We Only See the Slight Echoes

So far, it seems to me that every US presidency has a pile of secrets that are closely guarded when they happen, but eventually leak out. Obviously, that just speaks to what a sham “US democracy” is – the people’s representative (alleged) ought not to hide anything from the people, at all. Yet, they always seem to.

That’s what you get when you elect liars and sociopaths: the only kind of people who’d want the job in the first place. Then, there’s the “bodyguard of lies” – the functionaries who are deeply involved in everything that goes on, but who pretend to have seen nothing. Since it’s foremost in everyone’s mind: did you catch the way Boris Johnson thanked his security detail for not telling about the lockdown parties? Naturally, as part of their security procedures, they would have had complete lists of everyone who was there, but they’re being allowed to continue to pretend as though nothing ever happened. They’re complicit, of course. And then there’s Cippolone, who managed to broker a sweetheart deal wherein a normal subpoena doesn’t apply to him: he gets to give his answers in writing. Like a totally honest person does. We know that Cippolone was party to all of the discussions about the attempted coup, he’s just going to be allowed to claim that since he didn’t directly participate, he’s a “good guy.”

Allowing the “answers in writing” dodge makes as much sense as giving police officers involved in a shooting 3 days in which to coordinate their story ponder their testimony.

None of these people are anywhere close to “good guys” – they’re all compromised, aiders and abettors. The best defense they can make is the famous Nuremberg defense, which resulted in those that made it getting sent to the hangman. Since treason is a capital crime, it’s relevant – but the US organs of state haven’t got the courage and anger to act effectively, among the bunch of them.

So, there’s a completely crazy story that has been going around. [axios] Apparently, after he lost the election, Trump tried to throw all of the toys out of the pram of state. He tried to issue a sneaky order withdrawing all US troops from major stations including Afghanistan, Syria, and all of Africa. Naturally, the pentagon, which is its own power, didn’t do it.

John McEntee, one of Donald Trump’s most-favored aides, handed retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor a piece of paper with a few notes scribbled on it. He explained: “This is what the president wants you to do.”

1. Get us out of Afghanistan.

2. Get us out of Iraq and Syria.

3. Complete the withdrawal from Germany.

4. Get us out of Africa.

I suspect the pentagon rejected the letter because it wasn’t in sharpie (dadum-tschhh!) – this was November 9: Trump had already lost and (we now know) knew it. He was raging and tried to pee in the punchbowl as much as he could.

The one-page memo was delivered by courier to Christopher Miller’s office two days later, on the afternoon of Nov. 11. The order arrived seemingly out of nowhere, and its instructions, signed by Trump, were stunning: All U.S. military forces were to be withdrawn from Somalia by Dec. 31, 2020. All U.S. forces were to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Jan. 15, 2021.

What the fuck is this? Miller wondered.

News of the memo spread quickly throughout the Pentagon. Top military brass, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, were appalled. This was not the way to conduct policy – with no consultation, no input, no process for gaming out consequences or offering alternatives.

Naturally, none of them went public. None. So much for the “adults in the room” – it is not good enough to merely spank the toddler and hope it gets the message; it needs to be aired out in public so that controls can be put in place to prevent another rogue president from trying to take over the military for nefarious purposes.

Trump, in other words, was taking revenge: “you won’t staff my coup? Then I’ll screw up your plans.”

A call was quickly placed to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. In turn, Cipollone notified the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien. Neither Cipollone nor O’Brien had any idea what the order was or where it had come from.

Neither did the office of the staff secretary – whose job it was to vet all the paper that reached the president’s desk. Yet the paper bore Trump’s distinctive Sharpie signature.

The U.S. government’s top national security leaders soon realized they were dealing with an off-the-books operation by the commander in chief himself.

Cippolone’s job as white house counsel is to serve the people; he’s not the president’s personal attorney. His job is to tell the president when they’re about to do something illegal, or to serve as a resource in case a president feels they may be doing something sketchy, and they want to check to see what a lawyer thinks. (Hint: when your sketchiness makes you want to consult a lawyer, then it’s too sketchy, stop.)

All of the usual characters have walk-on roles: Bannon, Bolton, Cippolone, Mattis, and – basically – everyone else who witnessed this travesty, and concealed it and their role in it. They’re all “white house characters” which means that their silence helped feed a deranged president’s ideas, and they became part of a conspiracy when they decided to sweep it all under the carpet.

“Why do these people do these things?” we ask, which is a reasonable question. But the answer is embedded in the servile nature of the power-seeker: they feel that being close to the seat of power, where the action is, is the most important thing in their life. Their career and their sense of personal power depends on being a good servant to the mad king. And, don’t rock the boat. When I was a kid there was no talk about Ronald Reagan’s mind turning to mush during his second term. Now, sure, it’s publicly acknowledged. The people around Reagan conspired, again, to keep that fact from the people. The 25th amendment is specifically there for the case where a president loses his mind, but the servitors surrounding mad king Ronald did not want their personal grip on whatever power they had to be weakened. To me, that typifies the servitor mentality: they come to associate so fully with their icon that they see a failure of the icon as a threat to them, personally. The republicans, of course, want such servitors, since people that are less submissive might begin complaining loudly as to the location of their slice of the pie. The short, pathetic, career of Devin Nunes is a good case study: a few million bucks in the bank and an empty job title, in return for utter subjugation to the master vampires.

Trump’s demented, too, of course. Why is nobody talking about that, yet? One does not get given cognitive assessment tests for alzheimer’s as entertainment. One does not brag about it, publicly, unless one is already suffering pretty bad dementia. Naturally, Trump’s “inner circle” circled the wagons to protect their meal-ticket. Including Cippolone.

