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As the election approaches, more and more ominous evidence is quickly piling up that the U.S. militarys nearly 250-year separation from national politics is eroding. Frightening signs indicate that senior members of the military are open to an anti-Trump coup detat. If such a coup happens, Democrats will gleefully cheer it on.
Revolver wants make clear that this article is not based on any inside information. Nobody on the Joint Chiefs of Staff is passing on warnings about what the military is planning. Instead, this article is based on a reading of public statements and events, which are already worrisome enough.
The first red flag is buried in Bob Woodwards latest book on the Trump Administration, Rage. According to the book, former Defense Secretary James Mattis spent much of his tenure in office plotting to undermine the elected leader who appointed him.
The book documents private grumblings, periods of exasperation and wrestling about whether to quit among the so-called adults of the Trump orbit: Mattis, [then Director of National Intelligence Dan] Coats and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Mattis quietly went to Washington National Cathedral to pray about his concern for the nations fate under Trumps command and, according to Woodward, told Coats, There may come a time when we have to take collective action since Trump is dangerous. Hes unfit. [Washington Post]
The Post glances over this incident quickly, treating it as just one more example of a disgruntled senior Trump official. But it is far more than that. This is the top defense official in the United States, himself a former general, discussing collective action against the president with a top intelligence official. Collective action could take many forms, perhaps a concerted effort to invoke the 25th Amendment and have the president declared incapacitated and removed. This would be a coup, and it would be motivated not by Trumps incapacity, which is justa fig leaf, but by political disagreements.
Later, when the President had rioters cleared from Lafayette Square after several days of violence and destruction, Mattis suggested the presidents decision was illegal.
When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizensmuch less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside. [The Atlantic]
Dispersing violent rioters who have already nearly burned down a church is not violating the Constitutional rights of fellow citizens. Make no mistake, Mattis knows exactly what he is suggesting. When soldiers are given an illegal order, they must refuse. Mattis is laying the groundwork for soldiers and generals to refuse the presidents orders. From there, it is a very small step to simply removing the president entirely.
Mattis is now a private citizen. But there are worrying signs the current military brass, the commanders, are steeling themselves to intervene in civilian politics. On June 2, after the worst week of rioting in America since the MLK assassination riots, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley issued a public memo that served as a public warning to the president.
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