Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #562 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

Record­ed July 23, 2006

Lis­ten: MP3  Side 1  Side 2


Intro­duc­tion: Begin­ning with dis­cus­sion of the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a mil­i­tary coup in the Unit­ed States, the pro­gram fea­tures a pan­el dis­cus­sion of experts invit­ed to dis­cuss the top­ic in an arti­cle in Harper’s. In this arti­cle, the pan­elists explore a num­ber of ways in which mil­i­tary influ­ence in soci­ety has been, and is, expanding—thus afford­ing the mil­i­tary an avenue for affect­ing polit­i­cal mat­ters that is less dras­tic than a coup. They ana­lyze the pos­si­bil­i­ty that a ter­ror­ist inci­dent fea­tur­ing the use of a weapon of mass destruc­tion might result in an assump­tion of pow­er by the mil­i­tary. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, they dis­cuss a “creep­ing coup” that stems, in most of their opin­ion, from the cold war and, above all, the Bush administration’s unceas­ing empha­sis on war. The broad­cast also explores the leas­ing of state high­ways to for­eign companies—a hall­mark of this country’s eco­nom­ic dis­tress. Con­clud­ing with dis­cus­sion of an attempt on the life of Har­ry Tru­man by Puer­to Rican nation­al­ists, the broad­cast notes that the would-be assas­sins were mem­bers of a fas­cist group.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Dis­cus­sion of the demo­graph­ics of mil­i­tary recruit­ment and their influ­ence on the civilian/military bal­ance; a recount­ing of past con­flicts between the civil­ian and mil­i­tary sec­tors of soci­ety; analy­sis of the pro­found con­flict between the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion and the mil­i­tary; analy­sis of Puer­to Rican fas­cists’ his­tor­i­cal alliance with the Falange, based in Franco’s Spain and allied with Nazi Ger­many.

1. The pro­gram begins with intro­duc­tion of the pan­elists in the dis­cus­sion: “Eter­nal vig­i­lance being the price of lib­er­ty, Americans—who spent decades war-gam­ing a Sovi­et inva­sion and have tak­en more recent­ly to day­dream­ing about “tick­ing bomb” scenarios—should cast at least an occa­sion­al thought toward the only tru­ly exis­ten­tial threat that Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy might face today. We now live in a unipo­lar world, after all, in which con­quest of the Unit­ed States by an out­side pow­er is near­ly incon­ceiv­able. Even the best-equipped ter­ror­ists, for their part, could dis­patch at most a city or two; and armed rev­o­lu­tion is a futile prospect, so fear­some­ly is our home­land secured by police and mil­i­tary forces. To sub­due Amer­i­ca entire­ly, the only route remain­ing would be to seize the machin­ery of state itself, to steer it toward malign ends—to car­ry out, that is, a coup d’état. Giv­en that the linch­pin of any coup d’état is the par­tic­i­pa­tion, or at least the sup­port, of a nation’s mil­i­tary offi­cers, Harper’s Mag­a­zine assem­bled a pan­el of experts to dis­cuss the state of our own military—its cul­ture, its rela­tion­ship with the wider soci­ety, and the stead­fast­ness of its loy­al­ty to the ideals of democ­ra­cy and to the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion. The fol­low­ing forum is based on a dis­cus­sion that took place in Jan­u­ary at the Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Arling­ton, Vir­ginia. Bill Wasik served as mod­er­a­tor.”
(“Amer­i­can Coup d’Etat”; Harper’s Mag­a­zine; April/2006; pp. 43–44.)

2. “ANDREW J. BACEVICH is a pro­fes­sor of inter­na­tion­al rela­tions at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty and the author, most recent­ly, of The New Amer­i­can Mil­i­tarism. He served as an offi­cer in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1992.

“BRIG. GEN. CHARLES J. DUNLAP JR. is a staff judge advo­cate at Lan­g­ley Air Force Base in Vir­ginia. In 1992 he pub­lished an essay enti­tled “The Ori­gins of the Amer­i­can Mil­i­tary Coup of 2012.” [His arti­cle forms the prin­ci­pal ele­ment in FTR#74.] (His views here are per­son­al and do not reflect those of the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense.)

“RICHARD H. KOHN is the chair of the cur­ricu­lum in Peace, War, and Defense at the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Chapel Hill and edi­tor of the book The Unit­ed States Mil­i­tary Under the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States, 1789?1989, among oth­ers.

“EDWARD N. LUTTWAK is a senior advis­er at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies and the author of many books, includ­ing Coup D’Etat: A Prac­ti­cal Hand­book.

