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Top US military officer vows to protect Constitution from tyranny

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General Mark Milley

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14th-Nov-2020       
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AP :
In his first public speech, the highest-ranking military officer of the US has reaffirmed the military's unwavering commitment to protecting the Constitution from tyranny in the midst of a chaotic week at the Pentagon.
"We are unique among militaries," said General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, adding: "We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual." Milley was speaking Wednesday at
    
the dedication of an Army museum in a week that saw President Donald Trump fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper and install three staunch loyalists to senior Pentagon policy positions, reports AP.
The abrupt changes have raised fears about what Trump may try to do in his final two months of office - and whether the military's long held apolitical nature could be upended.
Milley's comments, made as he stood alongside Esper's successor, acting defense chief Christopher Miller, reflected a view he has long been passionate about: the military's unequivocal duty to protect and defend the Constitution - what he called the "moral north star" for everyone in uniform.
Christopher Miller was appointed the Acting Defense Chief after US President Donald Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper earlier this week.
Miller's selection was quickly followed by the installation of three additional Trump loyalists in the Pentagon, raising national anxieties around the possibility that the president will continue to ignore the 2020 election results and resist a peaceful transition of power.
But America's top military officer's message at a time of turmoil - Trump having refused to concede his election loss - was unmistakable: The military exists to defend democracy and is not to be used as a political pawn, adds AP.
"We take an oath to the Constitution," Milley said, adding that every service member "will protect and defend that document regardless of personal price."
On the speculation if Trump would try getting the military to help him stay in office beyond Inauguration Day, Milley has pushed back against that, telling Congress that "In the event of a dispute over some aspect of the elections, by law US courts and the US Congress are required to resolve any disputes, not the US military."
He said service members must not get involved in the transfer of power after an election.
Over nearly four years, Milley and his predecessor, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, have been able to curb or shape White House impulses in matters of war. They successfully argued against pulling all U.S. forces out of Syria, and they slowed troop withdrawals in Afghanistan to preserve America's negotiating status with the Taliban and keep an eye on resurging Islamic State militants. Milley joined Esper in persuading Trump not to use active-duty troops to quash civil unrest.
Wednesday's opening of the National Museum of the US Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, was Miller's first public event, and he used it to talk about his enlistment and pride in military service. Flanking him were Milley, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville. All spoke at the event, and Trump's name and the election were never mentioned.

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