. They didn’t apologize for the disaster, they didn’t explain why they did what they did. They punished Scheller. They relieved him of his command and they told him to shut up and stop talking.
But he didn’t stop talking. Here’s how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHELLER: To recap my position in the fallout of Afghanistan, I demanded accountability of my senior leaders, and I stated then that I understood that I might lose my Battalion Commander seat, my retirement, and my family’s stability.
As it has played out, I have in fact lost all three of those things. Would I do it again? I don’t know.
My name is Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller and I was the only officer in the entire American Coalition fired in the debacle of Afghanistan fallout.
I acknowledge that I should have been fired; however, the hypocrisy of the general officers who are not being held to the same standard is a microcosm for the entire problem that is going to bring down the great institutions of this Republic that we love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So that’s the man you want serving in your Officer Corps in a serious country, a person who takes his job seriously, who is patriotic, who is honest, who demands accountability. And before you say, well, it’s the military. They don’t have freedom of speech, you’re not allowed to give a political statement. Two points. One, that was not an explicitly political statement. In contrast, 2.2, the endless number of openly partisan statements from the leaders of The Pentagon.
Mark Milley was openly thrilled by the election of Joe Biden. Was he punished for that? No, he was elevated, and Congress, again just rewarded him and the entire leadership of the U.S. military with 24 extra billion dollars.
But Stu Scheller, for telling the truth? Well, here’s what happened to him.
Military brass forced Stu Scheller to undergo a psychological evaluation because only a crazy person would ask for accountability after the disaster in Afghanistan, and then when he wouldn’t admit he was crazy, they threw him in prison, in jail, where he sits tonight.
Scheller’s father just released this statement explaining that his son is now behind bars with violent criminals and how long is he there? He is there indefinitely. This is happening tonight in America. Here’s a quote from his father: “All our son did is ask the question that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud. He was asking for accountability. In fact, I think he even asked for an apology that we made mistakes, but they couldn’t do that, which is mind blowing.”
“They had a gag order on him and asked him not to speak. He did speak and they incarcerated him. They don’t know what to do with him.”
It’s one of the worst stories of our time and there are a lot of bad stories right now.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor