"There is a period in which I owe my silence"
June 3, 2020 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis has publicly denounced the Trump Administration [sl The Atlantic] Pretty much what it says on the tin. Mattis has broken his silence and come out in public condemnation of the President. The celebrated general had previously argued that it would be inappropriate and unproductive for him to do so.
posted by aspersioncast (132 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wish it had come sooner. Glad it came at all. Hope it's just the beginning.
posted by potrzebie at 4:17 PM on June 3 [11 favorites]


Retired Marine general Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis said the protesters are "rightly demanding" equal justice under the law and urged Americans not to be distracted by a small number of "lawbreakers" who have used the protests to engage in looting and other violence. "It is a wholesome and unifying demand – one that all of us should be able to get behind," Mattis said. "The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation." USA Today, The Independent, and CNN on the Mattis Atlantic piece.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:30 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


I would really like to believe that this is the dam starting to break, and more and more people who have stayed silent (to my eyes, often cowardly so) will start speaking out.

But the number of times I have said, "surely this time..." is depressingly large.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:54 PM on June 3 [80 favorites]


surely this
posted by entropicamericana at 5:00 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


This follows a similar denouncement yesterday from Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Obama.

But I'm not sure what good these will do. I'm sure MAGA types already dismiss Mattis as an anti-Trump traitor, and Mullen served under Obama.
posted by star gentle uterus at 5:08 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


Five months late. Mattis, if the Republic falls it will be by your indifference.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:10 PM on June 3 [21 favorites]


These things are pointless. All it does is empower his base.
posted by dobbs at 5:11 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


So the MAGA types are running the world's opinion as well as those who are reading these denouncements?

Some headlines show that they imagine the world is standing together with America, instead of protesting the human rights violations of the vulnerable and marginalized American citizens.

Carter noted he had declared “the time for racial discrimination is over” during his 1971 inauguration speech as Georgia’s governor, and bemoaned that he’s repeating those words almost 50 years later.
posted by Mrs Potato at 5:14 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Dobbs, I’m genuinely curious: why? What have you/we seen to support that? With his base , don’t the denunciations by Military Men carry more weight? I mean, sure, he’s going to do his usual bullshit deflection etc. But it seems likely to me that these might have more weight amongst some section of his base.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 5:15 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Criticizing Mattis for being late is legitimate but saying it's counterproductive and he shouldn't do it is nonsense, imo. We can't simultaneously criticize officials for not resigning and speaking out and then tell them that speaking out is actually bad and helps Trump.
posted by Justinian at 5:17 PM on June 3 [80 favorites]


Why are papers not calling for Trump's resignation? He's botched everything thrown at him, we have the highest infection rate in the world, more than 105,000 Americans are dead of COVID-19, he's basically trying to engineer his own Tienanmen Square in DC, and he's making weird evangelical photo ops with a side-helping of gassing protesters and priests.

He is out of his league. This op-ed should be the catalyst, if nothing else.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:26 PM on June 3 [49 favorites]


I think he sells a lot of papers.
posted by valkane at 5:30 PM on June 3 [28 favorites]


Somewhat lost in the firehose of news is Anne Applebaum's thoughtful dissection of Trump's collaborators. Definitely worth reading. She compares Lindsey Graham to officials in Poland and East Germany under the Soviets, and what their decision-making process was in choosing to play along.
posted by suelac at 5:32 PM on June 3 [46 favorites]


it seems likely to me that these might have more weight amongst some section of his base.

Nothing alters the minds of the base; anything threatening to their world-view is negated as fake news.

Why are papers not calling for Trump's resignation?

I've been considering this possibility. What would happen if he resigned? You know he wouldn't just shut up and go quietly. Any move by President Pence would be answered by his criticism/commentary, appearing first on Twitter and then parroted by media of all stripes. He'd even have rallies, well-attended by the faithful, like nothing had changed.
posted by Rash at 5:37 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Mattis errs (or else there's a typo); he cites Federalist No. 14, but his text seems to come from Federalist No. 41.

Anyway, from Federalist No. 14: "I submit to you, my fellow-citizens, these considerations, in full confidence that the good sense which has so often marked your decisions will allow them their due weight and effect; and that you will never suffer difficulties, however formidable in appearance, or however fashionable the error on which they may be founded, to drive you into the gloomy and perilous scene into which the advocates for disunion would conduct you. Hearken not to the unnatural voice which tells you that the people of America, knit together as they are by so many cords of affection, can no longer live together as members of the same family; can no longer continue the mutual guardians of their mutual happiness; can no longer be fellow citizens of one great, respectable, and flourishing empire."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:37 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised at how good I think this statement is. I describe myself as an anti-war leftist and I usually have very little patience for statements from US politicians or military officials but here I am with some kind words for 'Mad Dog' Mattis.

It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

No BS about outside agitators or overwrought hand-wringing about property destruction. I suppose that a career in counterinsurgency develops in one a more refined sense of who has a legitimate grievance versus who is an opportunist or irredeemably violent.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 5:40 PM on June 3 [59 favorites]


These things are pointless. All it does is empower his base.

100% of Trump's base would lead him to to have perhaps the most lopsided re-election defeat in US Presidential history. At the very least he would be stomped into the dust by Biden. Also, they would all vote for him if Trump killed and ate their family members in front of them, so let's not worry about what empowers or doesn't empower his base.
posted by sideshow at 5:48 PM on June 3 [84 favorites]


I'm 100% on it being both good and useful for someone with the weight and background of Mattis to say, as well as it being far, far too late to redeem anything for him on a pure moral scale.

Someone who looks at this news and says 'well General 'Shooting Some People is Fun' Mattis is just an SJW then' is clearly not basing that idea on reality and appealing to those folks is not a useful pursuit.

It's good for him to call this out, more people should be doing that, but it doesn't get him a cookie. Him getting a cookie involves taking a long look at his own career and place in the last few decades and how he has shaped and informed and in various official capacities administered many of the structural issues within the military that have allowed, or at the very least eased, the militarization of police forces on the cheap and programs intended to transition retiring active duty military into civilian policing roles without first examining the mindset they instilled.

I'm from a kinda military family and a pretty military place and Mattis had a lot of respect among a certain category of people, including me in the past, and probably still more than I want. I know more than a few people who'd care more about what he says than any given elected official or civilian activist or movie star or what have you.

It'd mean a 1000% more to have him at a protest, but I'm not holding my breath for that.
posted by neonrev at 5:56 PM on June 3 [15 favorites]


I suspect the people who I want to listen to Mattis’ comments, and potentially abstain from re-electing President Babypants, are people who would neither know nor care about Mattis’ ethically spotty record. This is fine by me.

