United States, Unified Security
Forces, Washington, DC
30 June 2012
Subject: Prisoner 222305759
To: General E. Thomas U. Brutus, UAFUS, The White House,
As you know, in the past few months since the President's death and the abrupt retirement of the Vice-President, there have been some instances of public unrest. I fully appreciate that the threat of disorder occasioned by the absence of a Chief Executive precipitated your assumption of power as Commander-in-Chief, UAFUS, and your designation as Permanent Military Plenipotentiary of the United States.
Despite the approval of your actions by The Referendum, it was still necessary to make several arrests for acts of sedition. One of these traitors, I am sorry to say, is a retired officer and a 1992 graduate of the National War College. The officer, Prisoner 222305759, has been convicted by court martial and is awaiting execution. In violation of my standing orders, the prisoner was allowed writing materials. He managed to draft a letter to a fellow alumnus, chronicling what he calls the 'Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012'. A copy is attached.
I WANT to write the Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012. I think it's important to get the truth recorded before they re- write history. If we're going to get our freedom back, we've got to understand how we got into this mess. People need to understand that the armed forces exist to support and defend government, not to be the government. Faced with intractable national problems on one hand, and an energetic and capable military on the other, it can be all too seductive to start viewing the military as a cost-effective solution. We made a terrible mistake when we allowed the armed forces to be diverted from its original purpose.
Even back in 1992 we should have seen this coming. The economy was in the dumps, crime was rising, schools were deteriorating, the environment was in trouble and political scandals were occurring almost daily. Americans became exasperated with democracy. Buoyed by the military's obvious competence in the First Gulf War, the public increasingly turned to it for solutions to the country's problems.
The revised charter for the armed forces was not confined to domestic enterprises. Overseas humanitarian and nation-building assignments proliferated. When several African governments collapsed under Aids epidemics and famines around the turn of the century, US troops - first introduced to the continent in the 1990s - were called upon to restore basic services. They never left. Now the US military constitutes the de facto government in many of those areas.
By the year 2000, the armed forces had penetrated many vital aspects of American society. More and more military officers sought the kind of autonomy in these civilian affairs they would expect from their military superiors in the execution of traditional combat operations. Thus began the inevitable politicisation of the military. With so much responsibility for virtually everything government was expected to do, the military increasingly demanded a larger role in policymaking.
Why did the uniformed leadership of our day acquiesce in this transformation of the military? Much of the answer can be traced to the budget showdowns of the early 1990s. The collapse of the Soviet Union left the US military without an easily articulated rationale for large defense budgets. Billions in cuts were sought. One journalist put it bluntly: 'Winning a share of the budget wars . . . requires that the military find new missions for a post-Cold War world that is devoid of clear military threats.' Capitulating, military leaders embraced formerly disdained assignments. As one commentator observed, 'the services are eager to take up non- traditional, budget-justifying roles'. The Vietnam-era aphorism of 'It's a lousy war but it's the only one we've got' was resuscitated.
Still, that doesn't completely explain why in 2012 the military leadership would succumb to a coup. To answer that question requires examination of what was happening to the officer corps as the military drew down in the 1980s and 1990s. Ever since large peacetime military establishments became permanent features after World War Two, the great leveller of the officer corps was the constant influx of officers from the Reserve Officers Training (ROTC) Program. The product of diverse colleges and universities throughout the United States, those officers were a vital source of liberalism in the services.
Focusing on the military's policy to exclude homosexuals from service, advocates of political correctness succeeded in driving ROTC from the campuses of some of our best universities. In many instances they also prevailed in barring recruiters from campus. Little thought was given to the long-term consequences of limiting the pool from which military leadership is drawn. The result was a much more homogeneous military elite whose outlook was progressively dissimilar to that of the civilian leadership.
Furthermore, well-meaning attempts at improving service life led to the unintended insularity of military society. In a much reduced military force, military bases, complete with schools, churches, stores, childcare centers and recreational areas, became never-to-be-left islands of tranquillity removed from the chaotic, crime-ridden environment outside the gates. As one reporter put it in 1991: 'Increasingly isolated from mainstream America, today's troops tend to view the civilian world with suspicion and sometimes hostility.'
