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Reaching the Breaking Point?
Author: TriSec    Date: 06/04/2019 09:46:41

Good Morning.

Only one story to ponder today. Our differently-winged friends have always talked a good game regarding the military. They love our troops!

Of course, actions speak louder than words, and we know the GOP's track record in that regard.

But throughout all of it, we've always seen the politicians using the military as 'props'. Perhaps the most egregious example of late was President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech - as you'll note, that came on May 1, 2003. Sixteen years ago. I wonder what mission was completed?


In any case - it seems like the Pentagon may have finally had enough.


Last week’s news that Donald Trump’s White House sought to keep the words “John McCain” from his view during a trip to Japan for fear he’d have a meltdown marked a new level of pettiness for an extremely petty president. Yet over the weekend, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney—perhaps angling for a permanent role in the West Wing—defended the move. “We all know how the president feels about the former senator, maybe that’s not the best backdrop,” Mulvaney explained on Meet the Press Sunday. “That’s not an unreasonable thing.”

But such demands do appear to be “unreasonable” in the eyes of the Pentagon, which has reportedly asked the White House to leave the military out of Trump’s partisan schemes. Per the Associated Press, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan on Friday dispatched his chief of staff to the White House military office to “reaffirm his mandate that the Department of Defense will not be politicized.” In what is perhaps a sign of his lack of confidence that the administration will actually heed this directive, Shanahan is also considering issuing a guidance to the military on how to handle such requests in the future. While he told reporters over the weekend that he does not plan to launch an internal watchdog investigation into the McCain incident, he did say he’s examining how officials treated the White House request. “That would give me an understanding on the next steps,” Shanahan said.

The Navy’s participation in the president’s feud with a guy who’s been dead for close to a year is only the most recent instance of Trump dragging the military into his domestic concerns. Trump, who himself was prevented from serving due to not-at-all-made-up bone spurs, frequently makes a performance of his love for the armed forces, even as he spars with and otherwise disrespects the grieving families of fallen soldiers; brags about being smarter than generals and better at catching Osama bin Laden than Navy Seals; and, of course, trashes McCain’s military record. “He’s a war hero because he was captured,” Trump infamously said of the former prisoner-of-war in 2015. “I like people that weren’t captured.”

Trump has also used the military as a weapon in his culture wars, most notably against Colin Kaepernick and other N.F.L. athletes protesting police brutality and racial inequality during the pre-game national anthem. He’s involved the armed forces in some of his most controversial political schemes, including a costly deployment to the United States-Mexico border that the administration has all but admitted was a stunt to keep Democrats from winning back the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms. And he’s repeatedly demanded that the military curtail its training exercises to throw an astronomically expensive parade to honor “veterans” (a.k.a. his own presidential power).

That the president has been able to do all this without much pushback means he’ll more than likely ignore the DOD’s request—particularly considering Shanahan is an “acting” secretary and can be removed at Trump’s whim. Moreover, the former Boeing exec reportedly clinched his position by implying he would show Trump the blind deference his predecessor, James Mattis, did not. And Trump has made clear that he loves the military only to the extent that it benefits him politically—and so long as he’s not required to travel to war zones or in the rain.


Of course, as Commander-In-Chief, he can order the military to bend to his whim. It would be significant if one day they simply stopped showing up to his increasingly histrionic propaganda events.


 

17 comments (Latest Comment: 06/04/2019 18:25:45 by Raine)
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