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US Perils for Pentagon as Trump threatens to militarize response to civil unrest

02:45  03 june  2020
02:45  03 june  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Pentagon's deputy inspector general resigns

  Pentagon's deputy inspector general resigns The Defense Department's deputy inspector general resigned.

But the Pentagon 's role in the civil unrest could soon dramatically deepen if Trump decides to deploy active duty forces, something the U.S. military has been reluctant so far to do. Trump on Monday threatened to send active duty U.S. troops to stamp out the civil unrest gripping several U.S. cities.

Trump is threatening to use the Insurrection Act as US cities across the country struggle to deal with protests and, at times, looting and rioting But the Trump administration has already put an active duty military police battalion on a shorter response time in and around Washington on Monday, three US

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "Battlespace" was the word U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper used to describe protest sites in the United States. The top U.S. general then reinforced that image by appearing in downtown Washington in camouflage during a Monday evening crackdown.

a group of people standing in front of a building: FILE PHOTO: Protests against the death in Minneapolis custody of George Floyd, in Washington © Reuters/Jonathan Ernst FILE PHOTO: Protests against the death in Minneapolis custody of George Floyd, in Washington

Helicopters that could easily be mistaken for active duty U.S. military ones staged show-of-force maneuvers in Washington above people protesting the killing of an unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Insurrection Act: Would it allow Trump to send troops to a state over a governor's protests?

  Insurrection Act: Would it allow Trump to send troops to a state over a governor's protests? The law does allow a president to send troops to a state over the state government's objections, but only under specific circumstances.Could President Trump order troops onto the streets of a major American city over the objections of local and state officials?

President Donald Trump has threatened to send in the military to quell growing civil unrest in the US over the death of a black man in police custody. He said if cities and states failed to control the protests and "defend their residents" he would deploy the army and "quickly solve the problem for them".

President Trump militarized the federal response to protests of racial inequality that have erupted in cities across America late Monday, declaring himself the “president of law and order” as military police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at people protesting peacefully near the White House.

As President Donald Trump increasingly turns to militaristic rhetoric at a time of national upheaval, the U.S. military appears to be playing a supporting role - alarming current and former officials who see danger to the institution of the U.S. armed forces, one of America's most revered and well funded.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: FILE PHOTO: Protests against the death in Minneapolis custody of George Floyd, in Washington © Reuters/Jonathan Ernst FILE PHOTO: Protests against the death in Minneapolis custody of George Floyd, in Washington

"America is not a battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy," Martin Dempsey, the retired four-star general who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote on Twitter.

A current military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, voiced concern about the lasting damage that would come from using the military as a "political prop."

After George Floyd’s death, Trump administration told military’s service chiefs to remain quiet about unrest

  After George Floyd’s death, Trump administration told military’s service chiefs to remain quiet about unrest ‘The generals and the admirals, they can’t put their heads in the sand,’ a black Marine veteran said.“I am George Floyd . . . I am Philando Castile, I am Michael Brown, I am Alton Sterling, I am Tamir Rice,” wrote Kaleth O. Wright, naming other black Americans killed by police. “Just like most of the Black Airmen and so many others in our ranks . . . I am outraged at watching another Black man die on television before our very eyes.

President Trump militarized the federal response to protests of racial inequality that have erupted in cities across America late Monday, declaring himself the “president of law and order” as military police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at people protesting peacefully near the White House.

George Floyd: Trump threatens to send in army to end unrest - Top stories this morning - BBC - Продолжительность: 17:50 BBC 154 252 просмотра. Demonstrations, civil unrest continue over George Floyd's death in police custody (LIVE) | USA TODAY USA TODAY 9 564 зрителя.

"Presidents come and go ... the uniform has to be maintained," the official said.

For Trump's critics, the Republican president's reliance on the military in domestic endeavors risks making the armed forces, which are meant to be apolitical, appear aligned with Trump's political agenda. He has previously employed the military to help stem illegal immigration and used defense funding to build his border wall.

But drawing the military into his response to the sometimes violent civil unrest that broke out in Minneapolis last week and spread to dozens of cities, is particularly problematic.

Mark A. Milley et al. sitting at a table: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper testifies beside U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on © Reuters/Tom Brenner FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper testifies beside U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on "Department of Defense Budget Posture" on Capitol Hill in Washington

At the core of the discomfort is a single idea: The U.S. military was designed to protect the United States from foreign adversaries and uphold a constitution that explicitly protects the rights of citizens to peacefully protest.

