Letters: 8/1/19

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

U.S. military can refuse Trump’s orders to war 

On August 22, Donald Trump, the president of the United States and commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces, said this about the war in Afghanistan: “If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. It would be gone. It would be over in, literally, in ten days.”

Earlier the same day, regarding whether or not the U.S and Iran would end up in a war, Trump commented offhandedly: “I’m OK either way it goes.”

And of course, there was the president’s threat against North Korea — this was before he “fell in love” with that country’s dictator, Kim Jong-un — on August 2017, commitment to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Kim’s nuclear weapons development program continued to endanger America.

Some with whom I’ve been conversing on these matters of Trump and war claim such statements by him are part of a clever strategy to scare opponents into compliance with his will, that he wouldn’t really take military actions to annihilate opponent nations.  This would put Trump in the camp of practitioners of Richard Nixon’s Vietnam-era Madman Theory (see Wikipedia’s entry on Madman Theory for details).

But do you recall the news that came out during the 2016 campaign about candidate Trump’s hour-long foreign policy briefing, during which he three times asked about the use of nuclear weapons?  The Telegraph of Britain reported TV host Joe Scarborough’s statement, based on conversation with the foreign policy expert with whom Trump consulted: “Three times he asked. At one point ‘If we have them, why can’t we use them?’ He asked three times in an hour briefing ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’”

Given Donald Trump’s clear mental-emotional instability, given his propensity to exacerbate conflict and chaos when he wants attention, or wants attention drawn away from his numerous scandals and government investigations of him and his family, and given his unquestionably demonstrated central, almost exclusive concern for himself, the chances that he will at some point, for primarily non-military reasons, attempt to initiate massively destructive, murderous military attack on another nation are real and not small.

In such a situation, the leaders of the United States military must be fully prepared to follow the dictate of our armed forces that all personnel have a duty to refuse “illegitimate orders” from any superior, including the commander-in-chief.

Matt Nicodemus/Boulder 

Meaningless oath?

I suppose it’s too much to ask that “Republic”an Party leaders read and understand a taxpayer-funded report detailing multiple misdeeds of their “man” now occupying America’s White House.

It’s certainly not too much to ask that they honor their oath to “protect and defend” our Constitution. That’s actually the job description they accepted when they joined the club.

Could it be mass hysteria?

I wasn’t aware that bone spurs were contagious and caused impaired judgment, but sadly that appears to be the case.

Tommy Holeman/via internet

On campaign finance

Corporate billions are spent annually on advertising because it works. The Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United upheld that limiting campaign spending was unconstitutional, insuring that elections and politicians can be bought on the open market. It is important to note just who the big campaign donors, the power brokers and special interest groups are and who they are supporting. There are reasons they want attention and consideration from public offices. Small donor campaigns are at an advertising disadvantage, but they do represent significant numbers of voters and boots on the ground not beholden to special interests. They are working for a government based on the ideal of democracy, hearing the voice of the people.

Robert Porath/Boulder

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