Even if only 0.75% of his base decide to abstain from voting as a result, I’d take that.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 6:13 PM on June 3 [8 favorites]


Criticizing Mattis for being late is legitimate but saying it's counterproductive and he shouldn't do it is nonsense, imo.

I agree. The best time to push back against Trump and Barr and Miller is when you are part of the administration, but the second best time is now.
posted by lord_wolf at 6:20 PM on June 3 [31 favorites]


His audiences:
1. There's the Trump/GOP base (Always include the GOP; don't let them flee this later.)
2. There's the already Never Trump national security conservatives.
3. The press for his own legacy.
4. And, there are the current active duty officers and enlisted men and women.

Write off most of 1 but they may be somewhat swayed in turn by 2-4.
2. The natsec people were already against Trump, can they be emboldened to do more? And move from Never Trump to actually voting Democratic and leaving the GOP?
3. If Mattis can influence the choice of stories in the press and the framing there can be an effect.
4. I sure hope to hell he emboldens more active and retired military to take this threat seriously. Healthcare workers and their families aren't going to be voting GOP in November. If we can get military and their families to turn their backs on the GOP as well this time around we may get the kind of massive win that will be absolutely necessary to overturn bullshit accusations of irregularities and fraud. Oh, and maybe not obey illegal orders.

Better than doing nothing.
posted by Gotanda at 6:24 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


Don't forget Jazzy Jared.
posted by valkane at 6:24 PM on June 3


Also, I was really struck by his choice of the word "wholesome." The connotations and emotions related to that will strike home for many, I hope.
posted by Gotanda at 6:25 PM on June 3 [14 favorites]


With his base , don’t the denunciations by Military Men carry more weight?

I think the problem is that for denunciations to be effective, the target audience must be rational. Trump fans are not rational, since their primary motivation is to "own the libs at any cost."

So, they're just not going to listen, and will probably use their performative hate of Mattis to signal that they are a Republican Asshole to other Republican Assholes.
posted by mikelieman at 6:34 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


Trump fans are not rational, since their primary motivation is to "own the libs at any cost."

This. Their politics are "do everything out of greed and spite".
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:36 PM on June 3 [7 favorites]


There is a subsection of Trump voters who aren't Trump fans. That's the kind of people who listen to Mattis.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:56 PM on June 3 [43 favorites]


Back in the days of the megathreads someone, or someones would repeatedly post variants of "X won't save you." Now I feel like a "Mattis won't save you" is called for.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:11 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Why are papers not calling for Trump's resignation?

They'd rather have Tom Cotton urging the military to massacre the protesters.
posted by Reyturner at 7:14 PM on June 3 [29 favorites]


So I'm thinking this the right place for these two interesting tweets.

One is a memo from the Chairman (person?) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the joint forces, in which he reminds everyone of their oath to "support and defend the Constitution and the values embedded in it" and that they will "operate consistent with national laws" at all times.

The second is from the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, expressing outrage over the death of George Floyd and also reminding members that they took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and asking members to join him in seeking the "intercession of the better angels of our nature."

I kinda feel it's a little interesting to have folks at the top reminding the troops about the importance of their oaths and following the rule of law at this particular moment.
posted by nubs at 7:17 PM on June 3 [57 favorites]


2. The natsec people were already against Trump, can they be emboldened to do more? And move from Never Trump to actually voting Democratic and leaving the GOP?

The NeverTrumper Lincoln Project is pretty bold, been knocking 'em out of the park with ads far more ballsy than anything else I've seen. The latest ad even has WTVD in Raleigh NC refusing to broadcast it for being "too inflammatory". They're going after NeverTrumpers who didn't vote for Trump, and new NeverTrumpers, who voted for Trump, but are fed up. The latter need to be emboldened. The Lincoln Project seems to have some good funding and got nothing to lose. They're already on the GOP shit list. So they aren't holding back.

At least Mattis was able to find his balls before the election.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:26 PM on June 3 [27 favorites]


Eh, even Sinclair is getting tired of having their reporters gassed and shot with rubber bullets while they're out trying to do the vaguely journalism-sounding thing they do.

Never in my lifetime has there been such a positive response to mass protest, especially that which has involved cop cars on fire. Even a lot of the "mouthpiece of the cops" local TV news stations are reporting on this in a way they never have before.
posted by wierdo at 7:26 PM on June 3 [28 favorites]


Never in my lifetime has there been such a positive response to mass protest

^yep

Our local news in Portland is obviously more left leaning than a lot of US cities, but it’s been kind of shocking to see how few pro-police/anti-protester views are being broadcast on mainstream local affiliates.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:34 PM on June 3 [11 favorites]


You don't get to murder people on camera and then come out as heroes.
posted by valkane at 8:04 PM on June 3 [10 favorites]


It's really telling that the NYT published Cotton instead of this.
posted by great_radio at 8:33 PM on June 3 [39 favorites]


You don't get to murder people on camera and then come out as heroes.

But...they used to murder people on camera and come out as heroes. Why would this time be any different?

I guess that it's COVID-19 isolation and unemployment that has people completely out of fucks to give, while the police have gotten smug and sloppy in their culture of impunity and are finally going too far.

And I think people like Mattis are thinking yo maybe that impeachment thing should have been taken more seriously...
posted by medusa at 8:44 PM on June 3 [18 favorites]


If you take Mattis' statement as directed mainly at currently serving military, which I think it is, then the timing makes more sense. He had to wait for Trump to clearly cross the line on the military-civilian relationship before he could speak.

That time has arrived.
posted by Pouteria at 8:57 PM on June 3 [52 favorites]


You don't get to murder people on camera and then come out as heroes.

That statement would only make sense if this were the first time the cops ever did this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:05 PM on June 3 [12 favorites]


A 50-year veteran of the Armed Forces coming this close to actually saying “Black Lives Matter” may not earn him a cookie, but it’s at least a step back from “lol nothing matters.” The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists may have their Doomsday Clock, but I personally keep an even more terrifying Lol Nothing Matters Clock and we’re about two seconds from midnight. The people protesting are the ones keeping that second hand at bay.
posted by ejs at 9:40 PM on June 3 [12 favorites]


Full statement reprinted at CNBC.

In 2016, Mattis co-edited "Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military:" A diverse group of contributors offer different perspectives on whether or not the different experiences of our military and the broader society amounts to a "gap"—and if the American public is losing connection to its military. They analyze extensive polling information to identify those gaps between civilian and military attitudes on issues central to the military profession and the professionalism of our military, determine which if any of these gaps are problematic for sustaining the traditionally strong bonds between the American military and its broader public, analyze whether any problematic gaps are amenable to remediation by policy means, and assess potential solutions...

