On this veterans day week there are a few things we rarely discuss. One is the separation of the military from civil governance. We are lucky as a nation, for the most part the military stays out of politics. While Trump has made that difficult and I will always respect those who err on the side of caution. It is a serious decision.
The Slow-Boil Revolt Retired senior military officers are growing more concerned that the Trump administration doesn’t want their advice—and they’re struggling with how much they can say publicly. Say nothing as norms shatter around you, and you’re implicitly enabling a president who some of your former colleagues believe is threatening national security. Speak up, and you risk destroying the balance of power that protects American democracy. “For the U.S. military, being apolitical is a critical element of civilian control of the military—an absolute in a democracy,” the retired four-star general Joseph Dunford told us in his first extensive comments since leaving active duty. “The alternative is a military dictatorship.”
The dilemma for retired senior officers now is whether the oath they took to the Constitution in military life requires deference to the sitting president—as, for example, Mattis has argued—or whether the president himself is such a danger to the Constitution that upholding the oath actually demands discarding the apolitical norm, as McRaven and Hayden have done. Brooks said that commenting on any politician in an ad hominem way represents the crossing of a Rubicon, and that he didn’t know what might force him to do so. But, he said, “silence itself, like being overly aggressive, can undermine the Constitution.”
When you go to a restaurant the menu often gives you a choice between two or more items. The vegetables, the bread, the starch even how the protein is handled, braised, fried or blackened . Choices go to buying a car, it comes in ninety-nine colors or your custom color. Well, it seems there is a diversion brewing, in Republican minds at least, that the Congress can censure the orange guy instead of impeachment.
What does censuring do? Nothing really. It is like have a teacher in an elementary
school writing a note saying you wrote on the restroom wall. And, the school is in some state you never
have visited. It is a footnote to your
life that no one sees or bothers with.
What does impeachment do? A lot.
Your name is forever forced to live next to BJ Clinton. Even if you are
one who has sex with a pro while your wife is feeding a baby. Impeachment is the Grand grand jury of the House.
People with serious thought and questions who will decide if you get to go to
trial in the Senate.
Just being considered for impeachment adds your name to the list of people like Nixon. But, in this case Nixon is being rehabilitated because the lout in the White House is so much worse. Yet, the very same people pushing censure are defending self-admitted crimes. The guy admits to criminal activity and the greedy old perverts are prostrating themselves to do some serious boot licking.
Joe Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign was the first I ever covered. In the years since I’ve watched him through so many ups and downs. I don’t know, while Elizabeth Warren intrigues me, I can’t help leaning back to Joe. He talks too much, makes mistakes and gets in his own way, but dammit he is for real.
We’ve never needed Remembrance Day poppies more than right now
One can still see red poppies pinned to lapels on Remembrance Sunday across Britain. The tradition, marked this year on Nov. 10, persists even though the creators of the holiday are gone, but I doubt that younger Britons wear the symbolic flowers with the same solemnity as their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. It’s hard to remember something that defies belief, and the further we go from the events in question, the more incredible they seem.
Nationalism is ascendant across Europe, from Poland to Hungary to Turkey. The dormant pathologies of xenophobia and anti-Semitism are awakening throughout the West. Fascists have marched in Charlottesville and in Marseille and even, incredibly, in Berlin. Stalinism is countenanced in the outlaw state of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. China is building a 21st-century totalitarianism.
Bankrupt impulses and failed ideologies of the 1920s and 1930s are taking root again in another generation of disillusioned and demoralized leadership. But it’s not too late to remember the bitter, bloody fruit of those fields and change course. What better time to start remembering than on Remembrance Day?