Please–Stop the Coup Porn

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, three retired generals, Paul Eaton, Antonio Taguba, and Steven Anderson warn of a supposedly impending coup should Donald Trump be elected in 2024. 

The column seemed strangely timed to coincide with a storm of recent Democratic talking points that a reelected Trump, or even a Republican sweep of the 2022 midterms, would spell a virtual end of democracy. 

Ironies abound.   

From Election Day in 2020 to Inauguration Day 2021, we were told by the Left that democracy was resilient and rightly rid the nation of Trump.    

The hard Left, for one of the rare times in U.S. history, was now in complete control of both houses of Congress and the presidency.   

Spiking inflation, supply-chain shortages, near record gas prices, open borders, the flight from Afghanistan,  multi-trillion-dollar deficits, and polarizing racial rhetoric all followed. 

In response to these events, Joe Biden’s popularity utterly collapsed. His own cognitive challenges multiplied the unpopularity of his failed policies.  

In reaction, the Left again pivoted. It suddenly announced that should it lose congressional power in 2022 or the presidency in 2024, democracy was all but doomed. 

Apparently, what changed Democrats’ views was that democracy was working all too well in expressing widespread public disgust . . . with the Left. 

Even more ironies followed. 

The three retired generals shrilly write of the dangers of insurrection and coups. Yet the FBI found no such insurrection or conspiracy in the buffoonish riot on January 6. 

Only serial media misinformation and lies turned a ragtag band of misfits into an existential threat to the nation. 

Almost every media talking point turned out to be untrue. No Capitol police officer died at the hands of the mob. (Early reports that Officer Brian Sicknick had been beaten into a coma by protesters were incorrect. The Washington, D.C., medical examiner ruled Sicknick died the next day of a stroke.) The media all but ignored the lethal police shooting of a military veteran and unarmed petite female trespasser, for the apparent crime of trying to enter Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office through a broken window. There were no gun-toting “insurrectionists” arrested inside the Capitol. 

Another irony. The three retired generals say nothing about the Russia collusion hoax in which Obama Administration officials at the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the CIA helped to seed a fake dossier—paid for by candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Ex-British intelligence operative Christopher Steele’s made-up opposition research was designed first to derail Trump’s campaign, then to disable his transition and finally sabotage his presidency. All that seems rather coup-like. 

In truth, coups were regularly discussed during the last four years—but only in the context of a by-any-means-necessary way of deposing Donald Trump extralegally before his term ran out. 

In August 2020, two retired officers John Nagl and Paul Yingling, urged Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to remove Trump from office if Milley felt it necessary after a contested election.

Both officers knew that the law forbids Milley from interfering in the chain of command, given his mere advisory role to the president. 

Yet Milley himself had dangerously violated his purview at least twice. He once ordered subordinate officers to report to him first should Donald Trump consider any nuclear action against China. And  Milley additionally called his Chinese communist counterpart to warn him that he would tip the Chinese off about any preemptive American strike on China.  

Earlier, Rosa Brooks, a former Obama Pentagon legal official, wrote a now infamous essay in Foreign Policy, listing the choices available in removing Donald Trump from his less than two-week-old  presidency. Among the possible means, she listed a potential military coup.  

Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice forbids even retired military officers publicly attacking or disparaging their current commander-in-chief. Yet several retired generals and admirals serially did just that during the last administration, smearing their president in every imaginable way, from being a Mussolini-like fascist to a veritable Nazi. 

The officers published in the Washington Post are clueless as to why the military is now suffering its most dismal public approval ratings of the modern era—with only 45 percent of the public registering trust and confidence in their armed forces. 

The nation is clearly not blaming the courageous soldiers in the enlisted ranks. But it has had enough of the Pentagon’s loud top brass who seem more interested in stirring up political divisions at home than adopting winning strategies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, or deterring China and Russia. 

