From someone who retired from the military, this article is just one more example of how civilians just don’t understand the military.

I could of told you 20 years ago that the military would never back a facist movement. Same 10-years ago. And ditto for 10-years from now.

I am going to confess, that the whole thing sort of irritates me. That you have to write this article, that you once worried about this, is sort of frustrating. Anyway, I can assure you that a bunch of video playing generation X and millennials have no desire to get involved in politics.

The other thing that people get wrong about the military that I’ve seen on Twitter is the… military vs civilians with ARs thing. It usually comes up around 2nd Amendment issues. This is a pure hypothetical, because it would never happen. But….

The discussion usually goes like this.

- 2nd amendment is there to prevent tyranny.

- that’s dumb, the military has tanks and planes. Your ARs would do nothing

Can we just agree that Afghanistan (and every other insurgency) we have gotten involved in negates the 2nd point. A critical mass of civilians with semi-automatic weapons would not be crushed. It would be an endless stalemate. (Look at Northern Ireland and the IRA).

Once again…. It will never happen. I just hate the naivety of the argument.

Anyway, my worst case scenario I can picture. Is…

A repeal of the 2nd amendment would cause some number of states to secede. But it would take a total repeal. But, given that a constitutional change would require such a large percentage of states to agree, if we got to that point, I suspect that the political makeup of Americans would of changed. I’m assuming we will be stuck in this 55-45 flip flopping balance for decades.

A secession event is hard to gauge as far as military goes. Military people are stationed so randomly around the country. I’m guessing the whole thing would just be dough in the courts, and not on the streets. The military would just stay out of it.

The military has gone a little overboard in wokeness. Not in a they have become pansies way, but more in a all the extra training (and it’s not just wokeness, it’s opsec, and health, and computer, and safety training) that there in an inordinate amount of ancillary training in non-mission oriented BS that many units are loosing competence in core competencies.Navy ships and accidents is most visible example. But, it’s present in other branches as well.

I’m a war, things get straightened out, but there is always delays until they get their shit together.

Anyway. Just landed in San Paulo.

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Another fantastic article!

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Jul 15, 2021Liked by Noah Smith

Anyone who watched the last two seasons of the show Homeland now knows how prescient it truly was😬

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Jul 15, 2021Liked by Noah Smith

remarkable because some of the common predictors for a politically involved military are present in the United States: a narrowing of the recruitment base of the officer corps and several recent conflicts that didn't result in undeniable victory.

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Fascists - what is a fascist?

I'm bothered by the way fascist seems to be a loose term for "right-wingers I really don't like". It's used liberally and to generate fear by associating whomever (Trump in this case) with failed, evil authoritarian sociopaths like Hitler and Mussolini.

Set me straight if I'm misunderstanding, but here are the main tenets of fascism (according to wikipedia):

Ultranationalism, Totalitarianism, the Economy (Fascism presented itself as an alternative to both international socialism and free market capitalism), Action (Fascism emphasizes direct action, including supporting the legitimacy of political violence, as a core part of its politics), Age and gender roles (Fascism emphasizes youth both in a physical sense of age and in a spiritual sense as related to virility and commitment to action).

Some of these things you can stretch and say Trump edged towards. But others you really can't, or you can find ways to stretch and say the far-Left of US politics fits them better.

Now if coup concerns are valid, by all means please keep writing about them. But coups aren't something only fascist parties can do. And my understanding is Trump is not a fascist, he's a right-wing politician with some authoritarian instincts and most on the left despise him, but he's not a fascist in any meaningful sense of the word. So out of respect for language, and to avoid crying wolf in case a real fascist actually comes along in US politics, I wish writers would use more accurate and less hyperbolic terms to describe most of the US right.

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I used to know more people in the military, and most of them were quite liberal. The US military, and particularly the Army, has seen itself as a melting pot since World War II. The Air Force, the Navy and Marines, maybe not so much. The Army has to take all flavors of civilians and turn them into an effective fighting force, and that means getting certain things out of the way. In this sense, the military has long been woke.

In the 19th century, it was full of immigrants, not all of them too happy at having to fight on the same side as various other immigrants, and they and the native born Americans serving had their own differences to deal with as well. Truman integrating the armed forces racially was a big step possibly driven by a felt need to repudiate the racial theories of the Nazis. My girlfriend is reading Facing the Mountain about Japanese-American soldiers who fought in World War II, and the challenge of getting the J-As from Hawaii to work with the J-As from the mainland.

Most of the older military types I know have retired, but the handful of young people I know who have signed up seem pretty liberal too.

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What I took from some of the comments from the Generals was not that they rose to the occasion, but they seemed concerned they not be in a position to do so in the future.

I would also welcome what Rory would say

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I’ve got to admit, I wonder how much of this actually happened and how much is Milley exaggerating in order to launder his own reputation rather than get stuck being associated with Trump for the rest of his life. Maybe that’s paranoid of me.

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