The military has always played a decisive role in fascist coups. If the military is on your side you are likely to win. But if the military is united against you, you will lose. ForeignPolicy.com put it this way: "A coup's success depends on the loyalty of the military at both the command level and among common soldiers."
After Joe Biden's victory in 2020, Republicans claimed (and still do) that the election was rigged and stolen. Donald Trump, they insisted (and still do), was the winner. They made it clear they are determined to prove it and put Trump back in the White House. Up until now, they have not provided a shred of evidence to support their claim. Fifty lawsuits they initiated were thrown out due to the absence of evidence. Some of the cases were dismissed by Trump-appointed judges.
Unlike banana republics, the United States has been blessed with a military that has traditionally distanced itself from politics--not taking sides in political disputes. Our military leaders have lived up to their commitment as patriots to fulfill their oaths to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," which means an oath to protect our democracy.
In response to the claim of election fraud and the Republican goal of reversing the election results General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told NPR's Morning Edition on October 11, 2020, "There is "no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election. Zero." He added "We have established a very long 240-year tradition of an apolitical military that does not get involved in domestic politics."
But what if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2024 and Republican-controlled State Houses decertify the Democratic winner and certify the Republican loser?---thus, in effect, establishing the United States of America as the Fourth Reich. Recent actions by Republicans give credibility to that possibility. Will our military allow this to happen?
Military commanders often note about warfare and battle plans that "No plan survives the first shot."
When General Mark Milley said the military would stay out of the election controversy when Republicans claimed fraud and victory, the threat to democracy was at the talk level--charges, claims, fears, and threats.
While the January 6th insurrection proved that talk can lead to action, the attempted coup ended in a matter of hours after National Guard troops arrived. So we don't know how the military would have responded if the insurrection had continued. We don't know what would have happened if there had been many more casualties and deaths--including members of Congress--and a declaration of victory by the insurrectionists and Republican leaders.
In that scenario--the first shot being fired in a declaration of war--the military would have had to scrap the battle plan of non-interference and would have acted. Why? because even non-acting would be a form of acting--that is, allowing the coup to succeed in violation of the military's oath to protect democracy.
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