By Chris Farrell
We now have another “Open Letter” – claiming America is “an exceptionally challenging civil-military environment” — signed by 8 former U.S. defense secretaries and 5 former chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff. The letter is published by “War on the Rocks” a website advertising itself as “National Security. For insiders. By insiders.” The September 6, 2022 commentary is titled, “To Support And Defend: Principles Of Civilian Control And Best Practices Of Civil-Military Relations.”
Why a letter like this and why now? Who instigated the effort to make this pronouncement? Are we supposed to believe the letter was just “spontaneous?” Was the Open Letter coordinated with the General Mark Milley at the Pentagon or maybe the Biden White House? Cui bono?
The letter comes five days on the heels of President Biden declaring, “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law,” and condemning half the American electorate as “represent[ing] an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
Does anyone believe this is a coincidence? Just happenstance?
Such an “Open Letter” is typically used by the elites in the national policy arena as a public signal for something to come. Something bigger. Perhaps even something a lot weirder than normal. “Thought leaders” are framing the public debate. The authors are trying to make a point, and their effort is so extraordinary and unprovoked that it arouses suspicion.
It is a reasonable suspicion. Do you remember how the National School Board Association “actively engaged”with the White House before asking the feds to investigate outspoken parents as domestic terrorists? Yes, that is exactly the sort of coordination we should consider. Journalists should pursue that line of questioning, but they will not.
Remember another instance when a group of former U.S. government “experts” got together for an Open Letter. That was when 51 former intelligence officials lied to the entire country about the validity of all the lurid, corrupt details on Hunter Biden’s laptop saying it was all Russian disinformation. All 51 were wrong. The contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop were even worse than originally described, but the “experts” had already unlawfully influenced the outcome of an election.
The September 2022 Open Letter reads largely like a West Point or ROTC lesson plan for first-year cadets. It is essentially a civics lesson with an introduction and 16 enumerated points. Strong emphasis is placed on the legality of orders. There are a few interesting observations by the experts that require our attention to fully understand the subtext.
- “… the U.S. military must simultaneously come to terms with wars that ended without all the goals satisfactorily accomplished…”
Analysis: The U.S. has not achieved a clear, decisive war victory in 77 years. The military leaders authoring this letter are largely responsible for that record and would like you to come to terms with their failures.
- “Politically, military professionals confront an extremely adverse environment characterized by the divisiveness of affective polarization that culminated in the first election in over a century when the peaceful transfer of political power was disrupted and in doubt.”
Analysis: The peaceful transfer of power was never legitimately in doubt. That claim is an overwrought, hyperbolic canard advanced for political purposes. The authors’ message is that Trump supporters are the problem. Remember: No Trump supporters, no problem. Understand?
- “Looking ahead, all of these factors could well get worse before they get better.”
Analysis: The groundwork is being laid for the public acceptance that there are a number of other disruptive factors caused by the Biden administration’s failing policies that could get worse: inflation, energy costs, the border crisis, record murder and crime rates, etc.
- “Mutual trust … that civilian leaders will rigorously explore alternatives … regardless of the implications for partisan politics … that the military will faithfully implement directives that run counter to their professional military preference — helps overcome the friction built into this process …”
- “There are significant limits on the public role of military personnel in partisan politics … Members of the military accept limits on the public expression of their private views … Military and civilian leaders must be diligent about keeping the military separate from partisan political activity.”
Analysis: Ironically, these two paragraphs should serve as an indictment of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley, whose egregious subversion is the most treasonous conduct since Benedict Arnold. Unfortunately they will be twisted to justify and bolster his unlawful conduct.
What is the real message conveyed by this Open Letter from former senior military leaders?
What is their warning and what do they want? Write and speak plainly. Have the guts to “just say it out loud.” Are they worried Trump will be reelected in 2024? Are they as worried about the sustained, extreme, militant, violence and destruction of Antifa and BLM as they are the January 6th protests? What about Milley’s phone calls to his Communist Chinese counterpart? Does that meet their civics lesson test? The “Open Letter” is anything but “open.”