Saturday, February 25, 2017

Fruit Salad


Fruit salad. That's the military slang for the ribbons that appear on military dress uniforms. They are symbolic of heroism, service, and sacrifice for members of the armed forces.  High ranking generals and admirals usually are loaded with fruit salad, the spoils of years of military service.

For reasons fairly easy to discern, President Trump has deigned to appoint several generals to high-ranking positions in his administration. It's not unusual for military retirees to move into civilian government positions. They have served in administrations of both parties. What is different about Trump's presidency?

During the campaign, Trump often disparaged generals that he blamed for "allowing" ISIS to continue to operate. He claimed to "know more than the generals" about how to fight and defeat ISIS. Trump's ridiculous blatherings notwithstanding, Trump has no knowledge of military tactics or the nuances of foreign policy. His political victory remains a testament to the unimaginable stupidity of an electorate fascinated by celebrity and inanity.

But, what does it mean now that there are generals in charge of civilian functions of our government? What expertise do they bring other than their military views and experience? How can generals operate within the very different confines of civilian authority when all they ever have known was the discipline of the military?

When the corrupt machinations of Trump and his administration are ultimately revealed, as they surely will be, how might generals respond to the ensuing chaos? I remember decades ago when President Reagan was shot, in the ensuing chaos of the response to the assassination attempt, Reagan's Secretary of State, General Alexander Haig, incorrectly and unconstitutionally declared himself "in control". The Vice President is next in line, whether present or not, and the 25th Amendment describes the remaining line of succession.

When the Trump Presidency implodes, what will his hardened generals think is their responsibility? The President, the Commander in Chief, is a civilian role. The fruit salad on their uniforms doesn't give them the right to usurp the Constitution and let us all hope they don't.


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