Coup or civil war in 2024- on which side will the US military stand?
In a historic step, the US military leadership committed itself to democracy and all of the constitutional processes in response to the events in the Capitol and other possible obstacles to the inaugration of Joe Biden in 2021. Here the document:
“The American people have trusted the Armed Forces of the United States to protect them and our Constitution for almost 250 years. As we have done throughout our history, the U.S. military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civil authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
The violent riot in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process. We mourn the deaths of the two Capitol policemen and others connected to these unprecedented events.
We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule oflaw. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection.
As Service Members, we must embody the values and ideals of the Nation. We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law.
On January 20, 2021, in accordance with the Constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th Commander in Chief.
To our men and women deployed and at home, safeguarding our country-stay ready, keep your eyes on the horizon, and remain focused on the mission. We honor your continued service in defense of every American.”
Indirectly, this may also have been a sign against Trump, for example when the generals write that they will defend the United States Constitution against all enemies, “foreign and domestic”. It is very unusual for the American military to be so specific about domestic affairs. The document bears the handwriting of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, crystal clear and unambiguously worded, and closely aligned with the constitution and the mandate of the armed forces. The document was signed alongside General Milley by General John. E. Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General James C. McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army; General David H. Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps; Admiral Michael M. Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations; General Charles Q. Brown Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force; General John. W. Raymond, Chief of Space Operations; and General Daniel R. Hokanson, Chief of the National Guard Bureau. It is noteworthy that the entire military leadership, but not the civil or political leadership, signed the document. However, there may have been agreements here beforehand. Incidentally, the document is not only aimed at active personnel in the armed forces, but also at veterans and reservists, with it likely reaching hundreds of thousands of U.S. Citizens who have served their country on missions. And who often listen to what comes out of the leadership of the military.
However, a year later three former US-generals warn of military uprising or civil war in the USA in an oped in the Washinton Post.
“Opinion: 3 retired generals: The military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection
By Paul D. Eaton, Antonio M. Taguba
and Steven M. Anderson
December 17, 2021 at 5:05 p.m. EST
Paul D. Eaton is a retired U.S. Army major general and a senior adviser to VoteVets. Antonio M. Taguba is a retired Army major general, with 34 years of active duty service. Steven M. Anderson is a retired brigadier general who served in the U.S. Army for 31 years.
As we approach the first anniversary of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, we — all of us former senior military officials — are increasingly concerned about the aftermath of the 2024 presidential election and the potential for lethal chaos inside our military, which would put all Americans at severe risk.
In short: We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time.
One of our military’s strengths is that it draws from our diverse population. It is a collection of individuals, all with different beliefs and backgrounds. But without constant maintenance,
The signs of potential turmoil in our armed forces are there. On Jan. 6, a disturbing number of veterans and active-duty members of the military took part in the attack on the Capitol. More than 1 in 10 of those charged in the attacks had a service record. A group of 124 retired military officials, under the name “Flag Officers 4 America,” released a letter echoing Donald Trump’s false attacks on the legitimacy of our elections.
Recently, and perhaps more worrying, Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, the commanding general of the Oklahoma National Guard, refused an order from President Biden mandating that all National Guard members be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Mancino claimed that while the Oklahoma Guard is not federally mobilized, his commander in chief is the Republican governor of the state, not the president.
The potential for a total breakdown of the chain of command along partisan lines — from the top of the chain to squad level — is significant should another insurrection occur. The idea of rogue units organizing among themselves to support the “rightful” commander in chief cannot be dismissed.
How the Capitol attack unfolded, from inside Trump’s rally to the riot | Opinion
Early on Jan. 6, The Post’s Kate Woodsome saw signs of violence hours before thousands of President Trump’s loyalists besieged the Capitol. (Joy Yi, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post)
Imagine competing commanders in chief — a newly reelected Biden giving orders, versus Trump (or another Trumpian figure) issuing orders as the head of a shadow government. Worse, imagine politicians at the state and federal levels illegally installing a losing candidate as president.
All service members take an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution. But in a contested election, with loyalties split, some might follow orders from the rightful commander in chief, while others might follow the Trumpian loser. Arms might not be secured depending on who was overseeing them. Under such a scenario, it is not outlandish to say a military breakdown could lead to civil war.
In this context, with our military hobbled and divided, U.S. security would be crippled. Any one of our enemies could take advantage by launching an all-out assault on our assets or our allies.
The lack of military preparedness for the aftermath of the 2020 election was striking and worrying. Trump’s acting defense secretary, Christopher C. Miller, testified that he deliberately withheld military protection of the Capitol before Jan. 6. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reportedly scrambled to ensure the nation’s nuclear defense chains were secure from illegal orders. It is evident the whole of our military was caught off-guard.
With the country still as divided as ever, we must take steps to prepare for the worst.
First, everything must be done to prevent another insurrection. Not a single leader who inspired it has been held to account. Our elected officials and those who enforce the law — including the Justice Department, the House select committee and the whole of Congress — must show more urgency.
But the military cannot wait for elected officials to act. The Pentagon should immediately order a civics review for all members — uniformed and civilian — on the Constitution and electoral integrity. There must also be a review of the laws of war and how to identify and deal with illegal orders. And it must reinforce “unity of command” to make perfectly clear to every member of the Defense Department whom they answer to. No service member should say they didn’t understand whom to take orders from during a worst-case scenario.
In addition, all military branches must undertake more intensive intelligence work at all installations. The goal should be to identify, isolate and remove potential mutineers; guard against efforts by propagandists who use misinformation to subvert the chain of command; and understand how that and other misinformation spreads across the ranks after it is introduced by propagandists.
