Donald Trump's Cabinet of Generals Grows

Curt Wechsler | December 8, 2016

From the tributes paid to Trump's nominee for Secretary of Defense you'd expect retired Marine Corps General "Mad Dog" Mattis to be some kind of 'warrior poet'. Dig a little deeper. His quips about warfare are neither amusing nor benign.

The "most revered Marine in a generation" advised his troops that fighting is "a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling."

The commander who "left soldiers to die" in Afghanistan faces a requirement of consent from both houses of Congress to waive the seven year waiting period between retirement of military officers and employment in a civilian role. Serious resistance to Mattis' appointment is not expected, despite objection from Representative Adam Smith and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, members of the respective Armed Services Committees. "Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy, and I will not vote for an exception to this rule," said Gillibrand.

The president-elect's move to pack his administration with military brass presages an increased militarization of American policy.

Trump is expected to pick retired General John Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security. Kelly served three years as head of U.S. Southern Command during the Obama administration's failed attempt to close Guantanamo. Kelly is a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He takes a tough stance on border security, warning Congress of smuggling rings in Mexico that spirit "tens of thousands of people to our nation's doorstep.

"Retired Army Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn has been tagged by the president-elect for the position of National Security Adviser. The former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency was retired early at age 56, his 'gung-ho' style deemed too 'disruptive' for an (Obama) administration determined to sweep the history of Iraq and Afghanistan under the rug.

Trump is also considering ousted General David H. Petraeus, for Secretary of State. The former CIA director stepped down on November 9, 2012 after pleading guilty to mishandling classified information; he had given his biographer, who was also his mistress, sensitive material.

You can't make this stuff up, and you shouldn't go along with it.

Fascism is the Price We Pay for U.S. Hegemony

It is not just a Trump presidency that needs defeating, notes Professor of Theology and Culture Mark Lewis Taylor, but more fundamentally the system of state repression erected by Democrats and Republicans alike to serve the interests of America's ruling class. 

"This is our hour of protest," urges revolutionary journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal. "We have to physically resist. We will reclaim our power when we say no, when we refuse to cooperate. We must, in everything we do, defy the architects of imperialism, neoliberalism and mass incarceration."

depressed
The impending inauguration of Donald Trump's regime should inspire trepidation of the violence promised by appointees to his cabinet, whose racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and misogynist statements advance a hateful and dangerous ideology. We are already witnessing an alarming spike in hate crimes. But fear should never be the primary motivation of our actions, writes Eddie S. Glaude Jr., chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University: 

"The real danger is that the way we live our lives as Americans, no matter our optimism about the future, is no longer sustainable. . . We can't continue to live with the current level of income inequality. Hard working people are working longer hours for less pay. And politicians and their benefactors continue to argue for trade policies that have decimated the working class in this country. We can't continue to lock up black and brown people or watch them killed in cold blood by people sworn to protect us or fail to publicly educate all of our children. We can't continue to bomb people around the world into oblivion."

We should not cower in fear, or counsel that a 'lesser evil' is the best we can do, adds Professor Taylor. "Privileged citizens and residents need to bare their rage at the structures of abuse. . . 

"Those most vulnerable to a Trump regime are not powerless. They are not primarily -- surely not only -- victims. They are also resisters with powers for throwing off oppression, building movements for justice and to redress wrongs and imagine new political life. All the while they can also extend at times astonishing acts of love and human dignity."

NO "Smooth Transition" to Fascism: Resist Attempts to "Normalize" the Criminal Aspirations of President-Elect Donald Trump

The people who brought you warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention, and drone strikes now urge you to 'get along', in the interest of an 'efficient' and 'peaceful' changing of the guard, with appointees to a fresh reign of terror. Obama proclaimed the day after projected electoral college results (yet to be certified) that "We are now all rooting for his [Donald Trump's] success," with a plea to "respect our institutions." 

"We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead," Clinton said of the victor. World Can't Wait says NO! Not In Our Name. 

"Trump's policies and behavior are not normal and should not be treated as such," says Media Matters researcher Bobby Lewis. "Trump's cabinet is filling up with people who espouse horrific beliefs. His appointees so far includes a national security adviser [with assistance from Fox News' K.T. McFarland] who shares fake news and tells people 'fear of Muslims is rational', a chief strategist who is described as a 'white nationalist' by opponents and supporters alike, and an attorney general who was once denied a federal judgeship for being too racist . . . Other potential appointees include a bigoted press secretary who hates the press, a commerce secretary who wants to know 'what's with all the hoods in the hizzy', and a homeland security secretary who calls civil rights activists 'primitive', 'unmanageable misfits'.

Nothing is more important right now than having a united movement that stops Trump from cohering a hold on the reins of governmental power. Resist Trump and a fascist America.

No Capitulation to Fascists

As speculation swirls around how bad a Trump regime will prove -- which promises he'll keep and which he will abandon -- magical thinking delays a proper response to the very real deployment of fascist rule in America. "That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn or be forced to accept," reads the original World Can't Wait call to action.

A recent statement published in Revolution newspaper warns "you [we] cannot try to 'wait things out' with fascists. Those who lived through Hitler's Germany and sat on the sidelines, looking on as Hitler rounded up one group after another, became shameful collaborators with monstrous crimes against humanity. Trump and his regime must be resisted and defied, beginning now, in many different ways and in every corner of society."

The president-elect campaigned to bring back torture; on waterboarding, he said, "I like it a lot. I don't think it's tough enough." Trump's selection of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General suggests he's moving forward with delivery on that promise, sooner than later.

Reject Trump's Cabinet of Horrors.

Of all the taboos a civilized society takes for granted, Salon writer Heather Digby Parton finds normalization of torture the most destructive. The candidates Trump has floated for national security and foreign policy jobs are universally open to some form of torture: 

"Rudy Giuliani is enthusiastic about it, as is former U.N. ambassador John Bolton. Former congressman Pete Hoekstra, who is being considered as CIA director [Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo has subsequently claimed that 'honor'], has said he thinks Congress and the administration could work it out. Trump's newly named national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, has been noncommittal about his personal beliefs but said he thinks the president should be able to threaten torture and war crimes as a negotiating stance. . .

"We've been watching this slow-motion train wreck for a while. It just finally went off the rails."

People living in Germany accepted Hitler at a horrific cost to humanity. Today, with nuclear weapons, that cost could be far higher, concludes authors of the Revolution statement. Join and spread protests happening nationwide, now, on a near-daily basis.