One of the sacred principles of American democracy is that the Army is apolitical and loyal only to the Constitution. But given the political tension generated by the invasion of the Capitol by the followers of Donald Trump, the military leaders have considered it necessary to make a reminder.
“The violent protest in Washington DC on January 6 was a direct assault on Congress, the Capitol building and our constitutional process,” says a circular addressed to members of the Army and signed by the seven generals and the admiral that make up the state. Greater Set. “Any act against the constitutional process not only violates our traditions, values and oath; it also goes against the law,” adds the note, published on Tuesday. Analysts assure that it is an unusual message from the leaders of the military branches of the Army, although it is part of this climate of tension in the country. “We are living in an exceptional moment and this is a test,” retired Major General Dana Pittard told BBC Mundo.
“Our republic is going through a dangerous time. What the Joint Chiefs of Staff says is not exceptional: it basically repeats its oath to the Constitution,” Peter Feaver, professor of Political Science at Duke University and expert, tells BBC Mundo in defence. “But what is exceptional is that they feel the need to say it and that the troops need to be reminded,” adds the author of the book “Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations.” supervision and civic-military relations “). Thousands of Trump supporters invaded Congress on January 6 at the time when Joe Biden’s victory in the November 3 presidential election was certified. The assault by citizens who believe – as Trump maintains – that there was fraud in the elections led to the deaths of five people. This Wednesday Trump, who will relinquish power on January 20, became the first president in US history to be subjected to a second impeachment. In this last trial he is accused of “inciting insurrection”.
Silence broken A week after the events, the Army broke its silence. Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller had already condemned the assault last week, but the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, had not yet spoken. Trump becomes the only US president to face a second impeachment And, according to Reuters, he hadn’t done it because he wanted to stay away from politics. According to local media, many soldiers had privately expressed their concern about the lack of leadership after what many see as an attack on democracy. Milley’s silence was in contrast to her presence on a walk with Trump in June last year after the National Guard and police officers dispersed a group of peaceful protesters near the White House protesting the death of African-American George. Floyd. Now, with the Army back in the spotlight after the assault on the Capitol, Milley and the rest of the military high command considered it key to make a reminder a few days after Biden takes over as their commander-in-chief.
“The right to freedom of expression and assembly does not give anyone the (right) to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection,” says the circular released Tuesday. The Pentagon is working with the FBI to see if there are active members of the Army among the robbers on the Capitol, and also to find out if any of the 10,000 National Guard personnel who will reinforce Biden’s inauguration on the 20th require a greater investigation. “The Army is a reflection of the society it serves and that is why there are different beliefs. And you have to make sure that there are no people out there who want to overthrow our government,” says retired Major General Dana Pittard. Who does the Joint Chiefs of Staff speak to? According to Pittard, the circular has a double addressee: the troops and the general public.
“Internally, surely there are people who in some way may sympathize with the insurrection. It will be a minority, of course, but the circular makes it clear that it is unacceptable,” says the former military man, who admits that this may be worrying. On Thursday it was reported that groups of armed extremists are targeting Biden’s inauguration next week. “And externally, you want people to know that our tradition, which has worked so well, is that the Army cannot be used as an internal political weapon, it cannot take sides,” he adds.