With several of the generals whom President Trump brought into his administration rumored to have their jobs on the chopping block, including his Chief of Staff General John Kelly and his National Security Advisor Lt. General H.R. McMaster, it seems that the president’s love affair with the military – the one affair he hasn’t paid to keep hidden from public scrutiny – may be on the verge of ending on a bitter note.
Whatever the vicissitudes of Trump’s emotional state towards the highly decorated soldiers on his staff, one has to wonder how the armed forces feel about their Commander-in-Chief.
The active members of the military services won’t publicly delve into their political beliefs due to the traditional loyalty they need to show their superior officers, as ludicrous as that term may seem when applied to President Trump.
Retired service members don’t have to be quite so discrete, although they often refrain from commenting on the conduct of a sitting president out of force of habit and residual loyalty.
It came as somewhat of a shock, therefore, when retired United States Army General and NBC News military analyst Barry R. McCaffrey broke his silence about the Trump presidency with this damning tweet.
Reluctantly I have concluded that President Trump is a serious threat to US national security. He is refusing to protect vital US interests from active Russian attacks. It is apparent that he is for some unknown reason under the sway of Mr Putin.
— Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) March 16, 2018
If you don’t find this conclusion from a former senior military leader and decorated war veteran to be absolutely terrifying, you are probably a hopeless deplorable lost in the sway of relentless Fox News and InfoWars propaganda.
As a retired general, McCaffrey has little to lose from freely expressing his analysis of the threat that our own president poses to the nation. His military pension is secure, and he has his side gig as a commentator on both NBC and MSNBC to keep him occupied.
One has to wonder, however, how many other people in the upper echelons of the armed forces are thinking along similar lines. In many countries without the American democratic tradition, where military coups are a more plausible possibility, such a tweet might be the first sign that the armed forces are poised to seize control of the levers of power and oust the threat at the top of the chain of command.
As unlikely as that possibility may be here in the United States, it is a sign of just how desperate the American public has become in the face of a government being cannibalized by its own stewards that some of us who would have been horrified by the thought of a military coup in this country have begun to imagine that possibility in a hopeful, positive light in the face of a Republican-controlled Congress that refuses to even complete its investigation into Russian hacking of our electoral process.
Of course, Trump and his supporters will surely call General McCaffrey’s comments by the name of that which they themselves are guilty: treason. That a former senior military officer would be willing to risk those accusations demonstrates just how seriously General McCaffrey views our current predicament.