Activism in the U.S. Presidential Election by senior military personnel, retired and serving, has reached an unprecedented level. Alan Austin reports.
That is a savage slam by a political opponent against a sitting United States President. But wait - that is not from a hostile Democrat. It is from General James Mattis, Trump's own Defence Secretary from 2017 to 2019.
Mattis is one of more than 40 senior military officers now on the record condemning Trump for his multiple failures as Commander-in-Chief. Several served in Trump's inner circle until they resigned or were fired.
It is not unknown for a military leader to criticise a president's decision. It is less common for a top commander to resign in protest or be sacked. President Barack Obama accepted General Stanley McChrystal's resignation as senior Commander in Afghanistan in 2010.
But never in U.S. history has there been such an avalanche of condemnations from the top military brass. These have been provoked by more than 12 separate issues.
Mismanaging the coronavirus pandemic
Admiral Steve Abbot was aghast at the needless COVID-19 deaths:
Rear Admiral Kenneth Bernard agreed.
Denigrating the war dead
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark felt obliged to respond to Trump calling fallen soldiers "suckers" and "losers" earlier this month:
Deploying the military to stop protests
General John Allen was shocked at Trump's performance outside St. John's Church in Lafayette Square in June after using the military to clear protesters:
Admiral James Stavridis was equally dismayed:
Trump's decision to send troops into other city streets was the final straw for Admiral Mike Mullen, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Expressing immediate agreement were General Martin Dempsey, General Richard Myers, ex-army engineer and former Defence Secretary William Perry, highly-decorated Vietnam veteran Tom Ridge and Trump's Director of National Intelligence from 2019 to 2020, Admiral Joseph Maguire.
Foreign affairs disasters
Retired General Jack Keane called Trump's decision to allow Turkey to capture northern Syria a "betrayal" and a "strategic blunder".
Lieutenant Colonel John Shimkus, now a Republican congressman, was just as appalled:
Dividing the nation
We started with General Mattis grieving at the divisions Trump has exacerbated.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, Trump's Director for European Affairs for the U.S. National Security Council from July 2018 to February 2020, concurs:
Other issues provoking military umbrage
Captain John Warner and 30-year veteran Rich Faucher condemned Trump hindering mail-in voting. Trump's defiance of the Constitution outraged navy veteran Marty McBride and decorated war hero Lieutenant Larry Pressler. His denigration of the security agencies disturbed Air Force Lieutenant General James Clapper and Major General Paul Eaton.
His continual blatant lying was denounced by both General Stanley McChrystal (remember him?) and General Colin Powell. Those convinced that Trump is unfit to serve because of his ethical and character failings include General John Kelly, 33-year army veteran Jack Spielman and General Raymond Thomas.
Lieutenant Colonel Adam Kinzinger, an air force veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and Republican congressman for Illinois, was outraged last December at Trump threatening civil war if he was impeached:
The last word goes to Admiral William McRaven, who served under all presidents from Carter to Obama:
Alan Austin's defamation matter is nearly over. You can read an update HERE and help out by contributing to the crowd-funding campaign HERE. Alan Austin is an Independent Australia columnist and freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter @AlanAustin001.
(Photo credit: Leah Millis | Reuters).