Monday, June 8, 2020

UPDATED: Terrific: The Night Of The Generals

Lately everyone is looking for historical parallels for America's continuing crisis--French Revolution, Russian Revolution, etc. Commenter aNanyMouse has drawn attention to a question posed today by Audacious Epigone (more on the rest of his blog post, Hard Left: Police Have It Coming, later):

Many young leftists are in a revolutionary mood. 
Will America get their revolution, her own Sulla, or end the hate and separate?

AE's question is provocative and well worth considering in depth. To put things in context, consider who Sulla was. Sulla was a Roman general who intervened in Rome's civil strife and sided with the Power Elite (the Senatorial class, the Optimates) against the Populists (the Populares).

Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman who won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history and became the first man of the Republic to seize power through force. 
He ... crushed the Populares and ... then revived the office of dictator, .... He used his powers to purge his opponents, and reform Roman constitutional laws, in order to restore the primacy of the Senate [the Power Elite] and limit the power of the tribunes of the plebs [We the people]. ... 
Sulla's military coup ... permanently destabilized the Roman power structure. 

Related issues are raised--in spades--by Christopher Roach in a terrific article at American Greatness:

Night of the Generals
The unelected parts of the government, including the military, are revolting against the electoral control by the people enshrined in the Constitution.

Obviously Roach is taking our generals to task--Mattis, Kelly, McMaster, Milley, Mullen. But Roach goes further and identifies our generals--like Sulla--as acting (for now, because power corrupts) in the interests of our modern Power Elite. And he identifies that Power Elite, as well.

The article itself is lengthy, so I'll just give you a flavor. In what follows I've selected passages plucked out of their proper context but arranged to hopefully provide a coherent argument. Please read the entire original:

The cultivation of chaos exposes the government as ineffective and ultimately removes its legitimacy. 
A different kind of planned chaos has challenged Trump’s presidency. ... Even before President Trump was sworn in, commentators and Democratic Party officials spoke openly of impeachment. Simultaneously, the intelligence services were spreading tall tales of Russian “collusion,” leading to a nearly three-year-long distraction in the form of the special counsel. 
Then Trump faced nationwide injunctions from courts intent on blocking his core executive powers. When Trump wanted to withdraw U.S. forces from the Syrian quagmire, the entire foreign policy community joined in a chorus of condemnation. 
Now, after a months-long, highly destructive coronavirus shutdown also supported by the establishment, the country is facing war in the streets. The spark was an arrest in Minnesota, where the suspect, George Floyd, died in police custody. Local protests and looting ensued. But a united effort by journalists, Antifa terrorists, social media, and other sources of influence fanned this spark into a nationwide conflagration. 
Practically every corporation in America has now weighed in with gestures of support and a vague message that we all need to “do better.” 
[A]ctive-duty Army general and current Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Milley implied that the proposed use of the military to stop riots would violate an unwritten code, warning his subordinates that “we all committed our lives to the idea that is America—we will stay true to that oath and the American people.” 
While this all sounds very idealistic, it is mostly middlebrow horseshit. Like the FBI’s claim of independence, it is anti-democratic elitism masquerading as the protection of democracy. 
A more important tradition, one actually enshrined in the Constitution, is civilian control of the military. 
Local and state police can normally control riots. But riots, combined with media support, big business support, local government support, organized Antifa groups, billionaire financiers, and a conspiracy against the president by factions within the government, is something both new and dangerous. The rhetoric and the tactics are reminiscent of CIA-funded “color revolutions,” complete with calls for Trump to “step down” because it is “inevitable.” 
As in those color revolutions, the current protests are made in the name of managerial class ideology—the fight for progressive values and globalism against structural racism. In other words—as the “heartfelt letters” from Fortune 500 companies make clear—this is an establishment-supported riot. They consider Trump, and his deplorable supporters, hostile outsiders. 
Prestigious ex-generals joining this struggle and directing military power away from presidential control is entirely new and extremely dangerous. ... Now they are combining with aggrieved ex-officials, civil servants, and mutinous active-duty officers. 
During [Obama's] presidency, the military became soaked in the same corporate diversity speak that originated in our elite universities. He ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and extended protections to transsexuals. The military academies became hotbeds of leftist indoctrination, ... 
The FBI and the CIA did not succeed in galvanizing the American people against the president. Their prestige and power were never the same as the military’s. If the military joins the left-wing resistance, it would succeed in commandeering the most powerful instrument of the state. 
Anyone who really cares about the Constitution and the rule of law should be alarmed. The unelected parts of the government, including the military, are revolting against the electoral control by the people enshrined in the Constitution.

