The National Guard Becomes the Praetorian Guard

Sometimes the speed at which the Republic is collapsing surprises even me, and I’ve been an American Declinist from way back.  In Part 3,468 of American Decline:

Guam National Guard marches to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s office after blunder referring to territory as foreign country

Members of the Guam National Guard marched to the office of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene after the Republican referred to the United States territory as a foreign country during the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Guam Rep. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas and members of the Guam National Guard visited the office of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene after she falsely called the U.S. territory a foreign land,” the Hill tweeted.

Now on one level, this is a political stunt against an ignorant congress critter.  On that level, ha ha, very snarky.  But the level of it that bothers me is that the Guam Representative could request from military commanders troops to participate in a partisan political exercise, and they acquiesced for the purposes of marching troops down to a Congresswoman’s office in order to intimidate her.  Maybe the next time someone from Congress criticizes the military they may find a platoon of troops lounging on their car, or bivouacked on their front lawn.

Just a stunt ha ha.

Nothing against the Guam National Guard soldiers who participated in this; I’ve trained with some Guard guys from Guam, and came away impressed.  But the idea that their commanders would look at this as an OK thing for their troops to participate in is troubling.

Taken in isolation, this could just be a one off situation that slipped through the cracks, but it’s not; it’s part of a pattern.  Last week the military, which can’t seem to win a 20 year war in Afghanistan, decided to pick an easier target by going after Fox host Tucker Carlson.  Tucker was mocking the new gender and identity initiatives, as well as policies to place pregnant female military members in combat situations, all for the purpose of either equality or equity (I can’t recall which- Maybe both?).  But like the Taliban, Tucker was able to land a few punches on the military which ended up embarrassed and had to apologize for using official twitter accounts to criticize Tucker Carlson.  Maybe I’m wrong on this, but I cannot recall if the military, through official channels, has ever criticized a member of the media before.

But this is all new territory and this is not nearly the worst of it.  This was reported just a few months ago.

Retiring diplomat says defense officials misled Trump on troop count in Syria

US defense officials routinely misled President Trump into believing the American troop count in Syria was a lot lower than it actually is, a retiring US diplomat said in a bombshell interview this week.

“We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” James Jeffrey, US special representative for Syria engagement, said in an interview with Defense One.

In October 2019, Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria — a decision controversial among lawmakers, defense officials and diplomats.

Pentagon officials convinced the president to leave approximately 200 troops behind to protect oil fields in the country’s east that were at risk of falling under ISIS control, Jeffrey said.

However, the real number of troops in northeast Syria is “a lot more than” the 200 Trump agreed to leave behind, Jeffrey said, with some officials putting the number as high as 900.

“What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal,” Jeffrey told the publication.

So senior military leaders not only disobeyed an order from the Commander in Chief, but worked at deceiving him as to what they were doing, so they could conduct a secret foreign and military policy totally unmoored from its constitutional leadership.

What to make of all this?  The military is, for all practical purposes, working for and part of, the “Deep State.”  That’s not a term I’m comfortable using, but it’s hard to draw any other conclusion than that the military no longer considers itself bound to any sort of constitutional authority.  They are only obeying a Commander in Chief if it’s their Commander in Chief, one whose goals already align with theirs.  This makes me sadder than I can express, since I spent many years of my life in service to my country; a path I can no longer recommend to anyone in this age we’re living in.

Tucker, Ben Shapiro, and John Adams

I came across this video over the weekend of Tucker Carlson and Ben Shapiro, engaged in a newish debate of populism versus traditional conservatism™.  You can easily guess who was taking what side.

Where those two differ, I’ve already decided which side of the line I’m on, but what caught my eye about this mini-debate occurred about 34 minutes in.

Shapiro: “…the John Adams formulation was that this constitution was only built for a moral and virtuous people, it wasn’t built for any other.  There are two ways to actually tackle that.  One is to say we are no longer moral and no longer virtuous, so we have to change-freedom, and the other is to say, well, if we want to maintain the freedom we have to become moral and virtuous again.”

Hmmm…that is the question isn’t it?

The John Adams quote…

…was considered a truism in an earlier age, particularly in the mass democracy distrusting founding fathers. Carlson and Shapiro never resolve the issue in the few minutes of the debate, but it’s a good question none the less.  A representative government is the trickiest and most difficult type of government to pull off, and requires several preconditions, including those mentioned here.  If you don’t have an ethical electorate, how are you going to have ethical electoral results?  Obviously you can’t, and although Shapiro seems to hold out some hope that the populace can be made virtuous again, I see no mechanism to do that.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tolled the bell for our system of government.  It’s been wobbly for a long time and shows no signs of righting itself.  Historically, aging democracies end in some sort of tyranny.  Is that where we are heading? I confess I don’t have any answers for this, but it’s important to at least be aware of the questions.