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Did you ever see the movie mentioned in the title? It was a movie from the 1960’s (more on that shortly)….with biggies of the day…Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster….an excellent novel and a good movie.
Back in the days when Blackwater (private army used by the Defense Dept to fight our wars) was making news over their antics in Iraq and elsewhere I thought about this movie because Blackwater was getting attack choppers, tanks, etc…all the equipment of a standing military….that one day if we were not careful they could take over the government after all they have the resources for a coup. Read more…..
But those feelings subsided because of the problems Blackwater was having it was renamed and then just sort of fell off the face of the news….
Recently all those thoughts came rushing back.…all the remembering of the movie and Lancaster’s portrayal of this general that wants to control the government (in case you skipped it there is more about the movie and the plot in the piece I “Pressed“)….
By recently I mean after the election of Trump and once he started naming names for his advisers and cabinet I noticed that there were way too many generals in my opinion……the thoughts were there and the movie was watched (again)…..and then I read an op-ed in the American Conservative about this very subject….
Let’s be honest, what classic-movie fan hasn’t thought once or twice about the 1964 film Seven Days in May, a brilliantly paranoid gem exploring the anatomy of an American military coup during the Cold War, since President-elect Donald Trump started announcing his plans to nominate one recently retired general after another to the highest positions of his administration?
One could argue that many elements of the movie’s plot are present today: a military infrastructure bred and fed on decades of war is suddenly threatened by a peacetime posture, defense cuts, and a deal with a rival power that’s unpopular with many in the ranks. In the movie, one general, played forbiddingly by Burt Lancaster, believes it is his duty to right the wrongs of the civilian leadership (a peace deal with the Russians) and, thanks to the size and autonomy lavished upon the post-WWII military-industrial complex, can marshal the makings of an elaborate coup right under the noses of official Washington.
But there are more thoughts about the amount of generals Trump is adding to his cabinet……
In my latest article at TomDispatch.com, “All the President’s Generals,” I examine Trump’s affection for retired military generals to fill America’s most senior civilian positions related to national defense. I urge you to read the entire article at TomDispatch.com; here I wish to focus on the quartet of generals/warriors Trump is empowering as part of his drive to “win” again. Trump seems most pleased that “his” generals are allegedly cut from the same cloth as George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur, two of America’s most anti-democratic generals.
Perhaps this shouldn’t surprise us. Like Prussia in the age of Frederick the Great, America is increasingly becoming a colossal military establishment with a state attached to it. Unlike Prussia, our colossus is not producing any meaningful victories. And no one, I think, would confuse the educated and enlightened Frederick with America’s angry and undisciplined Tweeter-in-chief.
The article mentioned earlier in this post about the generals that will be in essence running the country should be read…..(do so below…thought provoking)
In a sense, human history could be seen as an endless tale of the rise and fall of empires. In the last century alone, from the Hapsburgs and Imperial Japan to Great Britain and the Soviet Union, the stage was crowded with such entities heading for the nearest exit. By 1991, with the implosion of the USSR, it seemed as if Earth’s imperial history was more or less over. After all, only one great imperial power was left. The Russians were, by then, a shadow of their former Soviet self (despite their nuclear arsenal) and, though on the rise, the Chinese were, in military terms at least, no more than a growing regional power. Left essentially unchallenged was the United States, the last empire standing. Even though its people rejected the word “imperial” as a descriptive term for their “exceptional” country — just as, until oh-so-recently, they rejected the word “nationalist” for themselves — the world’s “sole superpower” was visibly the only game in town.
Its military, which already garrisoned much of the planet, was funded at levels no other country or even groups of them combined could touch and had destructive capabilities beyond compare. And yet, with the mightiest military on the planet, the United States would never again win a significant war or conflict. Though its forces would be quite capable of taking the island of Grenada or briefly invadingPanama, in the conflicts that mattered — Korea and Vietnam — victory would never come into sight. And it only got worse in the twenty-first century as that military fought an endless series of conflicts (under the rubric of “the war on terror”) across the Greater Middle East and Africa. In those years, it left in its wake a series of brutal sectarian struggles, ascendant terror movements, and failed or failing states and yet, despite its stunning destructive power and its modestly armed enemies, it was nowhere victorious. Never perhaps had an empire at its seeming height attempted to control more while winning less. (The power of its economy was, of course, another matter.)
Please…all you Trump supporters…I am NOT saying that this will happen only that his picks have made me think of the movie (again)……and of course the very possibility of a pending coup.
What never had creeping thoughts? Or should I say “creepy“?
(You can wager that I will have more to say on this subject in the coming months)
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