Gen. Milley to Sen. Cotton: 'I'm Not Gonna Resign' Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 28, 2021. (Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)
By Nick Koutsobinas | Tuesday, 28 September 2021 06:06 PM
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley disregarded Sen. Tom Cotton's suggestion on Tuesday that he should resign due to the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle, according to Mediaite.
"As a senior military officer, resigning is a really serious thing," Milley said in a testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee. "It's a political act if I'm resigning in protest. My statutory responsibility is to provide legal advice or the best military advice to the president. That's my legal requirement. That's what the law is. The president doesn't have to agree with that advice. He doesn't have to make those decisions just because we're generals."
The focus of the hearing centered around Milley and Gen. Frank McKenzie's advocation of a troop presence in Afghanistan. But advocation of a troop presence contradicts with what President Joe Biden said in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, where he insisted that his military advisors did not warn against leaving Afghanistan.
"They didn't tell you that they wanted troops to stay?" Stephanopoulos asks.
"No," Biden responded. "Not at — not in terms of whether we were going to get out in a timeframe all troops. They didn't argue against that."
During the hearing, Cotton asked Milley, "I understand that you're the principal military advisor — that you advise, you don't decide, the president decides — but if all of this is true, why haven't you resigned?"
Milley responded that "it would be an incredible act of political defiance for a commissioned officer to just resign because my advice isn't taken. This country doesn't want generals figuring out what orders we're going to accept and do or not. That's not our job. The principle of civilian control of the military is absolute. It's critical to this republic. My dad didn't get a choice to resign at Iwo Jima. Those kids there at Abbey Gate, they don't get a choice to resign. I'm not gonna turn my back on them. I'm not gonna resign."
Milley ended by saying that as long as his orders came from a civilian authority and operated within the bounds of the law, he would "carry them out."