Mattis returned from vacation because he is incandescent with rage that Trump dragged the military into this.
The Insurrection Act, the 1807 law Trump could use to deploy troops to curb protests, explained (Vox.com, June 2, 2020). Coverage of the weekend activity, announcement in the Rose Garden, and church photo op at Military Times, Stars & Stripes, Vox, and CNBC.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:47 PM on June 3 [8 favorites]


If you take Mattis' statement as directed mainly at currently serving military, which I think it is, then the timing makes more sense.

This. He’s saying this as the National Guard/Army is being called up to respond to the protests. I know Mattis isn’t always a favorite around here, but he is to the military, in many ways, like Pope Francis is to Catholics - the moral exemplar that makes all the stories we listened to true. If the question comes up, “do you obey the president and fire on your own brothers and sisters?”, I think it’s really, really good to have “Well, ‘Saint Mattis’ says we shouldn’t” as a counter example.
posted by corb at 9:48 PM on June 3 [44 favorites]


IMPOTUS tweeted a savage burn: "His nickname was 'Chaos,' which I didn’t like, & changed to 'Mad Dog.'"

Umm...Mattis' nickname has been "Mad Dog" since 2004.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:03 PM on June 3 [9 favorites]


I know Mattis isn’t always a favorite around here

This is some of the most remarkable euphemizing I have ever seen on here. Let's not mince words here: Mattis is a white supremacist and a war criminal.
Mattis has, in fact, been tied to some of the worst war crimes of the Iraq invasion. It was he who gave the order to attack the village of Mukaradeeb in April 2004 — a decision he would later admit took him only 30 seconds to approve — which killed 42 civilians, including 13 children, who were attending a wedding there. “I don’t have to apologize for the conduct of my men,” he told reporters.

Six months later, in November 2004, it was Mattis who planned the Marine assault on Fallujah that reduced that city to rubble, forced 200,000 residents from their homes, and resulted, according to the Red Cross, in at least 800 civilian deaths.

Let's be clear here: America committed a white supremacist genocide in Iraq by killing, maiming, and displacing millions of people of color in less than a decade. The American war crimes we know of are but a fraction of what actually happened in Iraq. Sadly, genocides and war crimes are prosecuted by those with the biggest weapons and so, America (and Mattis) will never be held accountable for these atrocities.

If Mattis's actions now do some modicum of good somehow, that's at least some good news. But that does not do anything to negate the war crimes he has already committed; he is still a white supremacist and a war criminal who has not been held accountable for his actions and should not be celebrated in any way by anyone who wants to be taken seriously as an anti-racist.

"Useful" is not the same thing as "Good".
posted by Ouverture at 11:06 PM on June 3 [43 favorites]


This dude stood by smiling on camera as Trump signed the first Muslim ban.

During his tenure, he had many moments where a person of principle would have broken with their boss -- to say nothing of someone of the mythic stature Mattis attained before becoming SecDef. Instead, he just proved it was all a myth. Dude was hype all along.

Better he speak up to say this than shut up or back Trump, I guess, but those are low bars. Fuck this dude forever.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:12 PM on June 3 [23 favorites]


America (and Mattis) will never be held accountable for these atrocities

I suspect that Mattis is not speaking to the Metafilter audience, but to those who would listen to him.

To the extent that soldiers may soon have to decide whether or not to disobey unlawful orders to murder innocent Americans, I am grateful to have anyone as an ally against the bunker fascist, who those soldiers might listen to.

Those soldiers weren't listening to the screams of peaceful protesters they gassed a couple days ago. But they might listen to Mattis, if the bunker fascist decides to give "no quarter" orders.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:39 PM on June 3 [23 favorites]


It's interesting that Mattis did his reputation laundering at The Atlantic, the same publication that employs fellow white supremacist and war criminal, David Frum.

Since Trump's ascension in 2015, I have been afraid of war criminals/Never Trumpers like Frum, Bret Stephens (New York Times), and Max Boot (Washington Post) being able to successfully launder their reputations in the eyes of liberals and centrists who don't (or don't want to) know better in order to parasitize themselves onto whatever liberal/progressive movement comes after Trump.

Otherwise, these white supremacist forever wars might actually not last forever.

The rosy reception they have received in the last 5 years, along with now Mattis's newly and conveniently found wokeness, seems to have only confirmed those fears.
posted by Ouverture at 11:39 PM on June 3 [9 favorites]




Wish it had come sooner.

Five months late.


One thing the military needs to excel at is timing. I believe Mattis thought this through and chose this moment strategically.
posted by fairmettle at 12:40 AM on June 4 [4 favorites]


Everybody wants to believe there's a plan. Trump has a plan even if its an evil one. The Democrats have a plan to stop him even if it seems disjointed and disorganized from the outside. God has a plan even if we don't understand it and everything looks like chaos. Mattis has a plan even if the timing seems weird to us.

Mostly there is no plan and people are just doing what seems to be the thing to do at the time. I expect that's the case here with Mattis.
posted by Justinian at 12:54 AM on June 4 [17 favorites]


"It's chaos. Be kind." - Michelle E. McNamara
posted by Molesome at 1:09 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


I dont know Mattis's history. Trump had hired him so I know right there he's a shit-gibbon. The rest of America probably also does not know how shitty he is.

What we can do is at least have a sigh of relief that the leaders (active and retired) of the military do not agree with Trump on this. Let's hope that filters down to the members who would be asked to do the dirty work and they also refuse when the orders come down.

We can have temporary bedfellows when the need arises and right now is when we need everyone to be on the same side that the military does not attack its own citizens. At least then, we don't have to worry about that kind of attack as well and focus on the problems of policing instead.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:04 AM on June 4 [8 favorites]


Pentagon chief breaks with Trump over using troops for protests

The US defence secretary opened a rift with Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying he did not agree with the president about sending the army to clamp down on protests that have erupted across the country since the death of George Floyd.

Mark Esper’s remarks came amid mounting criticism from retired military officials of the president’s handling of the demonstrations including Jim Mattis, the retired general who previously served as defence secretary under Mr Trump.

Mr Esper, a West Point graduate and former soldier, told reporters at the Pentagon that the National Guard was “best suited” to help local law enforcement tackle protests.

“I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” he said, referring to an 1807 law that allows a president to overrule governors and deploy active-duty soldiers in their states.

posted by Mrs Potato at 3:22 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


We can have temporary bedfellows when the need arises and right now is when we need everyone to be on the same side that the military does not attack its own citizens.

posted by LizBoBiz


The current agenda is:

Step 1: Remove Trump.

