Opinion| Lawrence David| The most important rule in maintaining our Democratic Republic is the acceptance of civilian control of the military. 

It’s the one thing that provides “We the People” control over our war country’s machine.

Adherence to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) must be absolute… anything else infringes on the rights of the people to determine public policy.  

If a president is deemed a threat to the country there is an impeachment procedure requiring two-thirds vote by the U.S. Senate for removal.  Again, the removal process is in the hands of elected officials… civilian government.

So, when the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, openly disagreed with President Trump’s threat to invoke the Insurrection Act, he became a direct threat to the command structure.

With American cities literally burning, President Trump discussed the possibility of invoking the Insurrection Act, which would allow the U.S. military to act as domestic law enforcement.

Esper’s comments following the president’s warning were troubling to say the least…

“I’ve always believed and continue to believe that the National Guard is best suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations in support of local law enforcement.

“I say this not only as secretary of defense, but also as a former soldier and a former member of the National Guard. The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.

“We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

Esper’s insubordination didn’t end there.  

Only days later, with Washington D.C. bracing for an invasion of an estimated one million “protesters” Esper ordered the National Guard troops protecting the city, specifically the area around the White House, to disarm. 

According to officials with knowledge of the situation, President Trump told Attorney General William Barr that he wanted the National Guard to be armed in order to protect themselves from the expected influx of violent rioters. 

However, Esper overrode the president when he told the D.C. National Guard leadership to take the weapons of National Guardsmen who were coming in from other states and to wear soft caps instead of riot helmets.

Esper may get away with his insubordination if the protests are peaceful… something they haven’t been since they began.  He’s also put himself in the position of having blood on his hands… not just the blood of his guardsmen but their duty to protect the White House and the president.

The “throw the kitchen sink” political war underway against President Trump… COVID lockdowns intended to crush the economy… violence, destruction, and arson in Deep Blue cities where it would be tolerated… and a break in the UCMJ by the highest ranking Military official… appears to be the modern equivalent of the Tet offensive… the last great effort to marshal all available resources in a desperate last gasp to destroy the president…

Why else would a decorated military leader risk court martial? 

Mark Sidney

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