Monday, January 4th, 2021
Keep US Army out of election
Ex-Secretary of Defense warn Trump
Would US President Trump use the military if necessary to secure a second term in office? The fact that people talk about it is telling. Now all ten former defense ministers still alive speak up and make a clear announcement.
Ten former US defense ministers have jointly warned against abusing the military in the dispute over the election results. Engaging the armed forces would bring the US into “dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional territory,” warned the Republicans and Democrats in a guest post in the Washington Post. According to the newspaper, these are all ten surviving former Pentagon heads. Signatories include Republican heavyweights like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld from the era of President George W. Bush as well as James Mattis and Mark Esper, who served in the administration of US President Donald Trump.
“Each of us swore an oath to support the constitution and to defend it against all internal and external enemies. We did not swear it to an individual or a party,” says the beginning of the article. With this formulation, not a few should think of Trump. The president who is still in office is not mentioned by name. But the acting Defense Minister Christopher Miller is mentioned. Like his employees, he was obliged by oath, law and example to facilitate the assumption of office for the new government and to support it “wholeheartedly”. He had to refrain from any political action that could jeopardize the election result or the success of “the new team”.
The authors write that the peaceful transfer of power is one of the great achievements of American democracy. After the elections there were recounts and investigations, “reasonable complaints” were brought to court and the electoral body voted. “The time to question the election results is up,” says the article. The US military should not play a role in determining the outcome of an election in the US. This would “lead us into dangerous, lawless and unconstitutional territory”. Civilian and military officials would be liable to prosecution. A peaceful transfer of power is also important because the United States could be vulnerable at this stage.
The chief of staff also clearly loyal to the constitution
Before Christmas there had been reports that Trump should have discussed the imposition of martial law in the United States with advisers in the White House. Accordingly, he could have toyed with the idea of deploying the army internally and thus forcing a second term in office – that would have been the end of democracy and the beginning of a dictatorship. Trump rejected this on Twitter and spoke of “fake news”.
Earlier, Trump-appointed Chief of Staff Mark Milley had emphasized that the US military would stay out of the election. Much like the previous defense ministers in their article in the Washington Post, he said, “We do not take an oath on a king or queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath on an individual. We take an oath the Constitution. ” He had made a similar statement in the summer: “The constitution and the laws of the United States lay down procedures for the conduct of elections – and the settlement of disputes over the outcome of these elections,” wrote Milley in an answer to a related question in August from Congress. “I don’t see the US military as part of this process.”
Republican Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 election. Trump refuses to admit defeat. He failed with more than 50 lawsuits in court. Biden is due to be sworn in as the new president on January 20th.