WASHINGTON – Ten former defense secretaries have warned against any military involvement in pursuing allegations of electoral fraud in President Donald Trump’s extraordinary condemnation, arguing that it would “take the country into dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional borders.” ”
All 10 Democrats and Republicans signed a comment on Sunday. Washington Post On January 20, it implicitly questioned Trump’s desire to pursue his constitutional obligation to quietly relinquish power. Following the November 3 election and subsequent reconsiderations in some states and failed court challenges, the results are clear, they did not mention Trump in the article.
“The time has come to question the results; the time has come to properly count the electoral college votes, as set out in the Constitution and the law,” they wrote.
Former Pentagon leaders have warned against using the military in any way.
“Attempts to involve the US armed forces in resolving electoral conflicts will take us to dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional territories,” they wrote. “Civilians and military officers who direct or carry out such actions will be held accountable for the serious consequences of their actions in our Republic, including the possibility of facing criminal penalties.”
The commentary was signed by Dick Cheney, William Perry, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Ash Carter, James Mattis and Mark Esper. Mattis was Trump’s first defense secretary; He resigned in 2018 and was defeated by Esper, who was ousted just days after the November 3 election.
Several senior military officials, including General Mark Millie, the leader of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have publicly stated in recent weeks that the military has no role to play in determining the outcome of the US election, and that their allegiance is not to the Constitution, but to an individual leader or a political party.
The 10 former Pentagon leaders warned in their post article about the dangers of preventing a complete and smooth transition in the defense sector ahead of Inauguration Day as part of the transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden. Biden has complained that Pentagon officials appointed by Trump are trying to prevent the change.
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Citing a specific example, the former defense secretary wrote that “transfers of power often take place in times of international uncertainty about US national security policy and posture,” which may be a moment when the country could be vulnerable to actions by the enemy. “
Tensions with Iran mark such a moment. Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the US assassination of Iran’s top general, Qassim Cholaimani; Iran has vowed to avenge the killings, and US officials have said in recent days that they are on high alert for US forces or an Iranian offensive against interests in the Middle East.
As a further sign of US-Iranian tension, Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced on Sunday evening that he had changed his mind about sending the naval aircraft carrier USS Nimitz home from the Middle East, instead of keeping the ship on duty. Just last week, Miller announced he was sending Nimitz home, which was opposed by senior military officials.
In transforming himself, Miller cited “recent threats by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other US government officials.” He did not elaborate and did not answer Pentagon questions.
The Post reports that the idea for the piece began with a conversation between Cheney and Eric Edelman, a retired ambassador and former senior Pentagon official, about how Trump could use the military in the coming days.