Sun May 16 22:27:14 +0000 2021

💥 NEW — Off the rails: Inside Trump’s final-weeks campaign to withdraw the U.S. military from engagements around the world

A week after the election, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller received a stunning order, signed by Trump, seemingly out of nowhere:

All U.S. military forces were to be withdrawn from Somalia by Dec. 31 and from Afghanistan by Jan. 15.

Top military brass, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, were appalled.

This was not the way to conduct policy — with no consultation, no input, no process for gaming out consequences or offering alternatives.

The U.S. government's top national security leaders soon realized they were dealing with an off-the-books operation by the commander in chief himself.

The episode culminated, as had become a pattern in the Trump presidency, with his ambitions to withdraw U.S. military presence subdued, slow-rolled and detoured by military leaders.

When it came down to it, Trump was indecisive. In the view of top officials, he did not seem to want to own the consequences of a precipitous withdrawal.

This allowed the Pentagon to dismiss his tweets and rants and maintain the status quo.

👇 Read more, including how senior officials deliberately deceived Trump, plus a remarkable incident in early December where classified intercepts led officials to believe Mark Milley was undercutting civilian leadership of the Pentagon.

Sun May 16 22:32:27 +0000 2021