(Originally published on Feb 2nd. Republished on Feb 4th)
As a vet, please listen when I say Trump can order the military to execute terrible operations & they HAVE to carry them out unless it is illegal or they will be relieved of duty for insubordination. This means honorable generals are stuck in a no win situation: follow Trump/Bannon’s orders to do terrible things as they move forward with their coup or be replaced by someone who will.
Trump is the Commander in Chief. Soldiers take an oath to follow his orders no matter how dumb or deadly as long as they are not illegal. If they don’t follow the Commander in Chief’s orders they face being charged with insubordination.
Take Trump’s catastrophic raid in Yemen. Reuters reported:
“U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.”
As a veteran let me translate that for you. This is a cry for help from our senior military officials to stop Bannon. They would not make such a statement if this was executed under normal protocols.
Most liberals don’t have military experience and may not understand how this works.
(Since I’ve received questions about this point, I’m updating the post to add two sources:
From FiveThirtyEight March 19, 2015: “As of 2014, the VA estimates there were 22 million military veterans in the U.S. population. If you add their figures on veterans to the active personnel numbers mentioned above, 7.3 percent of all living Americans have served in the military at some point in their lives.”
From Washington Post November 11, 2015: “Recent work by Jonathan Klingler and Tyson Chatagnier shows that by 2006, veterans held more conservative political views and tilted toward the GOP.”)
When “the boss” is Commander in Chief, refusing an order is a BFD. See this example about MacArthur/Truman:
“This looks like the last straw,” a seething President Harry Truman scrawled in his diary on April 6, 1951. Once again the commander of U.S. forces in the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur, had gone public with his differences with the commander in chief over the conduct of the war—this time in a letter to House Republican Leader Joseph Martin.
Truman thought it nothing less than “rank insubordination,” and five days later he delivered the shocking news to the American people that he had relieved MacArthur of his command and replaced him with General Matthew Ridgway.”
With the Truman/MacArthur example in mind, I worry Trump (really Bannon pulling his puppet strings) will order some really stupid, bad operation which could kill many people. A good general will struggle with the decision to carry it out in order to avoid being replaced by a bad general.
As a vet, I know how Bannon can wield that power. Most of the other people who know how this works have been propagandized by Russia’s information warfare. That’s because Russia hacked the voters:
“Russia’s cyberventionism—its apparent proclivity for conducting interventionism via cyberspace—didn’t take the form of an attack we’d typically expect to see…It hacked us—the voters.Why screw around with inefficient, resource-intensive brute force hacks on voting machines to flip ballots when you can simply convince voters to do it for you? In other words, by targeting voters’ decision-making processes instead of the machines that record their decisions, Russia could influence the election without breaking into a single electoral computer.”
Members of the military tend to lean libertarian-right in their politics and Russians hacking the voters probably pushed them even further right. That’s why it was disturbing to see a recent military convoy flying a Trump flag.
The military convoy spotted on Sunday flying a Donald Trump flag near Louisville belonged to an East Coast-based SEAL unit, a Navy spokesperson told ABC News.
Military officials have launched an inquiry to determine if any misconduct can be linked to the incident. Regulations do not permit an unauthorized flag on a military vehicle.
For those of us already concerned that white nationalist Bannon is executing a coup, these are disturbing developments.
What to do
As John Stewart put it:
We have never faced this before. Purposeful, vindictive chaos…
No one action will be adequate. All actions will be necessary.
I’m figuring this out as we go along but my military experience helps me see some of it before many of you. Trust me when I say that calls to Congress, tweets, demonstrations, civil disobedience, etc. are the best ways to fight this.
The good news is it may only take 3.5% of the population to topple a dictator – with civil resistance.
I love thoughtful, careful people but there’s such a thing as being too careful & thoughtful. Now is the time to act. Let’s defend against Russia’s cyber attacks & use our tweets, calls & protest “bullets” now in order to avoid a war with real bullets later.
As a vet, I don’t want empty thank you’s for my service, I want you to call Congress and help get the word out for others to call. All it takes is a phone call to register your concern with Congress and we can strengthen their spines. The number is 202-224-3121 .
You can also call the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & stop Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council: 202-224-4751 .
Women and the marginalized are those most likely to listen to their guts and know when something’s not right. We must be the ones must speak up & stop this. How many liberal women veterans do you know? Probably not many which is why I feel a duty to speak up and explain what’s going on.
If you are a vet, tell others who have not served what this means.
If you know someone in the military please share this post with them so they can better protect themselves from the Russian threats and defeat the coup.
Even many who voted for Trump are scared of what’s happening, but his base is still being energized and prodded by Russian information warfare.
We’re defending our country not just from the “deplorables” fake accounts Russia uses for its information warfare but also its “liberal” accounts to distract us and increase the confusion from the fog of war.
Look at the profiles of most of the “deplorables” on Twitter vs. the patriots calling to stop Bannon.
Good investigative journalists can help you cut through the fog of Russia’s Cyberwarfare attacks. I’ve been retweeting their information to amplify their voices.
Don’t waste time engaging or going after the Russian deplorables. When they reply to my tweets I block them so I can stay focused on the mission. The Russians want you to waste your time instead of having you get the word out.
Trust me, you’ll feel like a crazy person trying to get people to see what’s happening but we can’t give up. It’s working!
There’s a reason why the steadfast Never Trump people are so adamant. They chose country over party & are true patriots.
All of this is disconcerting because as the question was posed in Scientific American in 2011, “When a cyberattack occurs against a sovereign state, who do you declare war on?” It’s good to study up on Cyberwarfare since the fog of war has now extended to the Internet.
Time is of the essence. All this below took place in one day. We will lose our window of opportunity if we don’t act now.