WON’T TOUCH IT WITH A SIX-FOOT POLE: Pentagon Is Afraid Saving Taxpayers From Rioters Would Stain Its Sainted “Troops”

There might be horrible blowback if forces used for terrorizing Afghan hamlets in the dead of the night did something arguably positive for a change

The president had barely finished his remarks in the Rose Garden late on Monday afternoon, when senior retired and currently serving U.S. military officers weighed in on his threat to deploy military units to help end the nationwide demonstrations resulting from the killing of George Floyd.

While declaring he was an “ally of all peaceful protesters,” Trump described the disturbances as “domestic acts of terror” and called on local law enforcement officials to “dominate the streets” to end them. But Trump’s payoff quote sounded more like an explicit threat than a political ploy: “If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents,” he announced, “then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

Trump’s proposal was immediately controversial, and particularly in the U.S. military. Some currently serving and retired military officers supported what he said, but many others were infuriated—a marked contrast to the months-long reign of silence among senior officers on the subject of Donald Trump on internet discussion networks. Was Trump’s statement a mistake? “Huge,” a senior retired Army general officer told  me. “A lot of troops agreed with Trump when he [said] he wanted to end the ‘dumb wars in the Middle East.’ Not sure they will agree with him when he tells them to fight wars in the Midwest.”

This senior officer’s remarks followed a nearly public show of discomfort with an earlier statement from Secretary of Defense and West Point graduate Mark Esper. During Trump’s Monday afternoon discussion with state governors on how best to quell the protests, the defense secretary weighed in with his own solution. “The sooner that you mass and dominate the battlespace the sooner this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal,” Esper said during the conversation, which was later leaked to the media.

Within hours, retired senior officers and former Pentagon officials provided a scathing response to Esper that reflected the views of many inside the building. “When his secretary of defense says that they have to ‘dominate the battlespace’ it means equating Americans to an enemy and waging war on your own citizens,” Ray Mabus, Navy secretary under former President Barack Obama told Politico.

“This is just a really bad look and, honestly, I think it’s an embarrassment. It’s unnecessarily inflammatory. We should be looking for a way to deescalate the situation, not make it worse,” retired Col. Kevin Benson, a West Point graduate and former director of the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies, told TAC. “It made my head spin. What in the world is the Secdef doing talking about our own cities as battlespaces?”

Pentagon officials have since defended Esper’s statement, telling reporter Paul D. Shinkman that Esper was “using the terms that we have,” and that “nothing should be read into the use of that term to denote anything other than it’s a common term to denote the area that we are operating in.”

Despite this, senior military officers claim that, at the very least, the appearance of Esper and J.C.S Chairman Mark Milley walking just behind Trump in the wake of his Rose Garden address signaled their agreement with his threat to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to dampen the civil disturbances that have roiled the country. The nearly universal view among legal experts is that Trump may well be within his rights to do so.

But many military officers offer this cautionary warning. “The statement is controversial and it’s premature,” a Pentagon civilian familiar with the legal ramifications of such an action told me. “So far at least, no one has asked for help.”

According to the act, the president has the authority to deploy the military to states that are unable to put down insurrections or are defying federal law. But according to Pentagon officials, the act has been used sparingly and only when local law enforcement authorities, or a state’s National Guard, are unable to respond effectively to quell riots or enforce federal law—and only after the president issues a proclamation “ordering the insurgents to disperse within a limited time.”

U.S. Presidents have invoked the act, sending troops into the South during Reconstruction, to enforce desegregation orders in the 1950s and to help put down civil disturbances, as George H.W. Bush did in 1992 when he ordered the military to help Los Angeles authorities respond to civil disturbances after the police beating of Rodney King.

In fact, the 1992 Los Angeles incident is commonly cited by senior military officers who argue that the act be used sparingly. “Bush’s order deploying the military to L.A. came as a complete surprise,” one senior officer recalls. “We were running around trying to buy up every map of L.A. we could lay our hands on.”

But military officers also confirm that the simple appearance of federal troops on American streets has had a calming effect, at least historically. When troopers of the 82nd Airborne Division deployed to Detroit after four days of rioting (as close to an open “rebellion” as any disturbance in U.S. history), attacks against the police and National Guard ceased. “The appearance of actual soldiers who know what they’re doing seems to signal the seriousness of the situation,” a retired Colonel who consults regularly on military matters with the J.C.S. says. “That was certainly true in Detroit and it was true in L.A. It’s almost like everyone said, ‘hey, let’s do something else tonight.’”