Step 2: Everything else.
posted by Pouteria at 3:25 AM on June 4 [9 favorites]


2N2222: " Lincoln Project"

Thanks for this, I had vaguely heard of this but not looked into it. It's good stuff.
posted by chavenet at 3:33 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


People wondering about the electoral effect of this or whether it will get through to Trump's base re completely missing the point. Mattis is not writing to Trump's base or trying to swing the election. He's writing to the military.

Retired generals represent a small, tight-knit group with an enormous amount of informal power within the US National Security establishment. When an administration wants to fill a top job (not just Secretary of Defense, but all of the Assistant Secretaries and Under-Secretaries and heads of departments), these guys (and they're mostly men) aren't just going to make up most of the shortlist, they're also the people you call when you need someone to tell you who should be on the shortlist. Junior officers are indoctrinated into revering these guys, and the smarter and more ambitious among them understand that becoming a member of this group is the surest path to power and career success both inside and outside the uniformed service. Mattis has always been at the loopy right-wing fringe of this group, but also more or less a member in good standing.

This is also a group with some deeply held shared beliefs and ideological commitments. Lots of those beliefs are abhorrent to anyone who recognizes America's forever wars as the obscenities they are. They're a critical nexus in the Military Industrial complex, and are basically the nerve center of what Obama officials called "The Blob", the amorphous group of career officials who worked to make de-escalation in Iraq and Afghanistan organizationally almost impossible. But among the deepest-held of those beliefs is the idea that the military should stay the hell out of domestic American politics. They take both the idea of the subordination of the military to the civilian government and their oaths to the Constitution very seriously. (As an aside, I suspect that part of why this value is so important is because it psychologically justifies all the other shit. It's their way of saying "I was just following orders.")

Once you start reading in this light, Mattis' op-ed , the statement from the Joint Chiefs and similar statements from National Guard leadership, even Esper's craven climb down (which almost certainly was preceded by calls from a bunch of incandescently furious members of the retired generals cabal) all make sense. Trump has threatened the most sacred values of the cabal, and they are finally closing ranks and saying "No, Mr. President, we will not back your coup."

And that is unambiguously a good thing.
posted by firechicago at 3:40 AM on June 4 [81 favorites]


2N2222: " Lincoln Project"

Thanks for this, I had vaguely heard of this but not looked into it. It's good stuff.


The New Yorker had a recent profile of one of the key people behind this, Sarah Longwell. Link.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:14 AM on June 4


Lest my posting this article be taken as an endorsement: I come from a long line of conscientious objectors and am a firm believer in largely dismantling the American military-industrial complex. I have no love for, and a lot of pretty profound issues with, General Mattis.

I do, however, interact with military officers from various branches in the course of my job, and personally respect many of them. I'm aware of the profound respect Mattis carries among these people, and how that filters out and down to many levels.

For many of them, Mattis provided a certain veneer of establishment cover for this shit administration. That has now been pulled away.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:07 AM on June 4 [10 favorites]


"Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:21 AM on June 4


"There is a period for which I owe my silence" - Edit
posted by little eiffel at 7:23 AM on June 4


Remember when unprecedented events were rare? And not daily? And not distressing? I don't think I do anymore.
posted by tommasz at 7:29 AM on June 4 [6 favorites]


"There is a period for which I owe my silence" - Edit

That's a direct quote from the article. Prepositions are hard.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:29 AM on June 4


> That's a direct quote from the article. Prepositions are hard.

I'm not correcting you I am correcting Gen. Mattis.
posted by little eiffel at 7:33 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Not a fan of Mattis for obvious reasons but I'm still happy to see this. I don't give a crap if he's personally come to some awakening and I have no interest in lionizing him but if speech and actions like this really start turning the tide away from Trump, I'm all for it.
posted by octothorpe at 7:39 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Why are papers not calling for Trump's resignation?

Then they'd also have to call for Pelosi's resignation too. Both sides, and whatnot.
posted by The Notorious SRD at 7:49 AM on June 4 [12 favorites]


If/when Trump loses his immunity to prosecution and the chickens come home to roost, I look forward to the NYT editorial calling for Trump to be tried on emoluments charges and Obama to be tried for Obamagate, whatever that was, in the interest of evenhandedness.
posted by acb at 7:57 AM on June 4 [6 favorites]


I say if someone can actually present a concise description of what Obamagate is they can try him for it.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:02 AM on June 4 [4 favorites]


Why are papers not calling for Trump's resignation?

Then they'd also have to call for Pelosi's resignation too. Both sides, and whatnot.


I mean, I'd take that deal.
posted by Etrigan at 8:19 AM on June 4 [20 favorites]


Never in my lifetime has there been such a positive response to mass protest, especially that which has involved cop cars on fire. Even a lot of the "mouthpiece of the cops" local TV news stations are reporting on this in a way they never have before.

Imagine my surprise that police shooting reporters on live TV doesn't create a positive media image.

Imagine the foolishness of an organization that would allow, much less encourage, such a thing to happen, and explain to me why they deserve any authority at all.
posted by Gelatin at 8:21 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


I say if someone can actually present a concise description of what Obamagate is they can try him for it.

Well, surely, by the same token that the answer to bad speech is more speech, the answer to assertions of Obama being guilty of terrible crimes known as “Obamagate” is not to brush them aside but to have a trial in a court of law. Put him in the dock, and let everyone make their allegations, to be decided in the glorious marketplace of ideas. Then finally the great American people can rest easy, knowing if he was a secret Kenyan Muslim atheist, if he was sacrificing babies in the basement of a pizza restaurant, if he was transmitting mind-control rays at them through 5G antennas, if he guiltied 12 galaxies to a zegnatronic rocket society, and more.
posted by acb at 8:32 AM on June 4 [2 favorites]


The point is that nobody can actually say what he's guilty of and calling their stupid bluff.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:36 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


I say if someone can actually present a concise description of what Obamagate is they can try him for it.

Oh, oh, I know this one! Obama was black!

That's always been the charge that matters to those who invent terms like Obamagate.
posted by bcd at 8:41 AM on June 4 [15 favorites]


Someone's finally figured out that they're gonna be giving testimony at the International Court of Justice, and realized that "I was only doing what my Führer President told me" isn't a defense.

(A friend followed up that observation with "well, that only happens when the Allies win WWIII", and, yeah, nothing like a former Secretary of Defense to know which way that weather is blowing.)
posted by straw at 9:06 AM on June 4 [5 favorites]


Never in my lifetime has there been such a positive response to mass protest, especially that which has involved cop cars on fire. Even a lot of the "mouthpiece of the cops" local TV news stations are reporting on this in a way they never have before.

