When Military Officers Say No | William Thomas Online | William Thomas

When Military Officers Say No

War Is A Racket -Gen. Smedley Butler USMC


Defiance In Five Six Acts


by William Thomas USNR (Resigned)



In case you missed it, by telling Americans in uniform to disobey an unlawful order from their commander in chief, last week’s soft coup by America’s top military officials effectively ended a presidency that has inflicted so much suffering on Americans, and so much needless trauma, death, ruin and displacement in distant neighborhoods. Mostly among children under the age of 15.

Let’s start with excerpts from what CNN last week called the “jaw-dropping” statements of a four-star general. (Click on links for their full remarks.)



Former Secretary of Defense, USMC General (Ret.) James Mattis on June 4, 2020:

I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand – one that all of us should be able to get behind…

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.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens – much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside…


After pointedly condemning the Nazi tactic of divide-and-conquer, Gen. Mattis disavowed the commander in chief, saying:

We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society…

We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.


Gen. Mattis concluded his appeal with words many Americans have been yearning to hear for a very long time: 

Only by adopting a new path – which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals – will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.






The previous evening, former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and all U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and four-star General John Allen (Ret.) said this:


Donald Trump expressed only the barest of condolences at the murder of George Floyd, but he also said nothing about the fundamental and underlying reasons for the unrest: systemic racism and inequality, a historic absence of respect, and a denial of justice. All of these factors are centuries old and deeply engrained in an American society that systematically delivers white privilege at the expense of people of color…


While there may be some very accomplished criminals on both sides of the riots, the truth is that they are minuscule in numbers. The vast majority of the people protesting in the streets are justifiably furious at the murder of George Floyd, but they’re even angrier over pervasive injustice, mass incarceration, frequent false arrests, and an institutionalized devaluation of black lives and property.


After condemning white supremacists, Allen added:

There is no precedent in modern U.S. history for a president to wield federal troops in a state or municipality over the objections of the respective governor. Right now, the last thing the country needs – and, frankly, the U.S. military needs – is the appearance of U.S. soldiers carrying out the president’s intent by descending on American citizens…


Allen also slammed Trump’s ill-advised photo-op in Lafayette Park, where fully equipped riot police and troops violently, and without provocation, set upon the peaceful demonstrators [who] had done nothing to warrant such an attack…

Perhaps sensing this moment as an opportunity for an easy victory after his appalling leadership failure in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the president came down hard: hard on the governors and mayors he’d labeled as weak, the same ones he’d left to fend for themselves during the pandemic, and hard on the Americans in the streets against whom he is preparing to dispatch “thousands upon thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement.”


The retired general reserved his strongest contempt for a vicious and feckless pretender:

The president stood in front of St. John’s, holding a Bible aloft, and expropriated the image of the church, the Holy Bible, and the Christian faith as the backdrop and basis for his words and deeds in dealing with this crisis.


Allen asked Americans to listen to Terrence Floyd’s advice from the scene of his brother’s murder. “Vote… Educate yourselves… There’s a lot of us.”

This could be the beginning of the change of American democracy not to illiberalism, but to enlightenment, Allen concluded. But it will have to come from the bottom up. For at the White House, there is no one home.





During a June 3 press conference in the Pentagon,  Defense Secretary Mark Esper refused to sign off on Trump’s threat to use active duty troops to “quickly solve the problem” and “dominate the streets.”


I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act that circumvents clear rules against the military's policing its fellow citizens,” Esper emphasized, as active duty troops assembled outside the D.C. city limits.


Top general joins Trump for photo flop



Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, regrets accompanying Trump across a violently-cleared Lafayette Square for a “biblical” photo op.

"I should not have been there," America’s top military chief now says. "My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics."


As Tyler Durden points out, Milley’s mutiny is the latest fissure in what the New York Times calls "the deepest civil-military divide since the Vietnam War.” 

Just days before Trump’s photo op revenge, he and his top general reportedly “got into a shouting match” over the commander in chief’s desire to put federal boots on the ground in cities burning across the USA. “I'm not doing that. That's for law enforcement, Gen. Milley maintained.

“Military leaders,” Durden adds, “are now positioning themselves firmly with those calling for c