Some months back I noted that the generals who conservatives exalt are usually the biggest defenders of the political status quo. This explains why most nationalist coups in recent history have been led by colonels and below; those who have served long enough (and secured fat pensions) are less incentivized to pursue significant changes which might risk their own plot. Conversely, anti-reform coups such as in Thailand are pushed by generals who wish to protect personal interests against movements threatening the establishment. Rarely do we witness divergence from this general (haha) routine.
The events of this past week are no exception. When James Mattis was chosen by Trump as his Defense secretary in 2017, I had strong personal reservations, despite conservative gushing over the “Mad Dog.” Of special concern was his affiliation with Theranos, the scam-worthy company promoted to inflate the net worth of a certain pseudo-Steve Jobs, who now awaits trial on fraud charges. More information on that subject can be had in this book.
I also held reservations about someone with so many years in the military establishment now leading the Department of Defense, because fixtures are rarely reformers, and the DoD badly needs some changes. It was also painfully evident that few generals in recent memory have been particularly upright characters, with the possible exception of Peter Pace, who was quickly silenced for his opinions. Other characters include Stanley “He CARES” McChrystal, David “Double D Declassified” Petraeus, John “La Resistance” Hyten, and of course James “The OG” Crapper. None of these characters inspire confidence or leadership like Patton or Ike, but we’re supposed to honor them because muh uniform.
Thus it came as no surprise to hear of Mattis’ recently-reported folly. According to Bob Woodward, the retired Marine Corps general advised former DNI director Dan Coats that “there may come a time when we have to take collective action” against the president, who he described as “dangerous” and “unfit,” with “no moral compass.” In a surprise to no one, certain people are very thrilled by this story:
While it is true that previous suggestions were made for a coup against Barack Obama, these came from random opinion pieces, and not the mouth of a four-star general and secretary of defense. The concurrence of Dan Coats in part with Mattis’ comments makes it all the more disconcerting. Let us not forget too what Rod Squirrelstein had suggested about the 25th Amendment, along with prominent celebrities. The facts are on the wall, and somehow the tolerant liberal press is not cranking out foreboding warnings of a military junta taking over.
If this seems crazy, bear in mind what Trump just said at a recent press conference:
In our system of government, so brazenly calling out the powers that be can lead to disastrous consequences. Should something drastic occur before the election (or after), the media can be expected to cover it up by blaming some extremist, yet the average American will know what has occurred. We can only pray they do not become so emboldened as to lash out in that manner, for it would mean the charade of the Republic falls, and the mystique of democracy is lain aside.