Joint Chiefs Nominee Opposes Iran War, Would Stay in Afghanistan

Says Iran would get in the way of confronting Russia, China

Gen. Mark Milley, the Army Chief of Staff and nominee to become the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, setting out his foreign policy priorities.

Gen. Milley was keen to warn against any withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying a “premature” withdrawal would be a “strategic mistake.” He did not clarify how much longer beyond the 18 years currently in would not be “premature.” He also argued the US should keep a “modest number” of troops in Iraq and Syria indefinitely.

Interestingly, Milley was less upbeat about starting a war with Iran, saying it would have a “significant impact” on US military goals of confronting Russia and China. He added that he doesn’t think anyone is seriously considering invading Iran.

Milley urged the US to approach Iran “from the diplomatic angle,” while saying he’d also like to see diplomacy to avoid conflicts with Russia and China, warning China might “have the capability to defeat us by mid-century.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of