Milley's China scandal indicative of civilian oversight of the military becoming 'abuse': Col. Macgregor

Macgregor told Fox Nation’s “Tucker Carlson Today” that while civilian control of the United States military is sound policy and tradition, over time those civilians in charge of the military have increasingly sought out commanders and officers whose politics align with their own.

Host Tucker Carlson alleged Milley’s phone call with Gen. Li Zuocheng is “clearly a crime” but more so “suggests a total lack of civilian leadership of the military in a culture that most of us didn’t understand exists.”

Macgregor replied that he wasn’t surprised by the revelation – made by Washington Post journalists Robert Costa and Robert Woodward in their new book. 

“Unfortunately, civilian oversight and civilian control of the military has become over time abuse of the military. What civilian leadership has tried to do over many decades is essentially put officers into senior positions who are politically attractive to them. People that shared their views, whatever they were, and that has now come back to haunt us in a dramatic way,” he said.

Hearkening back to a time before the joint chiefs chairman position even existed, Macgregor pointed to President Franklin Roosevelt’s ultimate choice of Gen. George Marshall – notably remembered for his ‘Marshall Plan’ – and how the aggressively partisan Democrat lamented the fact many of the military’s top-tier officers were Republicans — or at least opposed his left-wing New Deal-ism.

Macgregor explained that Marshall singled himself out as an officer whose politics would be irrelevant to his role and duty if chosen to chair the president’s council as the U.S. Army Chief of Staff.

“So Roosevelt went from not trusting and liking Marshall to not sleeping well with Marshall out of the city. He epitomized a professionalism in the sense, being fundamentally apolitical. And you never saw Marshall used by FDR as a political prop.”

From there, such situations became rarer and rarer, the colonel claimed, pointing to President Kennedy choosing Gen. Maxwell Taylor to be joint chiefs chairman – from which Maxwell went on to become ambassador to Vietnam as “the disaster unfold[ed]”– in the colonel’s terms.

I think what we’ve had over the last 20 [to 30 years], a similar phenomenon, where after Desert Storm– I remember Desert Storm as one of these things that people didn’t appreciate how dramatically warfare had changed – they also didn’t appreciate the quality of the force that had emerged, and so they were surprised that this whole thing went so well.”

“And the generals were quick to rush forward and take credit for something that they didn’t have much to do with, but that’s what they did.”

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Macgregor, who also earlier in the episode explained how his upbringing in Philadelphia’s Germantown led to his decision to join the Army, added that essentially from Bosnia onward, service members who wanted to advance as officers and officers as commanders have to politically align themselves with the administration in power to realize their goals.

“In other words, this interventionism became something you had to attach yourself to it. You had to co-emote with the leadership. All right, well, we got to get those bad Serbs. We’ve got to get these bad people in Somalia,” he said.

“And again, that made me very unpopular, because I advocated the elimination of these large ponderous World War II divisions of 15,000 to 20,000 men that you can’t maneuver easily and are designed for a form of warfare that has long since vanished. Unfortunately, the army since then has not only refused to change, it’s going backwards. It’s becoming more like the 1942 force.”

“So if you look at the way the army is structured to fight on Poland’s border with Russia or White Russia or Ukraine, you’re looking at something that is indistinguishable from the front that we had in the Ardennes in 1944,” Macgregor concluded.

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