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(128,852 posts)
Thu Jun 4, 2020, 03:10 PM Jun 2020

Trump and the Military: A Mutual Embrace Might Dissolve on America's Streets. [View all]

Last edited Thu Jun 4, 2020, 03:53 PM - Edit history (1)

“There is a thin line between the tolerance we have witnessed from the military for three years and the point where it becomes intolerable,” said Douglas Lute, a retired three-star Army general.

For the first three years of President Trump’s time in office, his blunt-force view of the military was confined to threatening American adversaries: . .

His generals and admirals accepted a commander in chief with what they diplomatically dismissed as a “unique style” — and they welcomed the increase in military spending. His chief diplomats, while embarrassed, saw some utility in trying to force adversaries to the table.

Now, that tolerance has frayed. The split evident in the past few days between Mr. Trump and current and former military leaders over using active-duty troops on American soil against largely peaceful protesters and looters, and his threat to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act, has laid bare the chasm in the national security community that was forming even when he ran for office in 2016.

Back then it was only a limited group of “Never Trumpers” — establishment Republican national security professionals repelled by Mr. Trump’s description of how American power should be wielded around the world — who wrote and spoke of the dangers. He “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president, they wrote, and “would put at risk our country’s national security.”

This week, it was his former defense secretary, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a range of other retired senior officers who were saying in public what they previously said only in private: . .

“There is a thin line between the tolerance we have witnessed from the military for three years and the point where it becomes intolerable,” said Douglas E. Lute, a retired three-star Army general . .. “The minor episodes have accumulated over the years and made imperceptible the sum” of the damage being done.

Mr. Trump’s walk to a church near the White House on Monday, with Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, in tow, may have been the moment everything shifted, Mr. Lute said.'>>>


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