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Should Generals Break the Rules to Stop a Rogue President?

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

Seven months after leaving office, Hurricane Trump’s legacy continues to spew second-order sewage over America.

Consider the recent revelations about Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is now involved in his own controversy. The details are murky, but according to Peril, the new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley violated his authority by assuring his Chinese counterpart that the U.S. wouldn’t attack them. “If this is true,” tweeted Alexander Vindman, who served as a key witness in the first Trump impeachment trial, “GEN Milley must resign. He usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military. It’s an extremely dangerous precedent. You can’t simply walk away from that.”

Vindman—the former Director for European Affairs for the U.S. National Security Council—has a point. America’s founders feared military coups so much that they insisted on civilian control of the military and even distrusted standing armies. But let’s be honest: Outrage over Milley is tempered by the sense that someone had to be ready in case Trump attempted a coup—or decided to push the nuclear button on his way out the door.

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