Its not an idea or a principle or a law. It’s culture. It’s a norm
that has been socialized into members of the military, especially the leadership, for hundreds of years. I live in Annapolis now by the Naval Academy and it’s quite a joy to see each new cohort of naval officers carry on the tradition.
We had an assault on the Capitol. What could be possibly worse?
Edit to respond to reply below asking if there are no honorable people in the military.
Not saying that there are no honorable people in the military. There are plenty.
What I’m saying is getting to leadership position in the government, business or military requires a lot of political savvy.
Of course everything the Joint Chiefs said is accurate, but also view it through the lens of how saying it now benefits the person saying it.
It’s pretty apparent that the Capitol Riot has led to a major shakeup across the entire government. It’s apparent that everyone is looking to position themselves as best they can for the post-Trump world.
Think of it like after Germany was defeated in WW2. Collaborators told stories of how they bravely resisted. Those who just laid low painted themselves as brave partisans. Some hated Germany for their own selfish reasons but post-war could exploit their resistance and claim to be nationalists. Others saw a power vacuum and realized now was the time to exploit it.
It’s quite interesting to watch.
I'm not sure its fair to jump straight to only viewing it through the lens of how it benefits that person. That assumes it was a completely self-centered act without acknowledging the possibility that they did it because they believed it was the right thing. I would argue that not making any statement would have been more political and less in line with their duty.
Yes, its possible there were political reasons but its also possible (and seems more likely to me) that the statement that was released was an attempt at applying a calm steady hand to remind members of the military of their duty and assure them and the general population that they won't put up with any anti constitutional behavior.
What happened last week was historical; it will be remembered long past the end of our lives. The capitol hasn't been violated like that since the war of 1812 when the British took the city. To me, it warranted a statement from them and I can't think of a better way that they could have handled it.
On the other hand, it's distressing to know why this letter to the military had to be issued reminding service members that the law prohibited them from engaging in insurrection: the presence of military (active and retired) among the insurrectionists, and the danger that would also be the case in the imminently-planned follow-on attacks.
So who's doing better?
I ask because I'm not sure it's possible to be politically neutral, well before asking whether it's desirable. Everybody has a political opinion on almost everything. Even if you're only reporting what has happened, you will find people questioning why you're looking at these things, and not others.
NPR absolutely has political influence, but is it disproportionate? I don't think so. Is it unbalanced? I don't think so. I think we've just spent 6 years beating each other up over extremes, pushing every envelope, that we struggle to recognise neutral coverage.
I know you didn't write the head comment, but I think we need to regain trust in neutrality. Perhaps reinstate some laws to redress balance in things calling themselves "news"... I know I don't know, but what I know is NPR seems like one of the goodies.
As to the supposed difficulty of being neutral I'll just state that it is actually quite easy, all you have to do is make sure that your programming represents the political diversity of the region or country. Given the near 50/50 split between those who align themselves with the GOP and those who prefer the DNC it would be simply a matter of having half the programming made by "progressives", half by "conservatives". Both groups should have essentially the same amount of influence on what gets put on the air. There should not be room for shenanigans like having a station master from party A who does his best to put all programming which aligns more with party B in the nightshift. Throw in a few Libertarian/Green Party/etc. people in the newsroom to give them a proportional voice and you're well on your way to political neutrality.
Maybe you're confusing being politically neutral with being politically centric? They're not the same. It just means that the net average political stance ends up as a weighted average of the current political spectrum.
This is the curse of dimensionality: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_dimensionality. the more complex the subject the less likely it is for someone to actually be able to represent the "Average" of everything.
> You seem to have this idea of what a "textbook" conservative/liberal is, and I think that sort of binary representation is harmful to political discourse at large.
Nope, I have no such illusions. That aside, the way the American republic is set up - with winner-takes-all elections on the national level - does tend to create a dichotomy since voting for "fringe" parties is effectively useless other than to send a signal. This means the choice goes between the GOP and DNC candidates, a binary choice. Some people will vote DNC for some, GOP for other posts but this does not change the fact that the choice is rather limited.
There will be debate between the different "parties" and factions on such a station. This is a feature, not a bug. Let them debate out in the open, let them voice their views on developments for anyone who wants to hear or see. It might not be a 100% accurate representation of the political views of the region but it is far better than the propaganda channels which the media is rife with.
