Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 7:49 AM

Migrant Caravan Has Mattis Abandoning Military Principles for Trumpian Politics

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

An infectious feature of Trump’s presidency is the willingness of so many to abandon professional and personal principles to serve his amoral and often helter-skelter political agenda.

Two of his Jewish advisers, Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, demonstrated this in spades. No doubt you recall the moment Trump informed the world that there were “very fine people” among the Neo-Nazis who marched through Charlottesville last year shouting “Jews will not replace us.”

What you may not recall is that Cohn and Mnuchin were standing right there beside him … like religious Eunuchs.

But, so as to not pick on Jews, I can also point to a Christian adviser, National Security Adviser John Bolton. Because he’s on record damning Russian President Vladimir Putin as the anti-Christ just days before Trump hired him. Now he’s breaking bread with Putin in Moscow – as if he is Putin’s most-favored disciple … after Trump.

Such profiles in self-abnegating cowardice define Trump’s presidency. In fact, the Republican Party has abandoned practically all core principles (like fiscal responsibility, family values, and the rule of law) to serve at his pleasure. This is why it’s laughable to continue hailing it as the party of Ronald Reagan, let alone of Abraham Lincoln.

Reagan often quipped that “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.” Well, many are saying the same about the Republican Party these days. Nationally acclaimed columnist Max Boot even chronicled his disaffection in the best-selling book The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right.

Some Republicans used to reason that non-political members of the administration would serve as an antidote to this political apostasy. Most notably, they cited the triumvirate of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, FBI Director James Comey, and Defense Secretary James Mattis as the bulwark in this respect.

But McMaster and Comey proved so resistant to this infection that Trump fired them. Which brings me to Mattis. Because his willingness to salute and execute Trump’s order to deploy troops to the US-Mexico border should dash all hopes in this last man standing.

The White House’s decision to send more than 5,200 active-duty troops to the border with Mexico a week before the midterm elections has put the American military and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis squarely in the political crosshairs. …

‘This is a craven political stunt by President Trump ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, and a cynical capitulation by a secretary of defense who has prided himself on improving the readiness, focus, and lethality of the U.S. armed forces and who was once known as a no-nonsense warfighter,’ [wrote] Kelly Magsamen, a former top Pentagon official in the Obama administration.

(The Washington Post, October 30, 2018)

In fact, the Pentagon is deploying more troops to the border to fight hapless migrants than it has deployed in Afghanistan and Syria to fight ISIS terrorists. Never mind that the former is a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the military from enforcing domestic laws, including immigration laws.

Of course, if Mattis mentioned that act, Trump would probably think this general was trying to bond over the kind of “locker room” talk we all heard on that infamous Access Hollywood tape …

In any event, it’s hardly surprising that a notorious draft dodger like Trump would have no compunction about using military soldiers like political pawns. But you’d think Mattis would have prevailed upon him to see and avoid this manifest absurdity – if only to maintain the institutional integrity of the US military and show a little respect for the federal budget. Failing that, you’d think he would resign on principle.

Instead, this Pentagon paragon is blithely helping Trump undermine confidence in and respect for the military, just as craven Republicans have willfully helped him do with the FBI and virtually every other democratic institution.

Incidentally, it’s bad enough that the US military has been fighting unwinnable wars in the Middle East for the past 17 years. But Mattis is setting it up for unprecedented fecklessness with this “Operation Distraction.” Because he knows full well that soldiers will be constitutionally prohibited from laying a hand on any migrant, let alone forcibly arresting and detaining thousands of them.

But nobody should be surprised that Mattis regards his duty to serve as absolute, making him robotically obedient. After all, despite signaling principled misgivings, he has been faithfully executing Trump’s illegal order to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military in any capacity.

Three federal judges hearing separate cases issued injunctions against the ban last fall that cleared the way — in theory at least — for transgender recruits to start enlisting on Jan. 1.

Since then, scores have applied — but it appears almost none are being accepted.

(The New York Times, July 5, 2018)

Frankly, in so many ways, Trump is misleading the country into the kind of shithole where he famously claimed banana republics wallow. Yet the only Republicans who have been willing to raise any alarm are those (like Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Jeff Flake) who have declared their intent to resign.

Sadly, it takes having no political skin to lose for Republican leaders to show the kind of profiles in courage their predecessors showed. The latter not only condemned Richard Nixon’s amoral and often helter-skelter agenda but forced him to resign to boot.

Related commentaries:
migrant caravan must be stopped
Trump draft dodger
Kelly and Republicans Trump minions
Access Hollywood
unwinnable wars

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