There is little disagreement with that sentiment, even if the retired community scratched their head over a tweet issued by Sen. Tom Cotton: “If local law enforcement is overwhelmed, if local politicians will not do their most basic job to protect our citizens,” Cotton said, “let’s see how these anarchists respond when the 101st Airborne is on the other side of the street.” The statement brought an eye roll from one retired officer. “[I’m] not sure we want to test that premise,” he said.

As crucially, senior Pentagon officials concede that one of the problems faced by any military units deployed domestically is that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish them from highly militarized and mechanized local and state law enforcement units—a national problem that the disturbances have highlighted. Additionally, senior military officers worry that what federal troops can do and what the president thinks they can do might well be two different things, a view that has highlighted the growing civil-military divide that is now a feature of Trump’s presidency.

One senior military officer was outspoken in his opposition to Trump’s use of the military for domestic purposes, citing J.C.S. Chairman Mark Milley’s appearance, in camouflage, alongside Trump when the president crossed Lafayette Square on his way to St. John’s Church. “I watched this and thought, ‘what the hell are you doing?”

The problems may, in fact, go much deeper—as even Trump supporters in the military, and in the highly influential senior retired military community, wonder whether currently serving officers would push back against a Trump directive that military units be deployed without the express request of local authorities. “No can do. It’s that simple. This has to be a legal order,” one of the retired senior officers with whom I spoke emphasized. “And I would bet the military will quietly, but firmly hold Trump to that. ‘You want us to go into these cities, fine, but you have to cross the ts and dot the i’s or we’re not going to do it.”

Another officer with a lifetime of service, including in U.S. war zones, was even more outspoken, speculating that the military is so uneasy with Trump that sending the military into a domestic battleground would come at a high political cost. “If Milley doesn’t want the military to be seen as Trump’s Praetorian Guard, they [senior military officers] better be ready to resign.”

Source: The American Conservative

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dreamjoehill
dreamjoehill
4 months ago

Robertson continued. “He said, ‘I’m ready to send in military troops if the nation’s governors don’t act to quell the violence that has rocked American cities.’ A matter of fact, he spoke of them as being jerks. You just don’t do that, Mr. President. It isn’t cool!”

Strange days indeed when I find myself agreeing with Patty!

freefall
freefall
4 months ago

This is one way it could go:
Looters start in the business districts which move to the neighborhoods. Soldiers and their armored vehicles follow the looters from downtown to the suburbs. This is when they will take our guns and march us to the camps. We are being set up. I’d rather take my chances with the looters.

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago
Reply to  freefall

If you will freely give up your guns, you probably belong in the camps with the sheeple.
I live in a county where there are 14 registered guns per capita.

freefall
freefall
4 months ago

Very soon, all of your dreams will come true.

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago
Reply to  freefall

My dreams don’t include being in the first real revolution since the founding.

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago

We have known for some time, thanks to the late Pat Tillman, that the whole reason why American troops are in Afghanistan is to protect the opium poppy crop from the Taliban, which almost eradicated it while we out of country in 2014. The CIA needs that crop to ship to Columbia and make narcotics to blame on Madura, before they ship them to Waco.

thomas malthaus
thomas malthaus
4 months ago

‘Tis better to carry a baton and a baseball bat as they can’t possibly hurt anyone: Looting, pillaging, and a minor arrest offense followed by easy bail conditions.

To be a looter brandishing a gun means you’ll likely go down while resisting arrest. Although I’ve seen video of unarmed people shot in cold blood by a cop or two.

It might be the Israeli-oriented training.

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago

It might be simple disrespect for the Second Amendment.

Natural_Texan
Natural_Texan
4 months ago

End the violence.. local leaders do your jobs! Step up and stop pandering to criminals and lawless rioters. Troops in the streets is an admission of ineptitude and poor leadership.. From Mayors to Sheriffs, to the White house!

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago
Reply to  Natural_Texan

When did the well-regulated militia abdicate from its responsibility?

dreamjoehill
dreamjoehill
4 months ago
Reply to  Natural_Texan

I don’t think anyone in authority has pandered to criminals.

The mayors and governors tread carefully to avoid throwing gasoline on the fire.

Racist cops! Sparking race riots in the US since the 1960’s.

ke4ram
ke4ram
4 months ago

When the elected governors, mayors, council persons refuse to protect the lives and property of citizens from criminals, according to Mr. Perry we citizens and our property can eat cake. This is a American conservative!

I don’t like using the military unless absolutely the last resort but when the folks elected will not do what is necessary (their jobs) than someone else has to…. Unless of course Mr. Perry thinks injured and dead citizens and the city burnt to the ground is better than using the hated military.

dreamjoehill
dreamjoehill
4 months ago
Reply to  ke4ram

How many citizens have died at the hands of protesters or looters? None.

