Saturday, October 19, 2019

Help Me Out Here. Is There a Grade Lower Than "F"?


I ask the question having absorbed the dinner speech delivered by retired Marine General and former US defence secretary, James Mattis, earlier this week. If Trump had been in the room while Mattis systematically shredded him, I think he might have been found slumped in a corner bleeding out. It's a great speech. You should watch it.

Then, over at the New York Times, there was another piece eviscerating Trump by celebrated admiral and former commander of US Special Operations Command, navy Seal, William McRaven.

Both commanders dismiss Trump as an abject failure, the worst ever to occupy the White House.  Mattis quoted widely from Abraham Lincoln to reveal the Ogre-in-Chief as America's greatest misanthrope.  McRaven went further, calling Trump an enemy of the American republic.

The admiral framed his remarks by describing attending two gatherings to honour some of his nation's finest servicemen and women. He continued:

But, beneath the outward sense of hope and duty that I witnessed at these two events, there was an underlying current of frustration, humiliation, anger and fear that echoed across the sidelines. The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within
These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions: on the intelligence and law enforcement community, the State Department and the press. They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, “I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!” 
Those words echoed with me throughout the week. It is easy to destroy an organization if you have no appreciation for what makes that organization great.  
...But, if we don’t care about our values, if we don’t care about duty and honor, if we don’t help the weak and stand up against oppression and injustice — what will happen to the Kurds, the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Syrians, the Rohingyas, the South Sudanese and the millions of people under the boot of tyranny or left abandoned by their failing states? 
If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military? And if they don’t join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us? And if no one follows us — where will the world end up? 
President Trump seems to believe that these qualities are unimportant or show weakness. He is wrong. These are the virtues that have sustained this nation for the past 243 years. If we hope to continue to lead the world and inspire a new generation of young men and women to our cause, then we must embrace these values now more than ever.

And if this president doesn’t understand their importance, if this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office — Republican, Democrat or independent — the sooner, the better. The fate of our Republic depends upon it.
They're all but calling Trump a traitor. Will that have any impact on congressional Republicans, the party that lays claim to being the real friend of America's military?

9 comments:

Troy said...

Oh, Trump has a lot of competition for title of worst. There was James Buchanan whose bungling of secession led directly to civil war. There was Andrew Johnson, whose bungling led to decades of segregation after the Civil War. I'd argue Trump's been a better president than those two.

To be honest, Trump's likely to be a one-term president, unless the Democrats snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Again. They're fully capable.

Impeachment is may be possible, but it feels more frothy than substantive. It's palice intrigue dressed up as legal issue, and will disppear from the news cycle once it's run its course.

The Mound of Sound said...


Troy, I haven't a clue how this is going to play out. As Adam Schiff points out the investigations are only getting started and already rats are deserting the White House ship to sing before those committees. I read an item, I think in WaPo, about a serious decline in support for some Republican senators who are up for re-election in 2020 and a commensurate increase in approval polling for some Democrats who were facing an incumbency struggle. We shall see how that plays out.

John B. said...

Trump's conduct as President has been consistent with form. As a military man, I suppose the Admiral should be excused for assuming that anyone such as Trump could care a whit about duty and honour or would stand up against injustice of any sort. The voters who supported and continue to support him have no excuse but their stupidity.

The Mound of Sound said...


Trump had better remember these commanders swear their oath to the Constitution, not the president. And they've sworn to defend America against all enemies, foreign 'and domestic.' That adds a touch of zesty flavour when they start talking about "Trump destroying the Republic." What if enough of them conclude that the fate of the Republic does hang on getting rid of this oaf?

I'm sure they've heard Trump's threats that, if he's removed, his supporters will take to the streets and there'll be a civil war. I can't imagine they wouldn't want to nip that in the bud.

Anonymous said...

"to the Kurds, the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Syrians, the Rohingyas, the South Sudanese and the millions of people under the boot of tyranny or left abandoned by their failing states?"

Well, sometimes somebody else needs to pick up the slack or even arms.
MiloŇ° Zeman, President of the Czech Republic, said that Europe should not admit able bodied young men as refugees, those folks should stay in their respective homelands and fight there for a better future of society.

Purple library guy said...

Fuck Mattis and the F-35 he rode in on. What a massive line of bullshit. The US has always stood beside dictators, and it has always betrayed the hell out of its allies whenever it felt like . . . we're currently at about the third time round for the Kurds alone! And if the Americans were to stop what Mattis calls "helping the weak and standing up against oppression and injustice", most of the people he's suddenly sympathetic to would be way better off. I notice he doesn't mention the Yemeni. The whole "America that they (military guys) believed in" has been a fraud at least since before Mattis was born, and in many ways since 1766.

Just because Trump is a creep does not mean suddenly the US military-industrial complex stopped being a massive force for destruction and evil. The main thing someone like Mattis has against Trump is he isn't killing enough people. Mattis knows that even if Trump is a military funding booster, if the US doesn't keep getting its war on, the military stops looking so essential, people get less paranoid, and so in the medium term funding might well drop.

John B. said...

McRaven made the remark about standing up against injustice and oppression. In any case, Lieutenant Generals are bound to love neat little wars, if for nothing else, the training and development opportunities they afford their organizations.

The Mound of Sound said...

Ah, PLG, I was awaiting that.

Purple library guy said...

That's great, Mound. Now try assimilating it. The impacts of the US military are about as clear, the facts about as overwhelming, as the impacts and facts of climate change.
For that matter, the two are intertwined. Physically, the US military is a truly massive carbon emitter. Politically, one of the biggest drivers of its actions since WW II revolves around using oil as a handle to maintain strategic dominance, and they have no interest in letting that handle go away. Not that they're deniers--they know what's coming, but they plan to dominate the chaos rather than avoid it.