Well, at least that's how it goes in most states. Looking it up: "In 14 states, votes contrary to the pledge are voided and the respective electors are replaced". I guess one could see exactly which states those are, and calculate the possible effects... it would be nice if the above paragraph applied to all of them.
Again? Was there a first occasion? Wiki says "They have never swung an election", citing a Newsweek article. Or do you mean there won't be any faithless electors at all?
They’re actually not. Thanks to a (trump era) SCOTUS ruling, EC votes are now fully regulated by the states.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiafalo_v._Washington (In particular, the Baca case was over replacing a faithless elector)
Obama's warnings were so spot on. He foresaw the assault on institutions and warned that ideas carried by the Republican party and supported by them will tear the country apart.
And it happened in less than 4 years of trump rule.
Make no mistake, the country is torn apart for sure. Radical and in-human ideas have caught on and will become mainstream. The republic is on the road to crash and burn because the rot is spreading into regular public discourse, and so far, the democrats are losing.
It will not be long before a charismatic one, with deep seated ideas, sugar coated with good intentions will take power and slowly work the system from within.
Heck, trump did it overtly, and Republicans are still defending him.
To put it raw, the republicans are defending the idea that violent seditious insurrection activities and storming of the capitol do not warrant a strong punishment.
Its a sad coming decade for America, and the rest of the world.
Why isn't the United States, unlike the Roman Empire before it, constantly plagued by ambitious generals swaying large fractions of the military to their cause and trying for ultimate power?
For the Romans, this was particularly a problem for legions stationed in far-flung corners of the empire like Syria and Britain.
So why do US forces in, say, South Korea or Germany never declare allegiance to their local commanders rather than the State?
In general, I suspect this change stems from a few things. One is that generals do not lead soldiers into combat as directly any more. Another is that soldiers no longer stand to personally profit from combat or war -- there is no taking of booty, raping and pillaging are at the very least heavily frowned upon, etc. And another thing is that combat actions are less frequent these days, so any given soldier has a shorter sequence of experiences and victories with a given commander.
But I'm not an expert historian. These are just some guesses.
Even before the Roman Empire, all people in public life had to spend time in the military. In the Roman Republic you were elected to office, by a very limited voting pool, which included your military connections. It was thought of as more civil than the Roman Kings, who got to be in charge by right of military force.
The Empire grew out of the Dictatorship, which had been a title you were appointed to for a limited term. The term limits went out the window, and they never really established an orderly transition. It was ad hoc for four centuries. They had hardly two successions in a row decided the same way.
Americans, by contrast, prided themselves on their rules. They explicitly contrast themselves with the UK, which had a hereditary monarch. They pride themselves on their orderly democratic transitions.
It helps that George Washington voluntarily limited his term. I believe that his decision not to run again is one of the most important events in history. Americans have almost literally deified Washington; there's an incredibly embarrassing statue of him dressed as Zeus in the Smithsonian.
Washington was a military leader who respected the orderly transition, and that had been a huge part of American self-image. For a military leader to use the military to seize power would be almost unthinkable.
Another is that there is so much money to be made in the military and the surrounding defense contractors, and in the modern day glory with violence and conquering is less pleasurable than big houses and luxury cars.
The military is under the command of the civilian government. There's no protocol for them to act alone. I don't understand why we insist on telling each other these ghost stories about a potential takeover.
It really doesn't matter if there were a few ex-military people in the march on the capitol, either. They're not military leaders.
The troops are conditioned to follow orders. That is why, the troops are always gauged and defended on the basis of the orders and their faithful execution of the orders, no matter how horrific they are. Troops are punished for not following orders.
Those in the administrative side of the army, they are punished for orders and decisions.
So, to subvert the military, you don't have to control the whole of it, just the leadership.
In the present case of America, the military is under the full command of trump. He holds all power and that power is absolute.
Unfortunately, he is a fascist moron with dreams of authoritarian rule.
These statements from the military are essentially telling him, the military will take a decision when push comes to shove, and that decision by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be on the understanding of law, and their oath to the constitution, even though they are bound to follow the orders of the president
The letter is a message to those in uniform reminding them that they are to protect to constitution. Considering the police, military and ex-military involved in the Capitol violence it seems reasonable.
Steve Inskeep on NPR reiterated that this is an extraordinary statement.
