WHITE HOUSE — Retiring U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley forcefully defended American democracy and the Constitution on Friday, as he handed the reins of the military’s top post to his successor, General Charles Q. Brown Jr.
“We don’t take an oath to a tribe. We don’t take an oath to a religion. We don’t take an oath to a king or a queen or a tyrant or a dictator. We don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator,” he said during an event held in tribute to his service at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.
In his impassioned speech, Milley made clear that the military will do what is necessary to defend the Constitution, including from enemies from within.
“It is that document that all of us in uniform swear to protect and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Milley said, giving extra emphasis on the words “all” in “all enemies” and the “and” between “foreign and domestic.”
Speaking at the event to honor Milley, President Joe Biden hailed him as a warrior who served in war zones from Afghanistan and Iraq to Panama and Haiti.
“A leader who once ran across a bridge booby-trapped with mines to stop two battle tanks evacuating wounded troops from driving across it,” Biden said of Milley. “A patriot, uncompromising in his duty, unflinching in the face of danger, and unwavering in the service for the country.”
During his four-year tenure, Milley oversaw the 2019 killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State terrorist group; the chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021; and the military assistance provided to Ukraine since Russia’s February 2022 invasion.
Clash with Trump
Milley’s office did not immediately respond to queries about whom the general was referring to when he said, “We don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator.” But some observers believed his vow to profess no loyalty to such a person was a thinly veiled reference to Biden’s predecessor, who is seeking to return to office and holds a commanding lead in the polls among Republican presidential nomination candidates.
“It does sound like he means President [Donald] Trump,” said Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow specializing in U.S. defense strategy at the Brookings Institution.
Source : VOA News