Former high ranking military officials are speaking out to share their views on President Donald Trump’s response to the protests that have erupted in across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“The slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020,” retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen — the U.S. envoy to the Anti-ISIS coalition under former President Barack Obama — wrote in an opinion article in Foreign Policy on Wednesday night.
Allen warned, “Remember the date. It may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.”
He referenced the decision to disperse protesters who had gathered outside the White House ahead of a 7 p.m. curfew. That move cleared the way for Trump to walk to the historic St. John’s Church, where he posed for a picture.
Allen listed three reasons why he viewed that move as “stunning.” The first reason he listed was that Trump “expressed only the barest of condolences at the murder of George Floyd” during remarks the president delivered in the Rose Garden.
Trump vowed to delivered justice for Floyd’s family. Still, Allen noted that he quickly pivoted to a message of law and order and “said nothing about the fundamental and underlying reasons for the unrest: systemic racism and inequality, a historic absence of respect, and a denial of justice.”
The second reason Allen list was “Trump was clear he views those engaged in the unrest and criminal acts in these riots as terrorists, an enemy.”
He continued, “He said so, ostensibly as justification to deploy the U.S. military to apply federal force — his ‘personal’ force — against the riots. Indeed, the secretary of defense used the military term ‘battlespace’ to describe American cities.”
While he admitted that “there may be some very accomplished criminals on both sides of the riots,” he said, “The truth is that they are minuscule in numbers.”
Instead, he described the thousands of peaceful protesters across the U.S. as people who are “justifiably furious at the murder of George Floyd” and “even angrier over pervasive injustice, mass incarceration, frequent false arrests, and an institutionalized devaluation of black lives and property.”
“As much as the president would like them to be — indeed, needs them to be — terrorists, that is not what these people are,” he added.
During his remarks on Monday, Trump called on mayors and governors to crack down on violent demonstrations. However, he warned that if local governments did not, he would deploy the U.S. Military to quell the violence.
But Allen says that move is not necessary because, “The governors have sufficient law enforcement capacity — and, if necessary, the combat power of the National Guard — to handle their respective crises. If not, they can ask for federal assistance.”
“Right now, the last thing the country needs — and, frankly, the U.S. military needs — is the appearance of U.S. soldiers carrying out the president’s intent by descending on American citizens. This could wreck the high regard Americans have for their military, and much more,” he said.
Allen slammed Trump for his messaging regarding the unrest, “He failed to project any of the higher emotions or leadership desperately needed in every quarter of this nation during this dire moment.”
Finally, he called on readers to listen to the brother Floyd, Terrence Floyd, who called on Americans to vote.
He said that if Americans heed Terrence Floyd’s call to vote, “This could be the beginning of the change of American democracy not to illiberalism, but to enlightenment.”
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis also released a statement on Wednesday where he blasted Trump, as IJR reported.
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