“BILL WASIK is a senior edi­tor of Harper’s Mag­a­zine.” (Ibid.; p. 44.)

3. Begin­ning with the fun­da­men­tal focal point of dis­cus­sion, the pan­elists are in agree­ment that an overt mil­i­tary coup in the Unit­ed States would not be pos­si­ble. In this con­text, it is impor­tant to note that, as Mr. Emory notes in the pro­gram, the pan­elists do not take account of events such as the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy, a suc­cess­ful coup. When the media are con­trolled, and in this coun­try they are and have been for some time, any­thing is pos­si­ble. Note also that the pan­elists do not dis­cuss the coup attempt of 1934. [For more about the coup attempt of 1934, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 448, 475, 481, 602.] “BILL WASIK: Let us begin with the most straight­for­ward approach. Would it be pos­si­ble for a rene­gade group of mil­i­tary offi­cers, or the offi­cer corps as a whole, to sim­ply plot and car­ry out a coup d’état in the Unit­ed States? EDWARD LUTTWAK: If some­body asked me to plan such a coup, I wouldn’t take on the assign­ment. CHARLES DUNLAP: I wouldn’t either. [Laughs] LUTTWAK: I’ve done it for oth­er coun­tries. But it just wouldn’t work here. You could go down the list and take over these head­quar­ters, that head­quar­ters, the White House, the Defense Depart­ment, the tele­vi­sion, the radio, and so on. You could arrest all the lead­ers, detain or kill off their fam­i­lies. And you would have accom­plished noth­ing. ANDREW BACEVICH: That’s right. What are you going to seize that, hav­ing seized it, gives you con­trol of the coun­try?” (Idem.)

4. “LUTTWAK: You would sit in the office of the Sec­re­tary of Defense, and the first place where you wouldn’t be obeyed would be inside your office. If they did fol­low orders inside the office, then peo­ple in the rest of the Pen­ta­gon wouldn’t. If every­body in the Pen­ta­gon fol­lowed orders, peo­ple out in the mil­i­tary bases wouldn’t. If they did, as well, Amer­i­can cit­i­zens would still not accept your legit­i­ma­cy. RICHARD KOHN: It’s a prob­lem of pub­lic opin­ion. All of the organs of opin­ion in this coun­try would rise up with one voice: the courts, the media, busi­ness lead­ers, edu­ca­tion lead­ers, the cler­gy. LUTTWAK: You could shut down the media—KOHN: You can’t shut it down. It’s too dis­persed. LUTTWAK: No, you could shut down the media, but even if you did shut down the media, you still wouldn’t be able to rule. Because, remem­ber, in order to actu­al­ly rule, you have to have accep­tance. Think of Sad­dam Hus­sein: he was not a very, you know, pop­u­lar leader, but he did have to be obeyed at the very min­i­mum by his secu­ri­ty forces, his Repub­li­can Guards. So there is a min­i­mum group that one needs in order to con­trol any coun­try. But in this coun­try, you could nev­er con­trol such a min­i­mum group.” (Idem.)

5. “KOHN: I’ve raised this point before with mil­i­tary audi­ences: Do you real­ly think you can con­trol New York City with­out the coop­er­a­tion of 40,000 New York police offi­cers? And what about Ida­ho, with all those mili­tia groups? Do you think you can con­trol Ida­ho? I’m not even going to talk about Texas. BACEVICH: And this comes back to the fed­er­al sys­tem. As Edward point­ed out, even if you seized Wash­ing­ton, Amer­i­cans are will­ing to acknowl­edge that Wash­ing­ton is the seat of polit­i­cal author­i­ty only to a lim­it­ed extent. The coup plot­ters could sit in the Capi­tol, but up in Boston we’re going to ask, ‘What’s this got to do with us?’” (Idem.)

6. “DUNLAP: It’s also impos­si­ble giv­en the cul­ture of the mil­i­tary. The notion of a cabal of U.S. mil­i­tary offi­cers col­lud­ing to over­throw the gov­ern­ment is almost unthink­able. Civil­ian con­trol of the mil­i­tary is too deeply ingrained in the armed forces. BACEVICH: The pro­fes­sion­al eth­ic with­in the mil­i­tary is firm­ly com­mit­ted to the prin­ci­ple that they don’t rule. WASIK: So we can agree, then, that the blunt approach won’t work. Was there ever a time in our his­to­ry when the Unit­ed States was in dan­ger of an out­right mil­i­tary takeover?” (Idem.)

