[Read addendum at end]
Senator, war hero and true patriot Tammy Duckworth:
Michael Flynn is a traitor.
He essentially called for a military coup here in the United States in order to overthrow a democratically-elected President who won the 2020 election by more than 8 million votes — no matter what lies about imaginary illegal voter fraud the right wing is peddling.
Let me be clear: if Flynn were still active duty military, he could be court martialed for these comments…
It is alarming that a retired military officer — who once swore an oath to defend our Constitution — has now called for the military to tear it to shreds…
If the image above seems familiar to readers, it is because we have had this discussion before.
During the days of the Trump outrages and of his flouting of every military tradition, law and the Constitution, there were many high-ranking retired military officers who spoke up and who did not mince words.
Admiral William H. McRaven, former head of U.S. Special Operations Command and the patriot who oversaw the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden is just one of several examples.
In February 2017, the retired admiral slammed Trump for characterizing the media as “the enemy of the American people,” adding, “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”
In August 2018, McRaven was even more reproving. In a harshly critical letter to Trump in the Washington Post and in response to Trump’s scurrilous and vindictive decision to revoke former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance, because of Brennan’s criticism of Trump, McRaven wrote, “…I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.” He added, “Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.”
Then, in October 2019, in a New York Times op-ed, McRaven once again spoke his conscience and truth to power. Referring to values such as duty, honor and keeping promises, he wrote:
And if this president doesn’t understand [the importance of these values], if this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office — Republican, Democrat or independent — the sooner, the better. The fate of our Republic depends upon it.
Even Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general James Mattis, spoke frankly about his corrupt commander in chief at the 74th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York in October 2019.
After mocking Trump for earning his spurs “in a letter from a doctor,” Mattis slammed Trump for his betrayal of our Kurdish allies in Syria and, referring to Abraham Lincoln, Mattis warned, “Anarchy is one potential consequence of all this. The other is the rise of an ambitious leader, unfettered by conscience, or precedent or decency, who would make himself supreme.”
Things got so out of hand with the “ambitious leader…who would make himself supreme,” towards the end of his regime, that even the highest ranking, active-duty military officer in the land, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, felt the need to reassure the nation where the military stood.
Speaking at a dedication on Veterans Day 2020, the top military officer said: “We are unique among militaries. We do not take an oath to a king or queen, a tyrant or dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual…We take an oath to the Constitution…”
Finally, after the January 6 “violent, direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building and our Constitutional process,” and in view of the threats to a peaceful transition of power made by the outgoing commander in chief and his supporters, the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff felt it necessary to sign a letter condemning “violence, sedition and insurrection” and reaffirming that “on January 20, 2021, President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th Commander in Chief.”
The New York Times called it “the latest example of an apolitical American military and its top leadership thrust into an awkward, even potentially dangerous, position of possibly having to weigh dubious orders from the president against their oath to uphold the Constitution.”
Republicans were aghast at these military officers having the nerve and the insolence to speak out against lawlessness, unconstitutionality, “violence, sedition and insurrection” and called for them to be swiftly and firmly dealt with, citing chapter and verse of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
That is, until one of their own, Michael Flynn, a retired three-star Army general and disgraced former National Security Advisor under Trump, who not only may have violated the emoluments clause by accepting money from Russian and Turkish interests, but who went on to become a leading voice in Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections, suggested that “Trump could impose martial law and deploy the military to re-run the election.”
Less than two weeks ago, Flynn appeared to suggest a coup to reinstate his former boss, the man who claims that the 2020 presidential election was “the crime of the century.” Answering the question, “I want to know why what happened in Minamar [sic] can’t happen here?” the retired Army three-star general answered, “No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That’s right…”
Republicans who shouted traitors, off-with-their-heads, at those who voiced “contemptuous words against the President,” now remain conspicuously silent or recite obscure and shaky legal grounds for not prosecuting a retired military officer — a Republican “patriot” — who may have encouraged a coup against the government of the United States of America.
The piece above focuses on political speech, alleged “contemptuous words against the President…” and possible seditious comments by high-ranking military officers after retirement.
But how about crimes committed by military while on active duty, but charges not filed until after retirement and, subsequently, prosecution under the UCMJ stymied because of (UCMJ) statute of limitations issues?
Such is the case of a retired Army major general accused of sexually assaulting his daughter while in uniform. As mentioned, because of statute of limitations then existing in the UCMJ, “the military case died.”
However, Virginia prosecutors, not bound by the statute of limitations for the crimes that had allegedly occurred, took over, arrested, and jailed the retired general and, in July 2020, tried and sentenced him.
It turns out, the military was still able to act against the retired general.
The Secretary of Defense has now – in an action that may not be appealed — reduced the two-star general to the rank of second lieutenant. He will “maintain any benefits or privileges authorized for retired officers in the grade of second lieutenant.”
Apples and oranges? Probably.
An illustration of the long arm of the military? Probably.
Read more HERE.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.