The role that the military leadership is playing is unquestionably alarming. We need to keep a close eye on that situation. OTOH, getting enlisted men to start shooting at their families, friends, and neighbors is probably a bridge too far.

On the other hand, AE's blog presents some polling results that break down public support for Leftist/Corporatist rebellion. There's a lot that could be said about the polling results, but for my purposes I will draw attention to the framing of the three questions: "not entirely inappropriate." That, to me, suggests that support for the issues polled would probably have been much lower if the issues had been presented in stronger, more categorical, terms. Nevertheless, here is that polling for you to make what you will of it. It repays a close scrutiny, I think:

My view is that those results do not bode well for the Left. Re the surprisingly high tolerance for violence against the police, I suspect those results will change dramatically once the facts of the George Floyd situation become more widely known. The Left is riding a Tiger--I'm still convinced of that.

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Bebe for recalling this quote from AG Barr, who recognizes the danger of unelected bureaucrats, especially in the national security field, interfering in politics:

"Why are we worried about foreign influence in the campaign?" he asked. "We should be, because the heart of our system is the peaceful transfer of power through elections and what gives the government legitimacy is that process. And if foreign elements can come in and affect it, that's bad for the republic. But by the same token, it's just as dangerous to the continuation of self-government and our republican system that we do not allow government power, law enforcement or intelligence power, to play a role in politics, to intrude into politics, and affect elections."
"I mean, republics have fallen because of a Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant," he said, referring to the personal guards of the Roman Emperor, who as the empire gradually decayed, began to kill emperors who got a little too crazy or too ambitious, and replace them with whoever could pay the most. "They identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state."

Just another example of Barr thinking way ahead of the curve.


  1. I guess it's a bit encouraging, that only 60% of Very liberal folks see violence vs. cops to be "not entirely inappropriate."

    Where he writes "Practically every corporation", I'll guess he really means "Practically every *large* corporation".

    I'm sure more thoughts will strike me, later today.

  2. It's also a bit encouraging, that only 38% of (moderate?) liberal folks see violence vs. cops as maybe OK, this after a weeks-long barrage of SJW propaganda from the MSM.

    And, today, Howie Kurtz dissed the uproar at NYT (over Cotton's Op-Ed), as betraying the paper's prior rep for welcoming "all views".
    His drift was, whatever is being done there now, it's *not journalism*.
    So at least (as per the Zman quote I posted today), we're seeing the beginning, of famous liberals starting to publicly face music, about the rank degeneracy of, as he put it, "the *woke monster* they have unleashed".

    1. Or "not entirely inappropriate." Which could be, 90% inappropriate.

      And now after the Dems' ritual kente clothed knee Pelosi is dodging questions re defunding police. They've seen similar polling.

  3. Wasn’t it AG Barr who likened them to the Praetorian Guard?

  4. "implied that the proposed use of the military to stop riots would violate an *unwritten code*".
    When Ike sent troops to Little Rock, and JFK did so at Ol Miss, did they violate an unwritten code?

    1. You err because you lack understanding.

      The unwritten code is that Trump shall do nothing without sanction by the establishment and the deep state.

      See how that clears everything up?

  5. "...Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Milley implied that the proposed use of the military to stop riots would violate an unwritten code...."

    Would that be the political General code of "Always land on your feet on the winning side" or the Pentagon revolving door code of "Never upset the Deep State applecart of sweet gigs."
    Tom S.