7. The pan­elists dis­cuss a num­ber of inci­dents of sub­or­di­na­tion with­in the mil­i­tary, rang­ing from the imme­di­ate after­math of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion until the peri­od just after the Amer­i­can Civ­il War. “KOHN: The clos­est, I would say, was a fac­tion in the mil­i­tary at New­burgh, New York, in March of 1783. The army felt like it was about to be aban­doned in the oncom­ing peace; offi­cers were con­cerned about their rein­te­gra­tion into Amer­i­can soci­ety, that they wouldn’t get the pay that had been promised them. They got caught up in a very com­plex plot, in which they were used by a fac­tion in the Con­gress that was try­ing to change the Arti­cles of Con­fed­er­a­tion to give the cen­tral gov­ern­ment the pow­er to tax. Nation­al­ist lead­ers in Con­gress basi­cal­ly pro­voked a coup attempt and then dou­ble-crossed the offi­cers that they induced to do it by tip­ping off George Wash­ing­ton. All this led to a famous meet­ing of the offi­cers when it was pro­posed that they see to their own inter­ests, and either march on the Con­gress or, if the war con­tin­ued, retire to the West and aban­don the coun­try. Wash­ing­ton faced down the con­spir­a­tors in an emo­tion­al moment at New­burgh on March 15, 1783.” (Ibid.; p. 45)

8. “DUNLAP: He was read­ing a let­ter from a con­gress­man, as I recall, and then at one point he said, ‘Gen­tle­men, you will per­mit me to put on my spec­ta­cles. For I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the ser­vice of my coun­try.’ KOHN: And this caused a kind of emo­tion­al break at the meet­ing, accord­ing to the peo­ple who were there. DUNLAP: Because they real­ized how much he had sac­ri­ficed. And it humil­i­at­ed them. LUTTWAK: So the point here is to make sure your army has excel­lent retire­ment ben­e­fits. This was an indus­tri­al action. It was about get­ting paid. KOHN: The pay rep­re­sent­ed a lot more than just the mon­ey, though. There was deep polit­i­cal intrigue involved, and per­son­al ani­mos­i­ty. LUTTWAK: In oth­er words, the repub­lic was in great dan­ger in 1783. Which doesn’t cause imme­di­ate alarm these days in the streets of Man­hat­tan.” (Idem.)

9. Intro­duc­ing a cen­tral ele­ment of analy­sis, the pan­elists explore the fact that the mil­i­tary has learned to per­form in the polit­i­cal are­na. “BACEVICH: But this does bring up anoth­er cru­cial rea­son there could nev­er be a mil­i­tary coup in the Unit­ed States: the mil­i­tary has learned to play pol­i­tics. It doesn’t need to have a coup in order to get what it wants most of the time. Espe­cial­ly since World War II, the ser­vices have become very skill­ful at exploit­ing the media and at manip­u­lat­ing the Congress—particularly on the defense bud­get, which is esti­mat­ed now to be equal to that of the entire rest of the world com­bined. DUNLAP: I agree, though I wouldn’t char­ac­ter­ize it neg­a­tive­ly. The mil­i­tary works with­in the sys­tem to achieve its needs. LUTTWAK: A few years back, the pres­i­dent of Argenti­na told the country’s air force that its bud­get for the next year would be $80 mil­lion. Now, Argenti­na has a fair­ly large air force; $80 mil­lion was enough for one base, basi­cal­ly. But the air force had no recourse, no back chan­nels to Con­gress, no talk shows to go on. That could nev­er hap­pen in the Unit­ed States. BACEVICH: Right. Our mil­i­tary doesn’t need to over­throw the gov­ern­ment, because it has learned how to play pol­i­tics in order to achieve its inter­ests. (Idem.)