Thus, a physically isolated and intellectually alienated officer corps was paired with an enlisted force likewise distanced from the society it was supposed to serve. In short, the military evolved into a force susceptible to manipulation by an authoritarian leader from its own selected ranks. What made this all the more disheartening was the wretched performance of our forces in the Second Gulf War. Consumed with ancillary and non-traditional missions, the military neglected its fundamental raison d'etre. When Iranian armies started pouring into the lower Gulf states in 2010, the US armed forces were ready to do anything but fight.
The military's anti-drug activities were a big part of the problem. Did anyone really think that the crew of an Awacs, an aircraft designed to track high-performance military aircraft in combat, significantly improved their skills by hours of tracking slow-moving, light planes? Did they seriously imagine that troops enhanced combat skills by looking for marijuana under car seats? Did they truly believe that crews of the Navy's sophisticated anti-air and anti-submarine ships received meaningful training by following lumbering trawlers around the Caribbean? Tragically, they did.
Perhaps even more damaging than the diversion of resources was the assault on the very ethos of military service. Former Secretary of State James Baker typified the trendy new tone in remarks about the military's airlift of food and medicine to the former Soviet republics in early 1992. He said the airlift would 'vividly show the peoples of the former Soviet Union that those that once prepared for war with them now have the courage and the conviction to use their militaries to say, 'We will wage a new peace.' '
In truth, militaries ought to prepare for war and leave the peace- waging to those agencies of government whose mission is just that. Nevertheless, such pronouncements - seconded by military leaders - became the fashionable philosophy. The result? People in the military no longer considered themselves warriors. Instead, they perceived themselves as policemen, relief workers, educators, builders, health care providers, politicians - everything but war-fighters. When these philanthropists met the Iranian 10th Armoured Corps near Daharan during the Second Gulf War, they were brutally slaughtered by a military that had not forgotten what militaries were supposed to do or what war is really all about.
The devastation of the military's martial spirit was exemplified by its involvement in police activities. Inexplicably, we ignored the deleterious effect on combat motivation suffered by the Israeli defense forces as a result of their efforts to police the West Bank and Gaza. Few seemed to appreciate the fundamental difference between the police profession and the profession of arms. As Richard J Barnet observed in the New Yorker: 'The line between police action and a military operation is real. Police derive their power from their acceptance as officers of the law; legitimate authority, not firepower, is the essential element . . .'
Humanitarian missions likewise undermined the military's sense of itself. One Navy officer gushed during the 1991 Bangladesh relief operation: 'It's great to be here doing the opposite of a soldier.' While no true soldier relishes war, the fact remains that the essence of the military is war- fighting and the preparation for the same. What journalist Barton Gellman has said of the Army can be extrapolated to the military as a whole: it is an 'organisation whose fighting spirit depends . . . heavily on tradition'. If that tradition becomes imbued with a preference for 'doing the opposite of a soldier', fighting spirit is bound to suffer. When we first heard editorial calls to 'pacify the military' by involving it in civic projects, we should have given them the forceful rebuke they deserved.
We must remember that America's position at the end of the Cold War had no historical precedent. For the first time the nation - in peacetime - found itself with a large, professional military establishment that was not preoccupied with an over- arching external threat. Yet the uncertainties in the aftermath of the Cold War limited the extent to which those forces could be safely downsized. When the military was then obliged to engage in a bewildering array of non-traditional duties to further justify its existence, it is little wonder that its traditional apolitical professionalism eventually eroded.
I would tell our classmates (at the war college) that democracy is a fragile institution that must be continuously nurtured and scrupulously protected. I would also tell them that they must speak out when they see the institution threatened; indeed, it is their duty to do so.
The catastrophe that occurred on our watch took place because we failed to speak out against policies we knew were wrong. It's too late for me to do any more. But it's not for you.
Directorate of Internal Security
Special Prisoner Branch
Prisoner Dossier No: 222305759
Date Confined: 19 March 2012
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