Considering the seemingly high number of military veterans among the Capitol mob and the fact that several Capitol police officers have been suspended because of their "friendliness" with the mob, I think there are pretty serious questions on loyalties, indeed.
Moreover these destructive key-decisions would be most likely outrageous and against the interests of the country.
Even if there were, a memorandum is not going to stop it. Oh, geez guys and gals, they told us to stop!
This is just PR and ingratiating themselves before the next budget.
I mean that’s a pretty safe assumption in any organisation of 1.3m people.
There’s also no harm in any organisation of that size in reminding people explicitly what their orders are, in no uncertain terms.
Bush directly caused more damage sending troops into Iraq for example. Did the JC make a fuss after that debacle?
The other is a conspiracy that is neatly attributed to DJT as if he ordered people into the Capitol. (We're attributing intent) We don't have to presume intent on Bush's part, history informs us not with attributions or guesses, but with evidence.
On this point we disagree. I think most soldiers want to be good, loyal soldiers. DJT is Commander in Chief, and I think he has given them some seriously mixed messages of what that would entail, and may give further mixed messages in the next few days. This explicit, unambiguous statement of where a soldier's duties lie is important.
Otherwise this wouldn't be news. There were articles from left-bias organizations over the weekend fearmongering about enlisted Trump supporters.
Believing in dumb bullshit takes _ALL_ kinds.
2)Unambiguously leadership on core principles is not a PR stunt.
This move matters, because it is important that members of the armed forces be able to distinguish between lawful orders, which they must obey, even if they do not like them, and unlawful orders, which they must not obey.
A president can't just say "invade Cuba!" and it gets done in Today's world (maybe it was the case in the 1800s). Advisors and the Military (and Congress) have to concur that it's within reason do do such a thing.
Reminding active service members that their oath is to the constitution, not the executive, at this moment is prudent.
But I think it's very dangerous to assume that institutions have the internal integrity to shrug off abuse of power because of their rules and norms.
The military has a hate group problem. But it doesn't know how bad it's gotten.
The use of nuclear weapons is clearly covered by that clause and several others giving Congress the power to regulate the military, whereas the Executive has the authority to execute those duly regulated rules.
a) Do not commit crimes as a serviceperson, no matter who orders them
b) Anything that disrupts the transition of power is a crime
c) At 12:00p on January 20, Joe Biden is the commander-in-chief, not Donald Trump
I pray it works, because it could get really ugly if Donald Trump attempts to give orders to defend what he claims to be his stolen second term.
Is it reasonable to suspect Trump will stay on until inauguration? Sure. But Trump could have a stroke and straight up die tonight, making Pence president for a week.
It’s fascinating to me why they didn’t simply say Biden will become our next president.
Trying to scour wikipedia over this. I'll comment here if I find the source.
Some lists count him as both 22nd and 24th, and some count him as just 22nd.
Also, does anyone read these parts as contradictory & likely a lie?
> U.S. officials said Milley had not commented on last week’s events because he wanted to stay out of politics.
> The silence was in sharp contrast to June, when Milley made a controversial walk to a church with Trump after law enforcement officers backed by National Guard troops used tear-inducing chemicals and rubber bullets to clear the area of peaceful protesters.
Is it possible perhaps that the Joint Chiefs were seeing how the insurrection played out before picking sides? What would this situation had looked like if the rioters had murdered a bunch of congresspeople? Would the Joint Chiefs be saying "it's a national emergency and Trump must stay President to calm things down"?
I know there's a tendency to valorize the military leadership, but given how politicized the general environment is (& even moreso with Trump's known penchant for selecting for yes-men), is it really that absurd to think about whether they're doing some professional fence-sitting rather than trying to avoid polarization? It doesn't take that much to come out right away and say "an attack on the capitol is unacceptable & anyone involved will be punished. We will have more to say once we take in the totality of what has happened"
Not likely. Loyalty to the Constitution, and not the President or any one person, is the living cultural bedrock of the US military. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Milley spoke about this recently in the most explicit terms:
Just before the election, he reminded Trump administration that all this nonsense is not going to dwell anywhere in the military: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMaI1Hg8dl8
That doesn't mean that all political submissions are cool on HN. If you want to read about how we approach this, see https://hn.algolia.com/?query=political%20overlap%20by:dang&.... If there's still a question after reviewing that material, I'd like to know what it is.
Aaaannnnd it's gone front the front page, that was quick