10. The pan­elists do note the pos­si­bil­i­ty that an attack with weapons of mass destruc­tion might trig­ger a series of events that could lead to an assump­tion of extra con­sti­tu­tion­al author­i­ty by the mil­i­tary. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that ele­ments that might seek pow­er could pre­cip­i­tate such a set of cir­cum­stances is one to be care­ful­ly con­sid­ered. “WASIK: Are there any unfore­seen cir­cum­stances in which a coup might become pos­si­ble in the Unit­ed States? KOHN: One could con­ceive of sit­u­a­tions in which the mil­i­tary would be invit­ed to exer­cise extra­con­sti­tu­tion­al author­i­ty. Imag­ine rolling bio­log­i­cal attacks, with the need to quar­an­tine whole cities or regions. A mil­i­tary takeover might arise, indeed, from a politi­cian want­i­ng to sim­ply retain order in the coun­try. It might be sup­port­ed by the Amer­i­can people—and Con­gress and the courts might go along. LUTTWAK: Such a sce­nario would prob­a­bly play out through a mul­ti-stage trans­for­ma­tion. After all, take any group of nice peo­ple on a trip; if five bad things hap­pen to them in a row, they will end up as can­ni­bals. How many adverse events are need­ed before a polit­i­cal sys­tem, arguably the most firm­ly root­ed con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem in the his­to­ry of the world, becomes uproot­ed? How many Sep­tem­ber 11ths, on what scale? How much pan­ic, what kind of lead­er­ship? All of us can say that it is fool­ish to talk of a coup in the Unit­ed States, but any of us could design a sce­nario by which a coup becomes pos­si­ble. DUNLAP: If there were a mas­sive attack by a nuclear weapon, or by some oth­er weapon of mass destruc­tion, the imme­di­ate cri­sis might require the use of the armed forces. But obvi­ous­ly there are plans for those sce­nar­ios, and if they’re exe­cut­ed, then con­trol would be main­tained under the Con­sti­tu­tion.” (Ibid.; pp. 45–46.)

11. Among the sce­nar­ios envi­sioned by the pan­elists would be a con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis pre­cip­i­tat­ed by a fun­da­men­tal dis­agree­ment by the duly appoint­ed branch­es of civil­ian gov­ern­ment. “BACEVICH: But these are sce­nar­ios in which the mil­i­tary would be invit­ed to over­step its role. KOHN: Yes. I can­not con­ceive that in such a sit­u­a­tion the mil­i­tary would aggran­dize its posi­tion on its own. WASIK: So a weapon of mass destruc­tion might cause the mil­i­tary to assume greater pow­er. What about a pure­ly polit­i­cal cri­sis? Could the mil­i­tary step in if, say, the Con­sti­tu­tion were unclear on a course of action? DUNLAP: One inter­est­ing sce­nario would be a cri­sis between the branch­es of gov­ern­ment that are expect­ed to con­trol the mil­i­tary. I.E., if the armed forces were caught between the orders of the pres­i­dent, the Con­gress, or even the courts, and there were no con­sti­tu­tion­al path to resolve the dis­agree­ment.” (Ibid.; p. 46.)

12. “KOHN: Wouldn’t the armed forces sim­ply freeze? They’d be par­a­lyzed. LUTTWAK: It’s a very inter­est­ing line of inquiry. Let’s say a pres­i­dent, exer­cis­ing his prop­er and legit­i­mate pres­i­den­tial author­i­ty, ini­ti­ates a mil­i­tary action. Then Con­gress wakes up and says, ‘Wait a minute, this pres­i­dent is berserk; he’s start­ing a war, and we’re against it.’ But in the mean­time, the mil­i­tary force has already been put in a very com­pro­mised sit­u­a­tion. If things were mov­ing very fast, the mil­i­tary might well take an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al action. KOHN: Some­thing sim­i­lar actu­al­ly hap­pened dur­ing Recon­struc­tion: there were con­flict­ing orders from the Con­gress and the pres­i­dent. LUTTWAK: What were the details? KOHN: It was 1867, when Grant was the com­mand­ing gen­er­al. BACEVICH: The pres­i­dent, Andrew John­son, was in favor of a rapid rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and min­i­mal polit­i­cal change. The Con­gress, under the con­trol of rad­i­cal Repub­li­cans, want­ed to impose change on the South, and also there­by con­sol­i­date Repub­li­can con­trol of the region. This dis­pute came to a head when Con­gress passed laws that essen­tial­ly stripped John­son of his con­trol over the army: as far as Recon­struc­tion was con­cerned, Grant and Edwin Stan­ton, who was sec­re­tary of war, were to take their march­ing orders from Con­gress. When John­son fired Stan­ton, Grant found him­self both the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the army and the act­ing sec­re­tary of war. But he struck an obe­di­ent, apo­lit­i­cal pose, and he con­tin­ued to do the bid­ding of Con­gress.” (Idem.)

