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'We don't take an oath to a king, queen, tyrant or dictator'

Israeli, US military chiefs speak after Trump fires top Pentagon officials

IDF head Aviv Kohavi, Mark Milley discuss Middle East security as president puts loyalists in top defense posts; US general has stressed fealty to Constitution amid DC turmoil

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi (R) holds a virtual meeting with his American counterpart Gen. Mark Milley on November 15, 2020. (IDF)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi (R) holds a virtual meeting with his American counterpart Gen. Mark Milley on November 15, 2020. (IDF)

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi held a virtual meeting with the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on Thursday, shortly after US President Donald Trump fired top Pentagon officials and replaced them with loyalists.

Kohavi and Milley “discussed the current security environment throughout the Middle East,” according to Milley’s spokesperson.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that the two “discussed the current situation in the region and Israel-USA military cooperation.”

The meeting came a day after Milley made a statement affirming the US military’s independence from politics amid turmoil in Washington and Trump’s refusal to concede his election loss to Joe Biden.

“We are unique among militaries,” Milley said. “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 Trump fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper and install three staunch loyalists to senior Pentagon policy positions.

The abrupt changes have raised fears about what Trump may try to do in his final two months of office — and whether the US 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.

But his message in a time of turmoil was unmistakable: The US military exists to defend democracy and is not to be used as a political pawn. “We take an oath to the Constitution,” Milley said, adding that every service member “will protect and defend that document regardless of personal price.”

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