As we march inevitably closer to the election, it seems that more people are sensing blood in the water. The military, long a stronghold of "Republican Values" and conservatism, continues to be dismayed by the current commander-in-chief.
Johnnie Edward Wilson is a retired United States Army four-star general who served as commanding general, United States Army Materiel Command from 1996 to 1999. He also served as the 25th chief of ordnance for the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps.
As we limp into the ninth month of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the United States tragically leads the world in total number of cases and deaths -- more than 200,000 lives cut short by this disease that we could have confronted earlier and more aggressively.
I'm struck by how the president appears to have given up on winning this war and, in fact, has abandoned the battlefield. Despite the happy talk by administration officials, the White House can't elude one a nagging fact: Under Donald Trump's leadership, the United States has suffered one-quarter of the world's COVID-19 deaths, despite having only 4% of its population.
Most of the industrialized nations, through sound public policy and steadfast leadership, have done far better at protecting their citizens from this deadly virus. On days when 909 Americans die from COVID-19, Canada loses just six. So much winning ...
In March, Trump told reporters he likened himself to "a wartime president" in the fight to contain the coronavirus. In my 38 years of Army service, I've seen wartime leadership, and what this president is doing isn't it. Today, Trump is failing every leadership test.
In a crisis, we expect leaders to show us a vision of a better future and then chart a path to get us there. In Trump's America, astoundingly, there's no strategy to overcome this pandemic. Since any realistic plan would start with acknowledging our failures, the White House has instead pretended that the coronavirus is behind us, undermining any public health expert who dares tell the truth or suggests hardships ahead.
In past times of strife, presidents have inspired Americans to make great personal sacrifices in support of national causes. During World War II, 16 million served in uniform, and every citizen supported the war effort in some way. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not downplay the enormous challenges the country faced against two powerful enemies. He told the American people the truth, and they responded heroically. Past wartime presidents rolled up their sleeves and worked to the point of exhaustion to see us through crises. Trump plays golf while Americans suffer and die.
Despite our tradition of individualism, Americans have always worked together to overcome hardships. Instead of harnessing this community spirit to encourage mask wearing and social distancing, Trump did the opposite. Inexplicably, he seized upon these modest and necessary public health practices to further divide an already polarized America. Even today, despite overwhelming consensus that masks save lives, Trump mocks them at his rallies, putting his most loyal supporters and their families at risk.
Of course there's more - read the whole article here.
And while we all hope that the election will proceed in the usual manner, with Captain Chaos in the White House, it seems unlikely. I've long been an advocate of military intervention, as all servicemembers pledge to "Preserve, Protect, and Defend the Constitution"....but it seems the military has other ideas
. Of course the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was appointed by Trump, so there is that.
The military is committed to its long apolitical tradition, so there is "zero" chance that troops will be sent into the streets in the event of disputed results in the November presidential election, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said Monday.
"There's no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election. Zero. There is no role there," he said in an interview with National Public Radio's Steve Inskeep that aired early Monday.
"We have established a very long 240-year tradition of an apolitical military that does not get involved in domestic politics," Milley said.
He added that he is confident the courts, Congress and local authorities are prepared to handle a contested election outcome in the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
"Of all the countries in the world, I think that we are the only one or at least one of the very few that swears an oath of allegiance to an idea that's embedded in a document called the U.S. Constitution," Milley said. "We don't swear an oath of allegiance to an individual, a king, a queen, a president or anything else. We don't swear an oath of allegiance to a country, for that matter. We don't swear an oath of allegiance to a flag, a tribe, a religion or any of that [but rather to a cherished set of ideas]."
The prospect of a disputed election has been brought up repeatedly by Trump, who has questioned the validity of mail-in ballots and suggested that he might not accept the results if he loses.
When asked at a Sept. 23 White House news conference whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, Trump said, "Well, we're going to have to see what happens. You know that. I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots."
But Milley isn't worried.
"This isn't the first time that someone has suggested that there might be a contested election," he said. "And if there is, it'll be handled appropriately by the courts and by the U.S. Congress."
We'll have to see how this all plays out.