Apropos of Not Talking About Coups, there is a second, related category of Pentagon-White House relations article that needs to cease immediately. This specimen at Politico by Patrick Granfield is textbook. To write one of these articles, one looks at the generals who infest il Presidente’s cabinet, thinks to oneself “These men are not criminally insane/are against torture/know that the State Department performs a number of necessary functions” according to one’s inclinations, decides that the military is one’s best hope for a check on the Annoying Orange’s worst impulses, and finally one winds it all up with a vague invocation of the clause in the oath about defending the constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is not in fact one of the Framers.
This is not to say that the Pentagon doesn’t have a responsibility to refuse or otherwise push back on illegal and unconstitutional orders. They do. But all that means practically speaking is that if il Presidente orders you to invade California in blatant violation of Posse Comitatus or to blow up al-Baghdadi’s grandma’s house just to show we mean business, you tell him with all due respect to shove it up his ass. If he tries to take some sort of military action that’s insane but technically legal, you can resign. If he Caligulates around solely in the domestic sphere, you can go vote like everyone else. The oath says nothing whatever about “democracy,” thank god: it’s much more concrete.
Admittedly one expects this sort of thing from the neocon-infested right wing of the opposition— they’re prone to Pentagon-worship at the best of times, which these are certainly not— but as is clear from the above Mr Granfield, it is rapidly creeping across the aisle. Quit it. As has been observed elsewhere and at length, if some bastard is chipping away at the customs underpinning liberal democracy, do not help him.
As the most pessimistic person in any given room, I’m still expecting either scrambled-egg-encrusted MAGA hats, or, if Mr Granfield gets his way, a bizarre push to change the blue ground of the flag’s canton to a slightly darker shade. In the meantime, stop writing these damn fool articles. It might not help, but it at least won’t hurt.