What the heck is going on with those retired military officers?
If you're like me, you keep seeing headlines popping up about this or that retired military officer lambasting Trump as a dictator and, in some cases, offering war-game scenarios about how to evict Trump from the White House. These officers believe that Trump will lose the election and then, instead of leaving the White House, he will engineer a coup attempt with help from the DHS and those of his many supporters who own guns. (Never mind that it was Obama who already conducted a coup attempt.) Kurt Schlichter, who knows the military, thinks that if things go sidewise in January, many generals would join with the Democrats.
To understand what's happening, you should start with Byron York's excellent rundown of the fantasies that high-level retired officers are putting forward. In their fantasies, Trump, who has consistently abided by the law and with judicial decrees, will suddenly go rogue and, having lost the election, then refuse to leave the White House:
A number of President Trump's most implacable critics are fantasizing about deploying the U.S. military to remove him from the White House on Jan. 20, 2021, based on their assumption that a.) he will lose the election, and b.) he will refuse to leave office on his own.
Recently, two retired Army officers speculated about deploying a brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division to overpower Trump's "private army" that they believe the defeated president will use to try to cling to office. Another retired officer, a former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, imagined the military in battle with armed Trump supporters, the result being that "all bets are off as to how much blood might flow." In addition, a group of former government officials, political operatives, and journalists concocted a scenario in which Trump actually won reelection but Democrat Joe Biden refused to accept the result in hopes that the military would side with him against the president.
Read York's article to understand the true lunacy driving these officers' speculation. What's worrisome is that, when a group ironically named "Transition Integrity Project" did a war game about what would happen if Biden, like Hillary, won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College, it was the Democrats who wanted to go nuclear. They imagined Democrat states seceding, D.C. and Puerto Rico joining as states, and a possible military uprising to support Biden.
What should make people nervous is that, while it would once have been inconceivable that the American military would dream of turning the U.S. into a military dictatorship (because that is what always happens when the military is involved in a leadership battle), it's conceivable now. In this regard, there are two articles you should read.
The first is Gene Comiskey's American Thinker article about George Will. What Comiskey describes is a class divide in America, with those people who identify as "upper class" (college-educated; affluent; and too good for Walmart, country music, and hunting) on one side, and the rest of us on the other. Once upon a time, that smug upper class included white-shoe Republicans. Many of them, however, people such as George Will, Jennifer Rubin, Bill Kristol, and several people at National Review, find Trump and his rapport with the hoi polloi revolting and have chosen class over political ideology.
Unfortunately, that schism also exists in the military. High-level officers fancy themselves members of the upper class and have Jennifer Rubined or Bill Kristoled themselves. Once you understand that depressing principle, you should read Kurt Schlichter's analysis of the military in the lead-up to the election. Frankly, it's disheartening.
Schlichter says the Obama years did more damage to the military than most of us can imagine. "Americans are unaware of the devastated culture cultivated by our military senior leadership. ... It's a military that puts Diversity Day before D-Day." Moreover, he believes that the generals will fall in line with the New York Times, rather than with the Constitution. The one saving grace is that a military isn't just generals — although we've learned from watching police at work that every military has an alarming number of general wannabes:
We know we cannot trust this generation of generals to stand up for freedom, but I'd like to think that a good portion of the troops would refuse to enter civilian politics in favor of the anti-American left. Yet, I would have also liked to think that we'd never see law enforcement officers eagerly obeying the fascist decrees of liberal poohbahs. The sight of overeager Barney Fifes hassling citizens about piehole thongs made it clear that for some people oaths come behind the giddy joy of power and keeping their pensions.
The best thing that can happen for America and the United States military is an overwhelming Trump victory, both in terms of popular votes and the Electoral College. With that in mind, this November, vote as if your life depends on it, because it does.
Image: President Trump meets with Senior Military Leadership, from the White House Flickr Feed, Public Domain.