The officer corps too often broadcasts its woke credentials, calibrated for career advancement. Top-ranking officers upon retirement too predictably head for corporate defense contractor boards and procurement lobbying firms. 

To restore the military’s reputation, officers should eschew politics to focus on restoring strategic deterrence and military readiness. They should keep clear of divisive domestic issues. They should stop virtue signaling to the media and influential members of Congress.

But most importantly, officers should quit all their coup porn talk—either to remove a president they don’t like, or to project their own reckless, insurrectionary behavior onto their political opponents. 

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9 thoughts on “Please--Stop the Coup Porn”

  1. VDH so clearly demonstrates the danger we face from the left’s anti Constitution activity. Many of us want to preserve our Country, but feel powerless. VDH needs to be widely read and haled!

  2. Trump and his voters should be flattered that generals take him that seriously. Maybe they don’t but apparently he is still a better boogeyman than a clown. Maybe they betray their own doubt in their principles or competence by portraying him as such a formidable villain – after all, who could fear a bumbling fool?

  3. It was in the early years of the Trump administration that many were asking why the President was pointing to the cameras. Saying things like, “fake news.” He was correct, and still is. During his administration he spoke at many events such as Pro-Life gatherings which were not covered on networks such as CNN and many others with similar network interests. Why was that? There were many people who did not notice, but many did. Those who were paying attention. The left is using disinformation as a preconditioning tool to control a targeted audience, such as blue state citizens, newcomers, and the uninformed. The purpose of preconditioning an audience is to achieve a predicted actionable outcome for future occurrences. This is currently in production for the upcoming 2024 elections. The current bashing of 45th President, a tactic that has been used before is now recognizable to many Americans, its lack of validity is without class. Frankly, Americans and non-Americans are not buying it anymore. The lefts media has abused and continues to abuse the American people, by knowingly lying to them, putting a shutter on truth.
    In disinformation you also find constant repetitiveness of the same talking points, and phrases for the purpose of creating a type of legitimacy that is false. If enough people are talking about the same topic on different channels, newspapers, which are considered supposedly “credible sources,” then how can they all be wrong? The issue is in not questioning – ar

  4. Continued…

    The issue is in not questioning – are all the networks connected, and what is their purpose? Specifically, to your own elected viewing. What was learned during the Trump administration – just because enough people or sources say the same thing, doesn’t mean it is legitimate. Something cannot be true simply because some says it is, or because it is dressed (using a figure believed to be credible) up to be. Sources strictly on one side, can and have proven to be wrong. Finding the truth is usually right in front of your face.
    The disinformation campaign against the Trump administration has been educational. To know that we have American leaders, American tech companies, American military leaders, American intelligence leaders and others who premeditatedly conspired to tarnish President Trumps image, on the national and global stage is treasonous. He was portrayed as an enemy to the American people, he proved to be the opposite, and people loved him for it. He was a threat to the deep state and continues to be. At the end of the day, Americans will fight for America and so will everyone else who loves this country.

    1. Justine, those who are part of the political elite are all-in invested in their elite status – financially, professionally, politically, even in terms of reputation and their own self-esteem. They have built their ENTIRE lives around being perceived as the elite.

      But the perceived value depends upon US continually needing … and therefore deferring to … them and their “superior” guidance. Hence the motivation to encourage its imposition as The One True Way in every area, through both social pressure and in some cases the coercive force of law.

      Donald Trump, in word and in policy, dissented from that paradigm. His policies instead expanded respect for and protection of individual liberty – including the liberty to depart from that One True Way when it doesn’t work for us as individuals.

      That erodes the perceived value of elite status in this society. Which is why the entities you list could not let him stand on his own merits.

  5. The military, the FBI, the IRS, the schools and colleges. The heart of the problem is that the overwhelming majority of government employees are Democrats. They believe they are the government. And it leads them to believe what is good for the party s good for the government. Since the government is theirs, anything that threatens their rule is a coup or an insurrection.

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