Finally, the Defense Department should war-game the next potential post-election insurrection or coup attempt to identify weak spots. It must then conduct a top-down debrief of its findings and begin putting in place safeguards to prevent breakdowns not just in the military, but also in any agency that works hand in hand with the military.
The military and lawmakers have been gifted hindsight to prevent another insurrection from happening in 2024 — but they will succeed only if they take decisive action now.”
The next presidential election could be dangerous in the politically divided country if candidate like Trump, who is running again, does not accept the election result and can pull parts of the military on his side. In the USA, not only is the storm on the Capitol currently being dealt with, in which Trump and Co. are presumably betting on being able to seize power. Now three ex-generals have reported in a comment in the Washington Post warning that the next presidential election in 2024, in which Trump is likely to run again, could lead to an uprising or even a civil war, of which the enemies of the USA would benefit. After the storm on the Capitol, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the Biden administration to investigate the tendency towards extremism among soldiers and officers and to clarify the definition of extremism. A Countering Extremism Working Group was set up for this purpose, which has completed its report but has not yet published it. Obviously the contents are sensitive. The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act requires incidents related to extremism to be reported. All of this shows that the military is increasingly seen as a breeding ground for extremist or right-wing extremist positions and as a threat to democracy. Paul D. Eaton, Antonio M. Taguba and Steven M. Anderson call on the military to prepare for this with exercises, wargames, in order to discover weak points. They are concerned because the military is obviously seething. There is a „deadly chaos“ in the military that could endanger all Americans. It is unusual for former officers who are allowed to continue to have an ear to the troops to warn about the military. After the elections there could be a collapse of the chain of command because the soldiers are just as politically divided as society.
There is a risk of a “shadow government” led by the loser. „Imagine competing commanders-in-chief – a newly elected Biden issuing orders and Trump (or some other Trumpian character) issuing orders as the head of a shadow government. Worse still, imagine if politicians at the state and federal level illegally appoint a defeated candidate to be president. “ Always looking at the storm on the Capitol, they say that none of the inspirers of the attempted coup was held accountable, above all Donald Trump, of course, who is not explicitly named. That has to change, say the ex-generals. The military itself is particularly worrying for them. also published a letter in the Washington Post warning Trump and the soldiers not to involve the military in resolving the election disputes. That could be dangerous.
The warning also came because Trump fired Espen as Secretary of Defense in November 2020 and brought loyal people to the Pentagon. Trump then announced that it could get „wild“ on January 6th. There was apparently a plan worked out by an ex-military specializing in PsyOps to declare a national emergency and send military to the Capitol. In addition, they wanted to try an alleged foreign intervention in the elections. Shortly before the day, Trump opponents, who protested a lot and clashed with right-wing groups like the Proud Boys, came up with the slogan to stay at home on January 6th. Some sensed a trap or perhaps knew about it. There was the hashtag #DontTakeTheBait. The putschists had obviously hoped that troops would be sent to Congress, which would then have supported the stormers on Capitol Hill. The National Guard was operational (and the Pentagon hesitated for hours to use it against the Trump supporters at the request of the police). It had been assumed that the threat would come from the Antifa, demonized by Trump, or that it could be made to appear that way. But there were no anti-Trump protests that day. And Vice President Mike Pence didn’t play along.
After all, 10 percent of those accused of the attack on the Capitol were soldiers. And according to a recently published report by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, at least 458 ex-military officers have been arrested, charged, or convicted of committing or planning crimes by extremists since 1990 Ideology were motivated. They are almost exclusively men who were mainly members of militias or other anti-government groups such as Sovereign Citizen, Oathkeepers or Boogaloo or racist or right-wing movements such as Proud Boys, Ku KluxKlan or Aryan Nations. Even if those involved in the storming of the Capitol are left out, the number of those with a military background who committed such crimes has increased from 6.9 to 17.7 annually. Of course, that’s no wonder, the police and the military tend towards right-wing, authoritarian attitudes everywhere. Professional armed forces, which tend to attract authoritarian and violence-oriented people, are particularly dangerous. This became clear again in Germany with the Bundeswehr and above all with the KSK. The American ex-generals know this and call on the Pentagon not to wait for political decisions, but to check all civilian and uniformed employees for compliance with the constitution and “electoral integrity”. The laws of war should also be addressed in order to identify illegal orders. It must also be made clear whom must be obeyed:
“In addition, all branches of the military in all facilities must do more intensive intelligence work. The aim should be to identify, isolate and eliminate potential mutineers; protect oneself from the efforts of propagandists who use misinformation to undermine the chain of command; and to understand how this and other misinformation spreads through the ranks after it was introduced by propagandists. „
Now it is no longer about the disinformation from the evil foreign countries, especially from Russia, which one has learned to understand in order to preserve the unity of the nation, but about the disinformation from American society itself, i.e. from circles interested in power politics of the divided Society taking advantage of the fact that election results are being called into question. This is particularly explosive because the Biden government has just staged its symbolic “Summit of Democracies”. The US continues to pretend to be the leader of democracy in the world, but has just become an example of how quickly democracies can erode. So, with the start of the summit as part of the “Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal”, Washington is investing money for democratization abroad, but it is better not to look too closely at home. In fact, the situation is a two-party system and an urgently needed renewal of the electoral system is not even started. Such a civil war or paralyzes could of course also used by Russia and China to annex East Ukraine or Taiwan and use this golden window of opportunity. However, another scenario was that Biden looses the next elections and Trump becomes US President again. In that case the US military might obey him as official and legitimate commander in chief.