In numerous articles, Liberty Nation has raised the specter of the U.S. military leadership demonstrating questionable judgement. Retired flag officers should have been included. In a recent opinion piece for a major Washington, D.C. newspaper, three retired U.S. Army generals, Paul Eaton, Antonio Taguba, and Brigadier Steven Anderson, expressed their collective concern for a potential a coup d’état by U.S. military forces following the election in 2024.
Never ones to lose an opportunity to reiterate progressive talking points, National Public Radio (NPR) used the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill riot (the article erroneously described it as an “insurrection”) to call attention to the former officers’ point of view. Eaton speculated during an interview for NPR that, following the election in 2024, perhaps not everyone will “understand who the duly elected president is.” That lack of clarity would “infect the rank and file or at any level in the U.S. military.” The three, Eaton, Taguba, and Anderson, presumably tough, battle-hardened soldiers, wrote, “In short: We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time.” Hold it. What coup didn’t succeed? That’s just Democrats’ exaggerated talking points.
More troubling was what Eaton said to prove his point. He cited the dismay many Americans (more than 74 million, in round numbers, that voted for former President Trump) felt after the 2020 election and those retired flag officers who voiced their disapproval of the results in an open letter. Eaton said,
“And we saw it when 124 retired generals and admirals signed a letter contesting the 2020 election. We’re concerned about that. And we’re interested in seeing mitigating measures applied to make sure that our military is better prepared for a contested election, should that happen in 2024.”
In these two sentences, there is a great deal to unpack. First, consider that the general believes 124 retired generals and admirals should surrender their first amendment rights to express personal opinions regarding a political event – opinions with which tens of millions of Americans agree. And then ask this question: why are 124 retired generals and admirals views less relevant or valuable than the opinion authors’ perspectives?
Secondly, to what sort of “mitigating measures” is the retired flag officer referring? Perhaps the general would like to see the federal government issue orders like those issued by Kazakhstan president Tokayev who, according to Reuters, ordered Kazakh security forces to “shoot to kill” during the recent civil uprising. Eaton doesn’t explain what the military or the police should do to “mitigate” the actions of citizens who disagree with the yet-to-be-decided outcome of the 2024 election. Evidence that a military coup should be in the Defense Department bag of worries is, Eaton points out, “39% of the Republican Party refusing to accept President Biden as president.” Ah, so there you have the underlying assumption. It’s those Republicans who could potentially orchestrate a coup. To validate that theory, Eaton advocates, “that particular scenario needs to be addressed in a future war game held well in advance of 2024.” The general doesn’t know much about Republicans. Progressives go to protest and riot to destroy small businesses, injure police, and burn down federal buildings. Republicans go to lunch.
When asked by NPR, “How worried is he [Eaton] on a scale of 1 to 10?” the general went high-order military-speak and replied, “I see it as low probability, high impact.” But, of course, when the military, and particularly high-ranking officers, don’t want to be pinned down, they say stuff like “low probability, high impact.” Well, just how low is that probability, like 0.0002 out of 100? And how high an impact is it? Is it an impact like that made by ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter destroying hundreds of small businesses, injuring hundreds of police, and causing general mayhem in the streets of numerous cities? Truthfully, the first is inconsequential, and the latter, well, we’ve seen that.
As the NPR interview progressed, Eaton was asked what he thought the military should do to avoid the potential of a military coup. And all that preceded in the interview notwithstanding, Eaton hit the nail on the head. The retired two-star answered, recounting a conversation he had had, “…we were talking about civics lessons, liberal arts education and the development of the philosophical underpinnings of the Constitution.” Additionally, he addressed specifics of what he thought should be done to reduce that low probability of a military coup even lower. Eaton opined, “And I believe that bears a reteach to make sure that each and every 18-year-old American truly understands the Constitution of the United States, how we got there, how we developed it, and what our forefathers wanted us to understand years down the road.”
The likelihood of a military-led or supported coup to overthrow the U.S. government and its leadership is so low as to be nonexistent. To suggest otherwise would be an indictment that the current senior leadership of the military had failed completely to keep good order and discipline. But, in Eaton’s words, the current Defense Department secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, “They’re just superb.” So, not to worry, there won’t be a military coup.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
~ Read more from Dave Patterson.