Wednesday, June 03, 2020

The Mad Dog Goes for Trump's Jugular

"We are witnessing the consequence of three years
without mature leadership."

Trump's original defence secretary, legendary Marine general, James "Mad Dog" Mattis, has excoriated Donald Trump over his handling of the George Floyd protests.

I have watched this week's unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words "Equal Justice Under Law" are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

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 citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside. 
We must reject any thinking of our cities as a "battlespace" that our uniformed military is called upon to "dominate." At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict— between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. 
Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them. 
Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children. 
We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln's "better angels," and listen to them, as we work to unite. 
Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.
- James Mattis
When this morning I read that Trump's current defense secretary, Mark Esper, said that he didn't think it appropriate that military forces be deployed to confront demonstrators, the first thing that crossed my mind was that he had been told by the Joint Chiefs, in no uncertain terms, that they would not obey such an order, triggering a potential showdown between the presidential man-child and the leadership of America's military. Now I'm convinced that Team Trump tucked their tails between their legs and thought about redecorating that subterranean bunker beneath the White House.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of Lincoln and soldiers serving their fellow citizens, I wonder what Mattis thinks of the commanding officer who arranged this spectacle?


zoombats said...

Wow! How can you say anything after reading that. It leaves me speechless. I think the pumpkin headed shit gibbon won't think to keep his trap shut.

The Disaffected Lib said...

That thought crossed my mind, Cap. I'm pretty sure I know what he thinks about that fellow. He didn't leave much room for doubt.

Toby said...

Notice that the soldiers at the Lincoln Memorial (Cap's link) have neither badges not name tags. Are they really National guard? Or are they mercenaries?

The Disaffected Lib said...

Trump may try to attack Mattis but I think the knife is too deep and he'll only make the wound worse.

the salamander said...

This is a long in depth Atlantic article Mound, think you've probably seen it today.. it really gets after Barr, Pompeo etc and their ludicrouse presumption this is a 'biblical moment'.. few are spared re their willingness to comply with Trump inc.

Also, my understanding is Hope Hicks had the idea and possibly the highly visible 50 cal Barrett sniper as well, but it was Barr who ordered up the mayhem. But who really wants to be part of Trump's fast fading administration and a historic hysterical election loss ?

Northern PoV said...

Esper has apparently backed down. The troops are staying in DC for now.

Trump seems to have no qualms about firing anyone. (I never watched his TV show but that was his favorite trademark line, no?)

From Cabinet to Congress (both houses) to the Supreme Court to the Pentagon to the state Governors to the 4th estate. I don't really see the kind of vigour that can resist this guy.
Yes we Canadians are 'living over a meth lab' at the moment. Yikes!!

The Disaffected Lib said...

Thanks for the link, Sal. I read the Atlantic piece and, no, I hadn't seen it before. I really did appreciate the h/t. As for Barr and the CJS, Mattis said they must be held accountable for betraying the Constitution. I didn't see the Barrett 50 cal. I'm surprised they couldn't rustle up a self-propelled gun.

Owen Gray said...

With the likes of Mike Pompeo at the Department of State, I was beginning to think that the phrase "military intelligence" was, indeed, an oxymoron. Former officers like Mattis and Mullin have given me hope that the term stands for something.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Remember the early days of Mattis, Kelly and McMaster when it was said Trump's three generals had a pact that at least one of them would be in Washington at all times to keep what Rex Tillerson called "that f**king idiot" in check?

And, yes, Trump has responded with his standard "poo-poo head" insults. This time it came across as uniquely juvenile.

Owen, Pompeo is smart enough. 1st in his class at West Point as I recall. It's just that he's willing to sacrifice his integrity to keep his job in the White House. When you work for Trump there's always a price to be paid.