The American Coup Fallout thread

A bit of a stretch to call 'don’t set off nukes on the say-so of Trump’ a “coup.” Usually that term implies a positive acquisition of power, not a temporary pause or set of oversight-provisions on the power of another. (It’s debatable, I’ll grant.)

Yes, it does appear that Milley did NOT have Constitutional authority for saying ‘don’t let Trump push the button unless there’s confirmation’.

And yes, it’s clear that such eventualities need more codification.

But it’s also clear that no level of mental illness in that President was going to result in the 25th Amendment being deployed. At this point we might as well have a new amendment rescinding the 25th–no one will ever have the courage to use it, if they didn’t have the courage to use it in this situation.

So provisions for this kind of eventuality need to be made. “Presidents can do whatever they wish with our nuclear arsenal no matter how demonstrably irresponsible and destructive” does NOT seem to be a viable policy, going forward.

So much of the US system has been built on the assumption that the people elected to high office would act in good faith. Now we’ve had two mentally unstable presidents in the past 50 years, though Nixon was by far the less severe of the cases. We wanted the ability to quickly react in the event of a nuclear attack so we’ve given a nuclear football to the president in the trust that he’d use that power only when it was absolutely necessary. But nobody considered what would happen if we have a president who is criminally insane. We almost found out the hard way. Kudos to Milley for proactively de-escalating the situation with China. But this was way too close for comfort. Nearly all the adults in the room had been replaced with toadies. Suppose there was no adult supervision at all and that crazy orange bastard had decided that launching nukes at China would guarantee his re-election? Scary shit.

Irrespective of the Constitution, any senior military officer has the moral and legal responsibility to make sure that war is conducted in a legal manner. If he acted out of a legitimate concern that Trump was going to initiate war illegally, then he can certainly disrupt those efforts, regardless of what the Constitution says or doesn’t say. He might have faced a court martial and/or discharge from service, obviously, but IIRC, he was following then-fired Esper’s guidance, based on the concerns of a number of people close to the WH who had observed increasingly erratic behavior.

Milley’s concern might have been predicated on the very stupid thing Trump almost managed to get away with……apparently Trump - with the help of his 30 yr old hatchet man Johnny McEntee and an ex-military advisor named Douglas McGregor - sent a memo to the Pentagon ordering the full withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan before January 15th.

The memo went out without the usual process of review by the national security team and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Milley pushed back and the directive was cancelled.

But Milley’s concern that Trump would do something crazy was based on the fact that Trump did something crazy.

“Now we’ve had two mentally stable presidents in the past 50 years.”


Tell me that I misunderstand your post.

I agree with all of that.

I also agree with this:

I am grateful for the actions Milley took and support all calls for him to be hailed as a hero.

Nevertheless, there are constitutional issues to be nailed down in clear procedures (a comment I’ve been appending to most of my posts on the subject). Civilian control of our military is not only the constitutional and historical norm in the USA, it’s also smart and beneficial.

We haven’t needed clearly-delineated procedures for situations such as Milley found himself in after January 6, when it was painfully clear that Donald Trump was a lawless and irresponsible President. We never dreamed that a lawless and irresponsible person could hold the Presidency and the nuclear codes. Now, we now it’s abundantly possible. (Just today I heard a respectable pundit suggest that it was quite likely that the My Pillow guy might get the 2024 GOP nomination, assuming Donald is incapacitated.)

So it all needs to be nailed down. What can the top generals legally do if and when it looks as though the President will set off nukes to help himself stay in office? We need it codified.

My money would be on Desantis, but Trump has to get out of the way first.

I see DeSantis as more likely than Mike Lindell (the My Pillow guy) too, but I was just noting that a fairly well-known pundit suggested Lindell as a strong possibility. I don’t remember which pundit, because I was so shocked.

The suggestion was a Mike Lindell/Tucker Carlson ticket. Carlson could well team up with DeSantis, too: it would be that desirable-to-Republicans All-White-Guy ticket, and both are well known and (obviously) television-ready.

The Lindell suggestion had to do with the fact that, supposedly, he comes off as a ‘regular guy’ to GOP voters.

DeSantis, despite his mugging for the camera in ‘I don’t know how masks work’ poses, has something substantial to overcome: education credits at both Yale and Harvard. GOP voters do not like that sort of thing, or at least have to be massaged artfully to be willing to overlook it.

Still, I agree with you that he’s the likely candidate, assuming Donald can’t think of a way to poison his well.