Republican lawmakers have been calling for the court-martial of General Mark Milley over rumors that during the “lame-duck” period following Trump’s loss in the 2020 Presidential election, Milley communicated with other Federal officials and the Chinese government in an effort to prevent Donald J. Trump from either starting a war with China, to create an international catastrophe for the Biden Administration to deal with, or attempting to declare martial law, so that he could suspend the transfer of Presidential power and declare himself dictator. This information has come to light in news articles regarding the upcoming release of Bob Woodward’s new book “Peril”, and allegedly included a conversation Milley had with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi where they agreed the former guy appeared “unhinged”, and a belief held by former CIA Director Gina Haspel that the country was, “on the verge of a right-wing coup”.
In a recent article, right-wing propagandist and brown-nosing Trump sycophant Jon Turley claimed that the allegations “…could subject Milley to a possible court martial for usurping the authority of the commander in chief under Article II of the Constitution.” Turley is wrong, and I will briefly explain why. 10 U.S. Code § 892 – Art. 92. Failure to obey order or regulation declares that:
“Any person subject to this chapter who—
(1)violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation;
(2)having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by a member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or
(3)is derelict in the performance of his duties;
-shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
The key element which exonerates Milley of any charges of wrong-doing is the clause “any lawful general order”. United States soldiers take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, and are not required to follow orders that violate international agreements such as the Geneva Convention, or in cases where abiding by said order would undermine the Constitution of the United States. If Trump were to attempt to launch a nuclear attack against China for the purpose of causing a catastrophe that would create peril for a subsequent administration, and his actions were not preceded by an official declaration of war against China, then his unilateral actions would violate the Separation of Powers clause of the US Constitution, and constitute the mass murder of civilian non-combatants, a violation of the Geneva Convention. If Trump had succeeded on January 6th in his attempt to pre-empt the peaceful transfer of Presidential Power and declare himself “President for life”, such an act would have violated procedures outlined in the Constitution, and Trump’s effective declaration of himself as dictator would have effectively ended the “Democratic Experiment”, ultimately leading to a “post-Constitutional era”. Therefore, because Trump’s orders would have clearly been unlawful, Milley was under no obligation to honor any order from Trump regarding the launch of nuclear weapons against China, or orders to declare Martial Law and dispatch troops into American cities.
Because Trump’s behavior in the period between the Presidential election of 2020 and Biden’s inauguration was so erratic, and given that the insurrection on January 6th was such a catastrophic and violent event, any Federal Official who failed to anticipate erratic behaviors from Trump would have been derelict in their efforts to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Trump supporters who try to argue otherwise seem to be laboring under the obvious misconception that “upholding and defending the Constitution”, means “do whatever Donald Trump says the minute he says it.” That is a ridiculously incorrect world-view. Donald Trump was never declared King or Emperor, and the notion among the far-right that patriotism means serving Trump’s ridiculous and far-fetched schemes to create chaos and grab more power for himself is servile insanity. All of the irate Trump sycophants screaming for Milley’s court-martial should simply be ignored.