Bring the military in and a lot will die.

Your authoritarianism and militarism are disgusting and anti-freedom.

thomas malthaus
thomas malthaus
4 months ago
Reply to  dreamjoehill

At least two that I know of. Two black men.

It’s possible the MSM isn’t reporting other deaths. How many have been injured?

dreamjoehill
dreamjoehill
4 months ago

Far more will be killed or injured if the military is brought in, but perhaps that moment has passed.

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago
Reply to  ke4ram

The well-regulated militia is about as useful as the ARRL or the NRA.

dreamjoehill
dreamjoehill
4 months ago

This article is s rightist attempt to justify using military against the American People. It has no place on a website called “anti-empire.” This website is a real snake in the grass,

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago
Reply to  dreamjoehill

Why is everything that you dislike automatically rightist?
I don’t suppose you’ve taken the World’s Smallest Political Quiz so you can know the true differences between the opposite ends of the totally socialist left-right political spectrum.
https://www.theadvocates.org/quiz/quiz.php

dreamjoehill
dreamjoehill
4 months ago

Apparently, I’m a left liberal, but the quiz is obviously framed from a libertarian POV.

Do you consider yourself a libertarian?

BTW, advocating military intervention against domestic protesters is definitely an authoritarian rightist position. Are there any non-authoritarian rightists? Damn few I think.

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago
Reply to  dreamjoehill

I consider myself a constitutionalist like Dr. Ron Paul, whose ballot access I worked to secure during his run for the presidency on the LP’s ticket. I walked away from the LP when it was taken over by traditional republicans fleeing their party after it was taken over by the neo-cons. I’ve never been a paid member of any political party, but my voter registration as a libertarian in Colorado made me a member by virtue of the bylaws of the state party. That registration was required for me to collect petition signatures in the state.

dreamjoehill
dreamjoehill
4 months ago

I see libertarianism as propertarianism. It has some good points but is absolutist about property rights which puts it ob the side of Capital against the working class.

I wonder how many alleged libertarians support gunning down the looters and the protesters?

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago
Reply to  dreamjoehill

Any true libertarian would gun down anyone who posed a credible immediate threat to their physical welfare. Have you ever heard of L. Neil Smith?

disqus_3BrONUAJno
disqus_3BrONUAJno
4 months ago
Reply to  dreamjoehill

Sounds like you are a Marxist.

itchyvet
itchyvet
4 months ago

The World Cannot Breathe, Squashed By The U.S. – A Country Built On Genocide And Slavery
https://www.opednews.com/articles/4/The-World-Cannot-Breathe-by-Andre-Vltchek-America_Brutality_China_Democracy-200603-444.html
And this article, sad to say, spells out the realities of the U.S. today ;
We Are Watching The Story Of America Crash Headlong Into The Reality Of America
JUNE 3, 2020
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/06/03/we-are-watching-the-story-of-america-crash-headlong-into-the-reality-of-america/
Read it and weep.

restless94110
restless94110
4 months ago

Time to fire all the generals. The Perfumed Princes must go.

Per
Per
4 months ago

https://twitter.com/AP4Liberty/status/1269263962014507008
“Yes, it’s a real quote.”
Yes we live in a clown world😂
riots=good
protest against lockdowns=nazism

cechas vodobenikov
cechas vodobenikov
4 months ago

likely the militarized US police and the national guards do not require the US military

newestbeginning
4 months ago

^^source The American Conservative…

“The sooner that you mass and dominate the battlespace the sooner this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal,” Esper said during the conversation, which was later leaked to the media.

The battlespace? City streets? Get back to the “right normal”?? Meaning shoving police brutality and murder under the mat? Arming police forces to protect private property and training them to kill first, ask questions later?

But military officers also confirm that the simple appearance of federal troops on American streets has had a calming effect, at least historically.

Heavily armed people on the streets has a calming effect??? For whom??

“The appearance of actual soldiers who know what they’re doing seems to signal the seriousness of the situation,”

They know what they are doing AKA they are well trained at brutalization, death and mayhem.

The problems may, in fact, go much deeper—as even Trump supporters in the military, and in the highly influential senior retired military community, wonder whether currently serving officers would push back against a Trump directive that military units be deployed without the express request of local authorities. “No can do. It’s that simple. This has to be a legal order,” one of the retired senior officers with whom I spoke emphasized. “And I would bet the military will quietly, but firmly hold Trump to that. ‘You want us to go into these cities, fine, but you have to cross the ts and dot the i’s or we’re not going to do it.”

So as long as they dot their i’s and cross their t’s, its all okey dokey? How chilling is that?

Anti-Empire