You might have spoken too soon: The NYT has plenty of opinion space for hot takes:

Tom Cotton NY Times opinion

Though the memes it has produced are kinda funny.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:39 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'd take that deal.

I suspect Pelosi herself would take that deal, which is one of the many differences between Trump and Pelosi.
posted by Justinian at 9:39 AM on June 4 [26 favorites]


I say if someone can actually present a concise description of what Obamagate is they can try him for it.

Since the Justice Department dropped the charges on Flynn, the methods they were using to get the information to charge him were illegal. Obama, since he was President, was responsible for any illegal FBI information gathering.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:43 AM on June 4


Dozens of troops sounded off on the use of the military to help quell civil unrest. This is what they said., Military Times, Meghann Myers, 6/3/2020:
...Trump had not mobilized federal and local resources nor invoked the Insurrection Act, as police forces and National Guard troops are operating under the orders of their mayors and governors.

The mission is not unlike the one some active duty and National Guard troops have been doing along the U.S.-Mexico border for nearly two years, assisting Customs and Border Patrol with surveillance and security, but not physically detaining anyone.

But the optics of the situation have quickly turned sour for many current service members, who shared their perspectives with Military Times. Of 33 responses from active-duty and reserve component troops reviewed before publication, 30 were opposed to the use of troops to response to protests....
Examples in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 9:43 AM on June 4 [6 favorites]


That NYT editorial by Cotton is so depressing and infuriating.
One: it's a trial balloon for a Presidential run.
Two: it's full-on fascist.
Three: The Times doesn't see a problem with publishing it, even though it has caused many of their Black reporters to post that it puts them in peril, has had a ton of pushback, and has caused a sick-out among staff. "We have to publish both sides!"

Remember when, right after Donnie was elected, they ran on a platform of "We'll keep everything in check." That lasted about two seconds.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:21 AM on June 4 [9 favorites]


Now Murkowski has come out in support of what Mathis said. It's hardly an avalanche of criticism, but it is more than there was a few days ago.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:19 AM on June 4 [4 favorites]


i heard zombie mccain is gravely concerned
posted by entropicamericana at 12:15 PM on June 4 [8 favorites]


That NYT editorial by Cotton is so depressing and infuriating.

Imagine what it feels like to have him as your senator.

This is a guy who threatens his constituents with cease-and-desist letters.

This is a guy who won his last election with 56% to his opponent's 39%, who ran uncontested in the Republican primary, and yet held off on releasing damaging information about his Democratic opponent until after the filing deadline had passed, and then bragged about this 'strategy' to his supporters.

Remember all the times someone around here said something about how the next authoritarian fascist will be smarter than Trump and not have as much baggage and dirty laundry? Tom Cotton wants nothing more in the world than to be that person.
posted by box at 12:21 PM on June 4 [17 favorites]


Mitt Romney, eager to cement his role as the next Jeff Flake, has also weighed in, calling Mattis' statements "stunning" and "powerful". A weird and somewhat disjointed response, so very on-brand for Mitt.
posted by skewed at 12:23 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Now Murkowski has come out in support of what Mathis said.

Murkowski calls Mattis rebuke of Trump ‘necessary and overdue,’ says she’s ‘struggling’ with whether to support president, Anchorage Daily News, Michelle Theriault Boots, 6/4/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 12:38 PM on June 4


Now Murkowski has come out in support of what Mathis said. It's hardly an avalanche of criticism, but it is more than there was a few days ago.

Murkowski says she is "still struggling" with whether or not to support Trump in the November election.

Still struggling. After everything that has happened, still struggling. These people are amoral cowards.
posted by JackFlash at 12:39 PM on June 4 [30 favorites]


"We have to publish both sides!"

If James Bennett publishes an op-ed by a maoist explaining the need for revolutionary violence against elite media and the ruling class, then I'll take back my mockery of his "embrace debate" bullshit

“Both sides” in the American Overton window appears to go somewhere from Western European Christian Democrat to full-blown fascist.
posted by acb at 1:23 PM on June 4 [10 favorites]


Murkowski says she is "still struggling" with whether or not to support Trump in the November election.

And how's Susan Collins doing these days? Stoically wrestling with her conscience, undoubtedly...
posted by acb at 1:26 PM on June 4 [5 favorites]


Susan Collins is scared shitless about losing her election in November. One stern tweet from Trump and she knows she's toast. She will keep her mouth shut about Trump if at all possible.
posted by JackFlash at 1:31 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


he's gravely concerned, c'mon people!
posted by entropicamericana at 1:32 PM on June 4 [5 favorites]


How much credit do you get for having gone through wrenching emotional and moral torment before arriving at the decision to do evil?
posted by acb at 1:35 PM on June 4


Susan Collins is scared shitless about losing her election in November. One stern tweet from Trump and she knows she's toast.

And contrarywise, one good kayfabe "disagreement" and four-tweet Twitter beef between them, and she could start proclaiming her principled independence. All it would take is the slightest bit of restraint and focus on the part of His Orangeness...
posted by The Tensor at 1:45 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


> acb: "If James Bennett publishes an op-ed by a maoist explaining the need for revolutionary violence against elite media and the ruling class, then I'll take back my mockery of his "embrace debate" bullshit"

A similar sentiment expressed in this tweet from @pixelatedboat (an image in the style of the NYT Op-ed header):
OPINION

The Tank in Tianamen Square Should've Run That Guy Over

By The Tank
Not sure if it was intentional or coincidental given that today (or yesterday, depending on how time zones work) is the anniversary of the Tianamen Square Massacre.
posted by mhum at 1:45 PM on June 4 [6 favorites]


After Trump was elected, I saw former Marines on FB that were all in on Mattis for SecDef. (All Trump supporters, of course.) They have been stone silent the last couple of days.

Mattis gave this statements for a few reasons. A four star general is not going to publicly demolish the president like this unless he has a damn good reason to do so. One reason is his legacy, although this does not redeem his past. Another is speaking to the military, especially those who will be receptive to what he says. The biggest reason, though, is that by calling in the military to suppress protest, Trump crossed a red line. It's not just that he called them in, which is bad enough, it's how he has been speaking of "dominating" the streets and how he wants to push governors aside to send military to other cities. Trump is getting ready to give the order to massacre US citizens in the streets. That is an irredeemable corruption of the military, which has enough in its past for which to answer. And that's too far for even Mattis.

