In an opinion commentary posted on the Washington post, three retired U.S. generals warn that the 2024 presidential election could lead to a political crisis eclipsing that of 2020 and a split in the military into rival camps.
The three retired generals — Steven Anderson, Paul D. Eaton, and Antonio M. Taguba — all veterans of the Iraq War and other U.S. military conflicts around the world, say the first anniversary of the 6 January against the Capitol should be the occasion to reflect on what could happen if the result of the presidential election of 2024 is disputed.
They urge the Pentagon to start preparing now to counter “the potential for deadly chaos within our military … we’re frozen to the idea that a coup will succeed next time.” The measures would include increased surveillance of military units to identify potential “mutineers”.
The three generals, long retired after many decades in the military, publicly opposed the Trump administration and aligned themselves with the pro-Democrat wing of the military intelligence apparatus.
Eaton, a retired major general who had been tasked with training the Iraqi army in the early years of the US occupation, publicly denounced Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2007 and called for his resignation.
Taguba, also a retired army major general, was forced to leave the army after conducting an internal investigation into the atrocities committed in Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 and issuing a severely critical report. Anderson is a retired brigadier general who served as the deputy commander of logistics in Iraq, under General David Petraeus.
The editorial describes “[t]The potential for a complete break in the chain of command along partisan lines – from the top of the chain to the squad level… The idea of rogue units organizing themselves to support the Commander-in-Chief ” legitimate ”cannot be ruled out.
“Imagine competing commanders-in-chief – a newly re-elected Biden giving orders, against Trump (or some other Trumpian figure) ordering at the head of a shadow government. Worse yet, imagine politicians at the state and federal levels illegally installing a losing presidential candidate. “
The three generals continue to craft a worst-case scenario of the internal and global consequences of such a conflict erupting in a divided army.
“… with divided loyalties, some might follow the orders of the rightful Commander-in-Chief, while others might follow the loser Trumpian.” Weapons might not be secure depending on who supervised them. In such a scenario, it is not absurd to say that a military breakdown could lead to a civil war.
“In this context, with our army hampered and divided, American security would be crippled. Any of our enemies could profit by launching a general assault on our assets or our allies. “
Citing the inability to seriously investigate the Jan. 6 insurgency or to punish one of its leaders, they call on Congress and the Biden administration to “take steps to prepare for the worst.”
They conclude that “the Defense Ministry should wage war on the next post-election insurgency or potential coup attempt to identify weak spots. It must then proceed to a top-to-bottom account of its findings and start putting in place safeguards to avoid blackouts not only in the military, but also in any agency that works hand in hand with the military.
Just two days before the generals’ comment, Reuters released a long profile of the group of military officers, retired and in the reserves, who worked with retired General Michael Flynn to devise plans for Trump to overthrow the government. 2020 election result.
These included Colonel Phil Waldron, who worked for Flynn at the Defense Intelligence Agency, specializing in psychological warfare; Lieutenant-Colonel Ivan Raiklin, former special forces officer in Afghanistan; and Captain Seth Keshel, a former military intelligence officer.
Waldron developed the conception that the 2020 election was rigged using methods he was familiar with from his work in the DIA, a psychological warfare operation carried out by foreign adversaries. This claim has become the basis for various outlandish claims that election results are routed through servers in Germany, or altered by Italian satellites, and altered by software built in Venezuela or otherwise manipulated by China.
Raiklin, according to Reuters, was “one of the main proponents of the ‘pence card’ theory, in which Vice President Mike Pence allegedly could have blocked Congressional January 6 certification of Biden’s victory.”
Captain Keshel “claimed to have developed statistical models proving that the 2020 election results were fraudulent … Keshel released an analysis in August that he said showed Trump won seven states that went to Biden.” Trump embraced the demand… ”
Former officers’ efforts not only sparked new calls for audits in all battlefield states, Reuters said, they also sparked threats of violence against election officials, Republicans and Democrats, who defended the election. as being fairly conducted and the results as accurate. .
It has already been widely reported that Waldron helped write the PowerPoint presentation, titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN,” which was handed over to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and presented to members of Republican Congress selected on January 5. Among the slides were recommendations that included “Declare a National Security Emergency” and “Declare Electronic Voting in All States Invalid”.
But the Reuters report provides further confirmation of the active role played by former military officers – who clearly had continued contacts within the Pentagon – in organizing and politically inciting the January 6 coup.
the Washington post published another column on the likelihood of the outbreak of a civil war in the United States, by one of its regular opinion writers, Dana Millbank, who generally adopts a stance of mocking humor and lack of seriousness.
In Sunday’s column, however, Millbank interviewed UC San Diego political science professor and CIA political instability adviser Barbara F. Walter, who uses the CIA’s own methodology to assess conflict. civilians and enforce it in the United States. His conclusion: “We are closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe. “
Millbank provides an excerpt from Walter’s forthcoming book, to be released in January, titled, How civil wars begin .
“No one wants to believe that their beloved democracy is in decline or headed for war,” she writes. But, “If you were an analyst in a foreign country studying events in America – the same way you would look at events in Ukraine, Cote d’Ivoire, or Venezuela – you would make a checklist, assessing each of the conditions. that make civil war likely. And what you would find out is that the United States, a democracy founded over two centuries ago, has entered very dangerous territory. “
The United States is on the verge of an “open insurgency” that would lead to “sustained violence as increasingly active extremists launch attacks involving terrorism and guerrilla warfare, including assassinations and ambushes,” writes the CIA adviser, according to Millbank.
Such scenarios are not just the nightmare of a trio of retired generals or a CIA adviser. On the contrary, these comments have space in the main newspaper in the US capital to express what is widely discussed in ruling circles of the US ruling elite: that January 6, 2021, far from being a one-off event, is a warning of an impending eruption of violent conflict, in 2024 if not sooner.