My prediction is that Cippolone, who knows all the stuff about the things that were going on, is going to answer evasively and lean on privilege (which, technically, he does not have) to avoid answering any questions in the form of “… when did you know about ..?” and “where did that idea come from?” We should not expect anything useful or valuable out of Cippolone, because if that was forthcoming, he would have already offered an interview. All the committee can hope for is to catch him in a lie, which is (of course) why he has asked to give his replies to written questions: he’ll have plenty of time to write “I don’t remember” over and over. But, of course he remembers: he was in the middle of a coup attempt and was being asked “is this legal?” by various nefarious characters. He didn’t come forward before now, because he’s a supreme dirtbag.

“they became part of a conspiracy when they decided to sweep it all under the carpet” – this is all a good example of my doctrine of “emergent conspiracy.” There’s no conspiracy where people meet, wearing cloaks and carrying daggers – but if a lot of people want to see a certain thing happen, and they all give the idea a nudge, it takes on a life of its own without any one person being seen as the instigator. It’s just a thing that happened, because, you know, everyone wanted it to. If you want to understand this better, read Foucault’s Pendulum.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … Get us out of Afghanistan. … Iraq and Syria… Germany… Africa.

    Trump™ has been a leftist sympathizer all along???

  2. says

    It strikes me that, if you are a member of the military and the President gives you an order, you have to follow it. But if nobody knows about the order, and it is not made public, maybe you can get away with not following it (as they did). That may have been what they were thinking.

    On the other hand, if they publicize it, then maybe the Cabinet would have realized just how fucknuts Trump was, and used the 25th Amendment. But would you want to bet on that?

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    ahcuah @2: US military officers swear an oath to defend the Constitution. So they’re not duty-bound to obey any order that goes against that. Doesn’t mean they always adhere to that, but the point is they don’t have to obey a President’s (or even a superior officer’s) orders.

  4. says

    Rob Grigjanis@3. Yes, I know. But it did not seem worth mentioning since I don’t see how an order to remove troops that Presidents put there in the first place with other orders would be unconstitutional. Unless there was some treaty involved, and I am unaware of any that apply here.

    And if you are a General (or any other member of the military, for that matter) refusing an order as unconstitutional, you damn well better be sure it really is unconstitutional.

  5. Tethys says

    If there is one thing the US military is good at, it is making every administrative process into an exercise in official procedure. (In triplicate) Generals are career military people, with decades of following official procedure ingrained into them. Some even display rather patriotic ideas about their chosen field.

    I imagine those Generals did not appreciate the tyrant imagining he had the legal authority to issue any broad reaching orders to them. They also made sure his nuclear football was rendered inoperable, since he was clearly attempting a scorched earth approach to losing the election.

    Closing ranks does look a lot like conspiracy, but I will assume that there are other factors that we don’t know about, ( Russia, CIA, NATO, “national security”) more than any desire to shield tfg from public ridicule.

    Perhaps the committee can have Gen. Miley come and testify about his efforts to prevent tfg from ratfucking US foreign relations in any way possible. I think he would happily do so, if he has not already offered evidence or been in contact via those back channel communications.

  6. call me mark says

    did you catch the way Boris Johnson thanked his security detail for not telling about the lockdown parties?

    Rumour has it that he was actually thanking them for not revealing the prodigious cocaine abuse at some of those parties.

  7. snarkhuntr says

    This kind of thing is to be expected in a failing empire. It is also the (real) example of the “Deep State” boogeyman that right-wingers like to throw around. The difference being that they perceive the ‘deep state’ as being some kind of unified cabal of globalist progressives, whereas the real deep state is simply the institutional inertia of the vast bureaucracies, fiefdoms, and mini-empires constructed within the baroque and decadent state.

    It is a mistake to think of the state as any kind of unified whole. Even organizations within the state are themselves fragmented and often working at cross-purposes. The only thing that unifies, for example, the various goals of the various branches of the military is a fundamental refusal to be accountable to the state at-large, while also demanding ever-increasing amounts of money from that state with the nebulous promise of ‘security’. So too with the various intelligence agencies, and the superfluity of law-enforcement agencies. While each will act in its own interest ahead of those of its fellow/competitor agencies, they will all band together to vigorously defend their independence from central control, planning or accountability.

    Of course the military refused to remove its troops from wherever it is presently projecting power – it would be naive to believe that it would do anything else. Those operations are the justification for the funding for those operations – to cease operating would be to reduce the strength of the next set of financial demands that the military will make against the state. Giving up foreign operations, foreign bases, foreign wars is simply not something the US military as a whole will ever do voluntarily. That the president himself, ostensibly the commander in chief OF that military, could not make them do so is an indicator of the independence that the military now has from all civilian oversight. The US state can’t even *audit* the military, since it refuses to keep financial records such that accounting is possible – and yet demands ever more money be poured into its ever-widening pockets. How this money is spent is dependant less on the will of the people, or even the will of the people’s chosen representatives, but on the whims and personal desires of those who have achieved power within the military system. We can only hope that they do so broadly in the public’s interest – only hope, because all concievable accountability mechanisms have been stripped away from the institution.

    This attitude occurs all throughout the state security apparatus… NSA simply renaming programs that were illegal, so that it can tell Congress that it has stopped doing those illegal things, while continuing to do them unchecked under another name. Police forces resisting/disobeying/protesting at reformist chiefs or prosecutors attempting to check, even a little, the rampant brutality, corruption and incompetence of their members… the list goes on and on.

    The thing that is common though-out this system, and replicated in other areas of government and private industry is a complete lack of personal accountability. If money is wasted, no-one is *ever* personally responsible for doing so. If laws are violated, passive-voiced regrets will be issued, but no-one who was nominally in charge *ever* goes to prison or even loses their comfy executive positions.

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