The MAGA crowd is mostly already tuning this out, calling Mattis a liberal (don't pull a muscle reaching like that, fellas) and toeing Trump's line about how bad Mattis was as SecDef. This might pull a few of them, but this is a cult we're dealing with here. The voters you want to look at on this, though, are the ones that aren't MAGA but voted for Trump, maybe because they really thought he was going to bring jobs back to economically devastated regions, or maybe they just didn't like Hillary. Statements from retired generals that are this blunt - and he absolutely blasted Trump in this - are going to carry weight. Remember that if Trump loses 1 point in MI, WI and PA he's done, and he's already running far worse than that in those states.

Since we can all use a laugh right now, and we're talking military, watch the video in this tweet. A protester, obviously ex-military, telling NG troops how to form a proper phalanx - and they're doing as he says.
posted by azpenguin at 1:56 PM on June 4 [33 favorites]


I do, however, interact with military officers from various branches in the course of my job, and personally respect many of them. I'm aware of the profound respect Mattis carries among these people, and how that filters out and down to many levels.

This is a strange response to the point that the U.S. military has been a force for white supremacist genocide and war crimes for centuries.

This akin to saying "but I know nice cops!" after someone points out the countless white supremacist atrocities committed by police, which is particularly ironic given all of this discourse has sprung up from protests against a century of white supremacist police brutality.

Moreover, the idea of a respectable military that we should be grateful for is even more surreal considering police brutality significantly increased when the police became militarized. The weapons, vehicles, and tactics were imported by the police from the military as the forever war on drugs and crime mixed together with the forever war on "terror". And to top it all off, the trillions of dollars spent on these vast budgets for white supremacist empire and policing deprive people of color and the poor of years of life due to long-term material deprivation and suffering.

The suffering of people of color at the hands of the US military is deeply connected to the suffering of people of color inside America. We see that playing out every single day of these protests even before the National Guard got involved.

If "woke" military leaders can prevent mass casualty events in America, that's a good thing. But just like the police, the American military will still remain a problem for people of color abroad and domestically.
posted by Ouverture at 3:03 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


Tl;dr on this letter: don't kill civilians, active service people - protestors are not an enemy of the constitution but Trump might be.

Say what you want, but I'm happier that he's done it than if he hadn't.
posted by jaduncan at 3:16 PM on June 4 [4 favorites]


Moreover, the idea of a respectable military that we should be grateful for is even more surreal considering police brutality significantly increased when the police became militarized. The weapons, vehicles, and tactics were imported by the police from the military as the forever war on drugs and crime mixed together with the forever war on "terror".

Although, ironically, not the idea of an actually strict set of rules of engagement or system of internal justice.
posted by jaduncan at 3:17 PM on June 4 [6 favorites]


Since we can all use a laugh right now, and we're talking military, watch the video in this tweet. A protester, obviously ex-military, telling NG troops how to form a proper phalanx - and they're doing as he says.

Thank you for sharing that. I needed something to wind down the anxiety and despair and that did the trick. That's an advantage to troops rather than cops. Troops are trained to take orders, so if what they're hearing sounds like an order they know how to obey, they'll obey. Inspection is something they're well trained for.

I have this wonderful picture in my mind of every military patrol who gets assigned like this is rendered useless by people just berating them in a tone they're trained to obey.
posted by mikelieman at 3:32 PM on June 4 [5 favorites]


This is a strange response to the point that the U.S. military has been a force for white supremacist genocide and war crimes for centuries.

Moreover, the idea of a respectable military that we should be grateful for is even more surreal considering police brutality significantly increased when the police became militarized.


I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but the military is also as diverse or possibly more diverse than the US population as a whole, something like 43% non-white or Hispanic. Police forces are often much more white than the populations they police. Also, not to defend militarization, but as mentioned above, a huge part of the problem is giving deadly gear to corrupt, racist organizations without the training and rules in place to use it appropriately. (The other part being that it isn’t appropriate to use that stuff against civilians in the first place.) But the military isn’t responsible for the militarization of police forces, so they don’t deserve criticism for that.
posted by snofoam at 3:53 PM on June 4 [13 favorites]


And contrarywise, one good kayfabe "disagreement" and four-tweet Twitter beef between them, and she could start proclaiming her principled independence. All it would take is the slightest bit of restraint and focus on the part of His Orangeness...

...And she'd be gone.

If providing even the slightest bit of principled opposition to Trump's excesses was even remotely politically expedient for her reelection, she'd have tried it by now. Whether it's simple "lose Trump's base and I lose the election" math or they have pictures of her relatives with guns to their heads is open to debate, but she does as she is told; being a Hall Pass vote when permitted to show that the GOP isn't just bomb-throwers, but falling into line 100% of the time when called upon.
posted by delfin at 3:53 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


Not an actual "Black Lives Matter" out of any of these guys--and they are all guys--and plenty of "us/them" and unexamined racism in these statements, but I will take these anyway for now. If they reach the people who will be ordered to illegally attack and they refuse those orders; good enough. For now.

Task & Purpose: Here are all the current and former military leaders blasting Trump’s response to nationwide protests

Many are not actual "blasts" by any means. But T&P is also running an extended statement from recently retired Marine Commandant at the top of their front page. Keep up the momentum.
posted by Gotanda at 3:56 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Stephen King, @StephenKing, June 3 - I just got a spam from Susan Collins, asking me for what's the most important thing she can do for me this year. That's easy. Retire.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:57 PM on June 4 [21 favorites]


Murkowski says she is "still struggling" with whether or not to support Trump in the November election.

Senator Murkowski votes with Trump 74% of the time. So it's not much of a struggle.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:11 PM on June 4 [4 favorites]


While some Republicans might posture, they always cave into whatever Trump wants. I wouldn't waste time paying much attention to what Murkowski et al say. She already had her chance to do the right thing at the impeachment hearing, and she failed the country.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:29 PM on June 4 [5 favorites]


I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but the military is also as diverse or possibly more diverse than the US population as a whole, something like 43% non-white or Hispanic.

Non-white people have been shown to be perfectly capable of supporting white supremacy and killing in its name. Here, in this country, on video, and also internationally.
posted by el gran combo at 4:59 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


>> Healthcare workers and their families aren't going to be voting GOP in November.

I'm but a wee cog in the healthcare industry. I speak with dozens of healthcare workers daily. That list of workers also changes daily. I am not seeing a growing sentiment amongst those I speak to that they are changing their vote from Trump to Dem or Trump to no vote.

The employees that have Trump stickers on their vehicle, still have them. Those I presume are Rs are still more likely to (literally) say "Fucking China" than to blame Trump.

Realistically, the sentiment I am hearing more than anything else is, "Can this be over yet?" because everybody is overworked and overtired (and essentially taken a cut in pay) and they will keep voting as they have been voting.