13. The pan­elists note that con­flict­ing orders between branch­es of the gov­ern­ment, as well as a pres­i­den­tial man­date to under­take the impos­si­ble might be required to bring about a mil­i­tary coup. “LUTTWAK: What about a sit­u­a­tion in which the mil­i­tary was ordered to start a war that it did not believe could be won? Imag­ine that Pres­i­dent Bush orders the Amer­i­can armed forces to effect a land­ing in Fujian province and march up to Bei­jing. The army would say, ‘Of course, Mr. Pres­i­dent, we’re will­ing to obey orders. But we have to have a uni­ver­sal mil­i­tary con­scrip­tion, we have to bring our forces up to four mil­lion and a half.’ And imag­ine that Bush refus­es. BACEVICH: The mil­i­tary would leak it to the Wash­ing­ton Post, and the war would nev­er hap­pen. It’s the Bosnia case: when Pres­i­dent Clin­ton want­ed to inter­vene in Bosnia, Gen­er­al Bar­ry McCaf­frey tes­ti­fied to Con­gress and gave a wild­ly inflat­ed pro­jec­tion of the num­ber of occu­pa­tion troops that would be required. By over­stat­ing the cost of the oper­a­tion, the gen­er­als changed the polit­i­cal dynam­ic and Clin­ton found his hands tied, at least for a peri­od of time.” (Idem.)

14. The pan­elists also note that the mil­i­tary is seen by the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion as a great “prob­lem solver.” Will the pub­lic “demand” that the mil­i­tary get involved in soci­ety in ways that are unprece­dent­ed? “WASIK: Let’s get back, though, to the sub­ject of crises, whether real or con­trived. It seems as though the Amer­i­can pub­lic wants to see the mil­i­tary step in dur­ing these sit­u­a­tions. A poll tak­en just after Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na found that 69 per­cent of peo­ple want­ed to see the mil­i­tary serve as the pri­ma­ry respon­der to nat­ur­al dis­as­ters. DUNLAP: Peo­ple don’t ful­ly appre­ci­ate what the mil­i­tary is. By design it is author­i­tar­i­an, social­is­tic, unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic. Those qual­i­ties help the armed forces to serve their very unique pur­pose in our soci­ety: name­ly, exter­nal defense against for­eign ene­mies. In the mil­i­tary we look to destroy threats, not appre­hend them for pro­cess­ing through a sys­tem that pre­sumes them inno­cent until proven guilty. And I should add that if you do try to imprint sol­diers with the restraint that a police force needs, then you dis­ad­van­tage them against the ruth­less adver­saries that real war involves. WASIK: Then why do so many Amer­i­cans say they want to see the mil­i­tary get involved in law enforce­ment, ‘peace­keep­ing,’ etc.? DUNLAP: Amer­i­cans today have an incred­i­ble trust in the mil­i­tary. In poll after poll they have much more con­fi­dence in the armed forces than they do in oth­er insti­tu­tions. The most recent poll, just this past spring, had trust in the mil­i­tary at 74 per­cent, while Con­gress was at 22 per­cent and the pres­i­den­cy was at 44 per­cent. In oth­er words, the armed forces are much more trust­ed than the civil­ian insti­tu­tions that are sup­posed to con­trol them.” (Ibid.; pp. 46–47.)

15. One of the most impor­tant parts of the dis­cus­sion con­cerns the belief on the parts of the pan­elists that “mil­i­ta­rized civil­ians” could cre­ate a “creep­ing coup” by insti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty and a cul­ture of con­flict. The pan­elists feel that events such as the cold war and 9/11 have gen­er­at­ed an impe­tus toward this sit­u­a­tion. As will be seen below, the pan­elists feel that the admin­is­tra­tion of George W. Bush has accel­er­at­ed this trend. “BACEVICH: The ques­tion that aris­es is whether, in fact, we’re not already expe­ri­enc­ing what is in essence a creep­ing coup d’état. But it’s not peo­ple in uni­form who are seiz­ing pow­er. It’s mil­i­ta­rized civil­ians, who con­ceive of the world as such a dan­ger­ous place that mil­i­tary pow­er has to pre­dom­i­nate, that con­sti­tu­tion­al con­straints on the mil­i­tary need to be loos­ened. The ide­ol­o­gy of nation­al secu­ri­ty has become ever more woven into our pol­i­tics. It has been espe­cial­ly appar­ent since 9/11, but more broad­ly it’s been going on since the begin­ning of the Cold War. KOHN: The Con­sti­tu­tion is being warped. BACEVICH: Here we don’t need to con­jure up hypo­thet­i­cal sce­nar­ios of the pres­i­dent deploy­ing troops, etc. We have a pres­i­dent who cre­at­ed a pro­gram that directs the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency, which is part of the mil­i­tary, to engage in domes­tic eaves­drop­ping. LUTTWAK: I don’t know if this would be called a coup. KOHN: Because it’s so incre­men­tal? LUTTWAK: It’s more like an ero­sion. The pres­i­dent is usurp­ing addi­tion­al pow­ers. Although what’s inter­est­ing is that the president’s usurpa­tion of this par­tic­u­lar pow­er was entire­ly unnec­es­sary. The For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Act court, which approves ter­ror­ism-relat­ed requests for wire­taps, can be sum­moned over the tele­phone in a mat­ter of min­utes. In its entire his­to­ry, it has said no to a request for sur­veil­lance only a hand­ful of times, and those were cas­es where there was a mis­take in the request. Real­ly, even a small-town sher­iff can get any inter­cep­tion he wants, so long as after the fact he can show a judge that there was rea­son­able cause.” (Ibid.; p. 47.)

