Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) attempted to school Gen. Mark Milley during the Tuesday hearing about the Afghanistan withdrawal, but it didn't work out as he may have anticipated.
Cotton, who previously served in the U.S. Army, demanded to know why Milley hadn't resigned after his recommendations were rejected. Milley explained that isn't the way military service works.
"Senator, as a senior military officer, resigning is a really serious thing," said Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "It's a political act if I'm resigning in protest. My job 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."
Former President Donald Trump infamously proclaimed U.S. generals "don't know much because they're not winning." He later said, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do."
Milley explained that were he to resign just because President Joe Biden didn't take his advice, "It would be an incredible act of political defiance for a commissioned officer to just resign."
"This country doesn't want generals figuring out what orders we're going to accept and do or not," Milley continued. "That's not our job. It's critical. My dad didn't get a choice to resign at Iwo Jima. They can't resign, so I'm not going to resign. There's no way. If the orders are illegal, we're in a different place. If the orders are legal from civilian authority, I intend to carry them out."
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