I hope I am wrong and you are right, but I have sincere doubts.

I also hope, as corb and others who are former military or military adjacent that Mattis' op-ed carries the weight to reduce voting for Trump come November. That could be huge.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 5:06 PM on June 4 [6 favorites]


I'm former military who lost all respect for Mattis the moment he agreed to work for Trump. It was already quite clear by then who he was. Better late than never, for whatever it's worth, General (spit), but start dishing incriminating details if you want a cookie, and even then you're a weasel for hiding it for so long.
posted by ctmf at 6:49 PM on June 4 [5 favorites]


Don't forget that Mattis was on the board of Theranos and used his military connections to try push a potentially deadly snake oil therapy on the military so he could stuff his own pockets with millions of dollars.
posted by JackFlash at 7:26 PM on June 4 [4 favorites]


I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but the military is also as diverse or possibly more diverse than the US population as a whole, something like 43% non-white or Hispanic. Police forces are often much more white than the populations they police.

LOL, a cop is a cop. Diversity doesn't fucking matter. Google pictures of the cops who killed George Floyd. Once you've done that, find your fainting couch and google pictures of the cops who killed Freddie Gray.
posted by great_radio at 9:41 PM on June 4 [8 favorites]


Former JCS Martin Dempsey just spoke out as well.

I can only pray that these former military leaders speaking out has some effect.
posted by suelac at 9:42 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Republican Senators don't give a fuck
posted by Windopaene at 11:34 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


Mattis, if the Republic falls it will be by your indifference.

“They have to look at us as an apolitical organization that swears an oath to the Constitution of the United States -- not an individual, not a party, not a branch of government -- the Constitution of the United States.”

I agree that there are tenets of the Constitution that have been shamefully violated but in reality, the Secretary of Defense is required to defer to the president and needs to present themselves as apolitical. I believe that the moment Mattis reached his breaking point of anger and frustration was the moment he gave his scathing opinion of Drumpf.

I was in ROTC for a year in college and my dad was a lifer in the Air Force. There's a really strict code of conduct in the military, a hierarchy of command, and an undercurrent of tension that keeps you from breaking the rules. I've never understood why anyone would want to live like that but I understand Mattis' dedication to his code of ethics or his morals or his higher power.

IME at least, being in the military requires that you always remember that there's someone higher-ranked than you who can directly and immediately ruin your life if you step out of line and I'm not ready to condemn Mattis' hesitation in speaking up.
posted by bendy at 2:11 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


The entire point of the Secretary of Defense is that they are not in the military. The Trump administration had to get a special Congressional waiver even to nominate Mattis because he hadn’t been out of uniform for long enough. The civilian advisor to the President has to operate under a different set of rules and norms than the military advisors. Mattis failed at this, over and over, from the moment he took the job.
posted by Etrigan at 5:36 AM on June 5 [17 favorites]


I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but the military is also as diverse or possibly more diverse than the US population as a whole, something like 43% non-white or Hispanic. Police forces are often much more white than the populations they police.

Ignoring the fact that much of that 43% of "diversity" does not trickle up to leadership, the military commits these war crimes against a population that is 100 percent people of color. And how many of those soldiers are Iraqi-American or Afghani-American?

Diversity is not a shield for white supremacy.

Also, not to defend militarization, but as mentioned above, a huge part of the problem is giving deadly gear to corrupt, racist organizations without the training and rules in place to use it appropriately. (The other part being that it isn’t appropriate to use that stuff against civilians in the first place.) But the military isn’t responsible for the militarization of police forces, so they don’t deserve criticism for that.

Yes, the politicians who dump trillions of dollars into the military and their forever wars rightly deserve criticism for it. But the military is still a crucial part of police militarization.
posted by Ouverture at 8:41 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


There is a subsection of Trump voters who aren't Trump fans. That's the kind of people who listen to Mattis.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:56 PM on June 3 [36 favorites +] [!]


I just don't believe this. They may not have the yard sign, but the only people voting for the asshole are people who deep down don't want POC around them, which is synonomous with being a Trump fan.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:04 AM on June 5 [6 favorites]


I agree that there are tenets of the Constitution that have been shamefully violated but in reality, the Secretary of Defense is required to defer to the president and needs to present themselves as apolitical.

Warning the Republic of a snake in the White House shouldn't be a political thing.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:21 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


Warning the Republic of a snake in the White House shouldn't be a political thing.

True! But if it's snakes all the way down, then it's snake politics.
posted by el gran combo at 9:53 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Why are papers not calling for Trump's resignation?

NeverTrumper George Will called for his removal in the Washington Post today, and I believe the NY Daily News has been calling for it basically since his inauguration. But the Times is definitely in a shameful place right now.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:04 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Chief of Naval Operations – Message to Sailors

A heartfelt and humble message from the commander of the US Navy, Admiral Mike Gilday, regarding the murder of Mr. George Floyd and racism in the fleet. (Transcript.)
posted by nicwolff at 10:14 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]




I just don't believe this. They may not have the yard sign, but the only people voting for the asshole are people who deep down don't want POC around them, which is synonomous with being a Trump fan.

One of my neighbors - a very nice dude - is unfortunately a Trump voter. He fits the mold, for the most part: older straight white man, affluent, pretty devoutly catholic, grown kids, etc. But he's also the guy who started a tradition of stoop-parties in our building for anyone on the block to come and hang out. This being Harlem, that means mostly POCs, and also a lot of LGBT folks. This dude has absolutely no problem with his neighbors, and being around them is quite obviously the most joyful thing in the world to him. He loves them, they love him, and he's brought our neighborhood closer-together almost single-handedly.

He's not a Trump fan, but some sort of political inertia led him to vote for him. After he tested positive for COVID this spring (and thankfully came out fine on the other end) he was suddenly very in favor of universal health care and a stronger social safety net. He wishes Michelle Obama were running because she's his ideal candidate and he believes she would restore the proper "grace" to the white house.

I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma. I know the standard Trump voter through and through, and generally hate them more than I hate the man himself. But I still have to remember my neighbor, the guy for whom the old GOP inertia is finally running out of steam, who is waking up to how bad things are and finally coming around to changing himself to meet the needs of the times, and think: Him. That's who this statement reaches. And I don't think he's alone.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:50 AM on June 5 [31 favorites]


I still have to remember my neighbor, the guy for whom the old GOP inertia is finally running out of steam, who is waking up to how bad things are and finally coming around to changing himself to meet the needs of the times, and think: Him. That's who this statement reaches. And I don't think he's alone.

