An executive order signed by Trump late Friday may indicate that the Mango Mussolini has war on his mind.
The order allows Trump, among other things, to press into active duty a thousand retired military pilots.
President Trump signed an executive order Friday allowing the Air Force to recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to active duty to address a shortage in combat fliers, the White House and Pentagon announced.
By law, only 25 retired officers can be brought back to serve in any one branch. Trump's order removes those caps by expanding a state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush after 9/11, signaling what could be a significant escalation in the 16-year-old global war on terror.
"We anticipate that the Secretary of Defense will delegate the authority to the Secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years," Navy Cdr. Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
This is serious stuff. Those retired pilots have entered the civilian economy, usually in important positions. Taking them out of airline cockpits and putting them back in uniform for three years may wreck their civilian careers and cause widespread disruption across the private sector.
Counter-terrorism rules under President Obama had been too restrictive and ineffective, Graham said.
“The war is morphing," Graham said. "You’re going to see more actions in Africa, not less. You’re going to see more aggression by the United States toward our enemies, not less. You’re going to have decisions made not in the White House but out in the field. And I support that entire construct.”
Last month, President Trump became the third president to renew the post-9/11 state of national emergency, which allows the president to call up the national guard, hire and fire officers and delay retirements.
Those extraordinary powers were supposed to be temporary. But even after 16 years, there's been no congressional oversight of the emergency.
There has been little media coverage of the executive order as of Friday evening, beyond the aforementioned USA Today piece. Around the internet, some social media users were alarmed at the nonspecific nature of the term “national emergency,” which seemed to hint at executive overreach. In the /r/Military subreddit, a nonpartisan US military forum with many veterans and enlisted officers, debate raged over the ramifications of the order. “Can someone convince me this isn’t a prelude to war in Korea,” wrote one user with the handle "NotARandomNumber." Others were less conspiratorial. “My guess is that this is the most deficit neutral way to maintain Air Force staffing in the face of upcoming tax cuts. At least that's what I hope,” wrote user "TheBigRedSD4."