In 2020, Americans must decide whether their country is worthy of praise or contempt.
Deep State, Deep Trouble
America’s woke generals and the Military-Industrial Complex must be purged to save the nation.
Revelations from a new book, Peril, by Bob Woodward and Rob Costa, reveal just how deep the spiritual rot in the military goes. In the days after the January 6 protest, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, promised, in the event of a war, to give aid and comfort to China. According to the Washington Post, after the Capitol protest, Milley sent secret communiques to the head of the People’s Liberation Army, promising that “If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”
In a decent country such a brazen act of collusion with a foreign power by one of the most prominent leaders of the armed forces would be met with immediate and unrelenting backlash. Instead, this betrayer of the Constitution and the principle of civilian leadership of the military is a liberal darling. At the inauguration, Joe Biden thanked Milley for undermining President Trump in the final weeks of his presidency.
Milley, before reaching out to China, sat down with the service’s top officers and demanded from them what amounted to an oath—none of them would launch a nuclear weapon without his approval. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff went behind the President’s back to secure control over the nation’s most important weapons.
Our generals are losers abroad, and grifters at home. They parrot MSNBC talking points on Twitter and grovel before Fauci. This is bad enough. But Milley’s actions show that America’s top military officers have reached another level of delusion. They fancy themselves a new praetorian guard to protect the nation—as construed by elite editorial boards—from the people’s elected representatives.
This deep state is in control. It is clear that no populist elected leader can trust America’s security establishment. As Senator Chuck Schumer warned President Trump on Rachel Maddow’s show in 2017, the intelligence community has “six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.”
The military establishment is gloating now and flexing its muscle. After the election, outgoing Syria envoy Jim Jeffrey admitted that the Pentagon and State Department had consistently lied to Trump about troop levels in Syria. Before he left office, Trump’s order to have troops out of Afghanistan by January 15 was overruled by the establishment. Trump, far from trying to start a war on his way out of office, sought to end one.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki claims that Milley was following “constitutional orders to prevent unlawful military actions.” According to her, Trump “was implementing an insurrection.” The claim that Trump wished to start a war to distract from the election, upon which Milley based his collusion with the Chinese government, was an utter lie. Nor was Trump implementing an insurrection; the FBI has dispensed with this myth, finding that there was no coordinated plot associated with the Capitol riot.
There will be no hearings, serious journalistic investigations, or outcry from the establishment. Milley will go unpunished. He will retire with full honors and full pension. The Pentagon will never reform itself from the inside. The entire military-industrial complex (MIC) must be dismantled if we are ever to have again an armed forces consistent with the Founders’ republican virtues.
The American Right must be willing to starve the Pentagon of its lifeblood. The most important asset the people have is their bodies. American mothers and fathers need to stop feeding their children into the machine. Heartland American boys and girls have better things to do and better leaders to serve under. The American people must go on strike until the generals once again learn to subordinate themselves to the people.
GOP politicians must assist their constituents in this noble task. They must find real courage and demand radical institutional change. This starts with deep and abiding budget cuts for the Pentagon and the rest of the MIC. The Founders’ distrust of permanent standing armies must be restored.
America should once again rely on true citizen soldiers for national defense.
The world has changed. America’s grand strategy must change with it. Our current conventional force cannot defeat insurgencies anyway. The proliferation of nuclear weapons, on the other hand, means that “Great Power conflict” is virtually impossible. There is no need to keep buying weapons systems designed to fight a redux of WWII. Our bases overseas are a relic of the liberal humanitarian world order. Having 20,000 troops in Okinawa didn’t prevent the Chinese Communist Party from using Twitter bots to stir up hysteria over Covid. Our dozen aircraft carriers didn’t stop our politicians from implementing lockdowns and vaccine passports. America’s air bases in Turkey, Germany, and Diego Garcia didn’t keep the Taliban from retaking control of their country.
America was never the world’s policeman. An empire in the name of democracy and freedom was always an idiotic idea.
Widespread gun ownership is a much better guarantor of American liberty than any SEAL team or aircraft carrier. The Militia Act of 1792 is a much better model for national defense than our current setup. The act enrolled every able-bodied male citizen between the ages of 18 and 45 into the militia. It also demanded that each of these men provide themselves with a “good musket or firelock” and “a sufficient bayonet.” Far from trying to take away firearms, the Founders demanded every American male citizen possess one.
Self-sufficiency in arms is the foundation of liberty, national sovereignty, and independence. Tyrannies never arm their citizens; republics always do. Our security as a nation should not depend on over-hyped “super soldiers.” The “silent professionals” with their podcasts, book deals, and TV appearances play, in the grand scheme of things, only a very minor role in protecting the life, liberty, and property of the American people.
The unmitigated corruption in the leadership of the armed forces is a sign of deep cultural rot. The patriotic flag-waving of the post-9/11 response has been used to great harm against the American people. An unwillingness by the political class to criticize and hold accountable those charged with defending the nation has led to our current spiritual crisis. America can’t win overseas, her generals sell out her leaders to foreign powers, and the retired members of this elite class do nothing but gobble up fat checks from the corporations they once purchased from. This is an untenable state of affairs.
It is time to restore republican virtue, to sweep clean our military establishment.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.