Well said. And without voters like your neighbor, Trump doesn't stand a chance.

Trump's base is loud, but they are not even close to a majority. Trump's base is not enough to get him elected. If Mattis reminding Republican voters that Trump is unfit for office is enough to get a few thousand of them not to vote for him, the likelihood of another 2016-style fluke becomes less, and Trump seems rather to be heading for a defeat of epic proportions (TTTCS, but come on, Texas is in play, and money Republicans have to spend to defend Texas is money they don't have for other swing states).

And more, Trump seems likely to take the Republican Party down with him. Republicans have abandoned hope of taking back the House and are desperate to hold on the the Senate, if they can.
posted by Gelatin at 11:07 AM on June 5 [8 favorites]


nicwolff's Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., video link is also at the Air Force Times, headlined:

Stop everything, and watch the likely next Air Force chief of staff’s powerful statement on race (June 5, 2020)

This week has seen the Air Force, along with the rest of the nation, start to grapple with the painful legacy of race and racism. And now, the general who is expected to soon be confirmed as the next chief of staff of the Air Force — becoming the first black service chief in U.S. history — has weighed in with his thoughts.

In a heartfelt, powerful video posted on Twitter Friday, Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown, who is now commander of Pacific Air Forces, spoke about his feelings on the death of George Floyd during an arrest by police in Minneapolis, and the many other black people who “suffered the same fate as George Floyd.” [...] Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright, who is also black, first spoke out on Monday, declaring in part, “I am George Floyd.”

--
Wright's June 1 tweet, unspooled via Thread Reader, opens:

Who am I?

I am a Black man who happens to be the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.

I am George Floyd…I am Philando Castile, I am Michael Brown, I am Alton Sterling, I am Tamir Rice.

Just like most of the Black Airmen and so many others in our ranks…I am outraged at watching another Black man die on television before our very eyes.

posted by Iris Gambol at 12:54 PM on June 5 [9 favorites]


Portland (ME) Press-Herald, 6/5: To President Trump: You should resign now.
We know that you are not much of a student of history, but you recently said that you "learned a lot from Richard Nixon."

That’s good, because he set the historical precedent for what you should do now.
posted by adamg at 6:42 PM on June 5 [10 favorites]


Nothing to do with Mattis, but military related: MARADMIN 331/20 REMOVAL PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG
posted by ctmf at 7:41 PM on June 5 [12 favorites]


MARADMIN 331/20 REMOVAL PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG

This was announced by the Commandant of the Marine Corps in April; this is the official implementation order after running it past the appropriate staff agencies. Which is great, because now the other services can just cut and paste it and not waste any time on legal review or whatever other very important and proper reasons they have.

...

...

(I wouldn't say I'm pessimistic about that happening, but I'm not literally holding my breath either.)
posted by Etrigan at 12:20 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I particularly like how, in the reasoning memo for this decision, the Commandant states that the Confederate Battle Flag has been co-opted by racist groups. The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. Co-opted. By racists.

Somehow even in the memo announcing it was being banned he couldn't bring himself to say the flag is racist. No, no, the racists have co-opted it, before that it was just the battle flag for the army fighting to preserve slavery, nothing racist about that.
posted by Justinian at 2:18 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


But, but..the Confederates thought they were on a mission from God!

(Sound familiar?)
posted by wierdo at 3:36 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Analysis: White House, Pentagon tensions near breaking point:

Calm may return, both in the crisis over Floyd’s death and in Pentagon leaders’ angst over Trump’s threats to use federal troops to put down protesters. But it could leave a residue of resentment and unease about this president’s approach to the military, whose leaders welcome his push for bigger budgets but chafe at being seen as political tools.

Army Secretary: "We don't police American streets, we protect America."
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:46 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Hey, late getting back to this, but I am afraid that a non mouse, a cow herd is right here and I am wrong:

I'm but a wee cog in the healthcare industry. I speak with dozens of healthcare workers daily. That list of workers also changes daily. I am not seeing a growing sentiment amongst those I speak to that they are changing their vote from Trump to Dem or Trump to no vote.

I think I'm conflating my UK and US podcast politics stuff. NHS is probably solidly pissed of at Bojo, but yeah the MAGA runs deep once planted, so this is no time to count on corona to do our job for us.
posted by Gotanda at 2:10 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Perhaps not surprising but something: Colin Powell says he's voting for Biden and, among other things, says Trump has "strayed from the Constitution".
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:05 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Dismay and disappointment — A breach of sacred trust, Army Times Commentary, Retired Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, 6/6/2020:
PHOTO: In this Nov. 7, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by then-U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Vincent Brooks, center left, attends an operational briefing at the eighth Army Operational Command Center at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The recent turns of events in the United States, in cities across our great country, have caused within me feelings of dismay and disappointment.

As an African American man, the feelings of inadequate and unfulfilled justice that I have felt for too many years of my life come again to the fore. And, as a retired career military officer from the family of a retired career military officer, I see again the threat of the use of the active duty military force on the streets of America, and I see the manipulation of the image of the military by our president. Dismay and disappointment.

Dismay, because I remember too many personal encounters with issues of racism, explicit and implicit, that I hoped I would never see again. Issues that I hoped America had outgrown. And yet, I have seen them again, and the grim consequences of them in the forms of deaths and injuries and physical destruction and emotional upheaval and challenges to the Constitution.
...
Disappointment, because a sacred trust has been breached....
More in the article. Considering Brook's personal history and long Army career, the publication of his opinion in the Army Times gives it even more gravitas among service members.

As a commander in chief without any military service whatsoever, let’s hope that President Trump is listening to his these generals.
posted by cenoxo at 12:04 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


The biggest thing that having first so many former generals speak out, followed by the strong statements by the serving commanders, is that it erases that nagging doubt I've always had about "what if" -- if Trump or Pence tried to declare some kind of "emergency" to hold control, would the military go along with it? These statements took any ambiguity for me, and I was really heartened by that.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:27 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]




Trump's Actions Rattle the Military World: "I Can't Support The Man"
But the recent condemnations of Mr. Trump from high-level military veterans like Jim Mattis, the former defense secretary and a retired four-star Marine Corps general, have in some cases fortified the shifting views among military members. “The Mattis statement has changed people in some amazing ways,” said Chelsea Mark, a Marine veteran in Florida who works for a veteran service organization. “I went on a veteran hike recently, and I saw someone wearing a Donald Trump T-shirt, and that same person this week was posting anti-police-brutality things on her Instagram.”
posted by corb at 4:12 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


CNO Gilday has posted a followup video, letting sailors speak for themselves, that the fleet may listen.
posted by nicwolff at 11:49 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


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