James Miller: Official resigns from Pentagon advisory board over Esper's perceived support for clearing protest outside White House

  James Miller: Official resigns from Pentagon advisory board over Esper's perceived support for clearing protest outside White House James Miller resigned from his role on the Defense Advisory Board due to what he said was Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's visible support for officers' clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square.Miller called what he saw as Esper's support for suppressing the protest a violation of Esper's oath of office. Miller served as the Pentagon's undersecretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration.

Pentagon officials distanced themselves from President Donald Trump ’s warning that he could use active-duty military forces to clamp down on protests around the country, saying that it would be better to rely on National Guard for law Trump Threatens to Use Troops to Crush Unrest in U.S. Cities.

President Donald Trump threatened to deploy the U.S. military to end Pentagon officials said the primary role of the new National Guard forces would be to defend national monuments Biden is set to deliver a speech on civil unrest in Philadelphia on Tuesday. In a joint statement, House Speaker

Even the head of the National Guard acknowledged that responding to domestic crises makes his troops uneasy. So far, more than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up to assist local law enforcement with protests around the country.

"This mission is an uncomfortable mission. They don't like doing it, but we can do it," said General Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

UNWITTING SUPPORT?

Esper and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accompanied Trump on Monday as he posed at a church near the White House after law enforcement officers used teargas and rubber bullets to clear the area of peaceful protesters.

Trump had just delivered a speech condemning "acts of domestic terror," and saying the United States was in the grips of professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals and others.

But a senior defense official suggested neither Esper nor Milley knew about the photo-op and had been at the White House to give Trump an update on response efforts.

"As that meeting concluded, the President indicated an interest in viewing the troops that were outside and the secretary and the chairman went with him to do so. That's the extent of what was taking place," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Former Pentagon chief criticizes Trump's handling of protest

 Former Pentagon chief criticizes Trump's handling of protest USA-POLICE-EVENTS-TRUMP: Former Pentagon chief criticizes Trump's handling of protest © Reuters / GARY HE EX CRITICAL PENTAGON LEADER WASHINGTON CHALLENGE MANAGEMENT BY TRUMP (Reuters) - Former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who resigned from the Trump administration in late 2018, accused the president on Wednesday. American to try to divide the United States and denounced the militarization of the response to the dispute in the country.

Donald Trump has described himself as the “president of law and order” as he threatened to deploy the military if state governors did not halt ongoing violent Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump said: “First, we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country.

President gets photo opportunity as authorities suddenly target demonstrators outside White House.

Kori Schake at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and an expert on U.S. civilian-military relations said Esper and Milley need to be held to account for their "shocking" decision to appear in that setting.

"They made choices. They could have said, Mr. President, I think it would send a bad signal for me to do this," Schake said.

Alice Friend, a former Pentagon official, said Esper and Milley - by using terms like battlespace - were also blurring the lines between American citizens in the United States and enemies in warzones.

"To divide and conquer at home, using the United States military, is an incredible escalation of the government's coercive power," said Friend, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

A senior defense official, asked about such criticism, said Esper was simply using the terminology he's accustomed to using as the leader of America's military.

But the Pentagon's role in the civil unrest could soon dramatically deepen if Trump decides to deploy active duty forces, something the U.S. military has been reluctant so far to do.

Trump on Monday threatened to send active duty U.S. troops to stamp out the civil unrest gripping several U.S. cities.

To deploy the U.S. military for law enforcement purposes, Trump would need to invoke the Insurrection Act  -- something last done in 1992 in response to the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.

To that end, the U.S. military has pre-positioned active duty forces, largely military police and engineers, on the outskirts of the Washington D.C.-area to potentially deploy, if needed.

The top Republican on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee said discussions about the Insurrection Act could easily make U.S. troops "political pawns."

"I am concerned that in the current environment, it would be all too easy to put our men and women in uniform in the middle of a domestic political and cultural crisis," said Representative Mac Thornberry.

His Democratic counterpart and chair of the committee, Adam Smith, said he called on Esper and Milley to testify.

"I remain gravely concerned about President Trump’s seemingly autocratic rule and how it affects the judgment of our military leadership," he said.

"The fate of our democracy depends on how we navigate this time of crisis."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

Top Trump Adviser Says the U.S. Doesn’t Have ‘Systemic Racism’ .
President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said Wednesday that he doesn’t regard “systemic racism” as a problem in the U.S. © Alex Brandon Chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow at the White House on May 29, 2020 “I don’t believe nowadays we have systemic racism,” Kudlow told reporters at the White House. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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