16. “BACEVICH: Bush’s move was unnec­es­sary if the object of the exer­cise was to engage in sur­veil­lance. It was very use­ful indeed if the object is to expand exec­u­tive pow­er. KOHN: Which is exact­ly what has been the agen­da since the begin­ning of this admin­is­tra­tion. LUTTWAK: Now you’re attribut­ing motives. BACEVICH: Yes, I am! If you read John Yoo, he sug­gests that one con­scious aim of the project was to elim­i­nate con­straints on the chief exec­u­tive when it comes to mat­ters of nation­al secu­ri­ty. DUNLAP: I will say that even if it was a com­plete­ly legal project, there is a ques­tion of how appro­pri­ate it is for the armed forces to be involved in that kind of activ­i­ty. Since, as I not­ed before, the Amer­i­can peo­ple have much less con­fi­dence in those insti­tu­tions of civil­ian con­trol than they do in the armed forces, we need to be very care­ful about what we ask the mil­i­tary to do, even assum­ing it’s legal.” (Idem.)

17. The pan­elists con­tin­ue to dis­cuss a “creep­ing coup” under­way, that stems from actions that Pres­i­dent Bush has ini­ti­at­ed. “WASIK: If we are talk­ing about a ‘creep­ing coup’ that is already under way, in what direc­tion is it creep­ing? BACEVICH: The creep­ing coup deflects atten­tion away from domes­tic pri­or­i­ties and toward nation­al-secu­ri­ty mat­ters, so that is where all our resources get deployed. ‘Lead­er­ship’ today is what is demon­strat­ed in the nation­al-secu­ri­ty realm. The cur­rent pres­i­den­cy is inter­est­ing in that regard. What has Bush accom­plished apart from pos­tur­ing in the role of com­man­der in chief? He declares wars, he pros­e­cutes wars, he insists we must con­tin­ue to pros­e­cute wars. KOHN: By fram­ing the ter­ror­ist threat itself as a war, we tend to look upon our nation­al secu­ri­ty from a much more mil­i­tary per­spec­tive. BACEVICH: We don’t get Social Secu­ri­ty reform, we don’t get immi­gra­tion reform. The role of the pres­i­dent increas­ing­ly comes to be defined by his mil­i­tary func­tion. KOHN: And so our for­eign pol­i­cy becomes mil­i­ta­rized. We neglect our diplo­ma­cy, de-empha­size allies.” (Idem.)

18. In addi­tion, the pan­elists see the civil­ian sector’s high regard for the mil­i­tary actu­al­ly accen­tu­at­ing the military’s role in soci­ety. “DUNLAP: Well, with­out com­ment­ing on this par­tic­u­lar subject—KOHN: You shouldn’t. [Laughs] DUNLAP: —is this not some­thing that is decid­ed at the bal­lot box? I mean, aren’t these the kinds of issues that the Amer­i­can peo­ple decide when they elect a pres­i­dent? KOHN: But you imply by that state­ment, Char­lie, that the bal­lot box exists as a kind of pris­tine, uncon­tex­tu­al­ized Athen­ian gath­er­ing at the square to vote. In fact, the bal­lot box in this coun­try is the prod­uct of how things are framed by the polit­i­cal par­ties, by the polit­i­cal lead­ers. Also, very few of our con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts now are real­ly con­test­ed, after ger­ry­man­der­ing. Very few of our Sen­ate seats are real con­tests. LUTTWAK: It becomes about per­son­al­i­ties: you ask an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen to choose between Lau­ra Bush and Tere­sa Heinz Ker­ry, and they choose Lau­ra Bush. But it doesn’t mean that they favor the mis­use of the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary to try and change the polit­i­cal cul­ture of Afghanistan. This is madness—and it is bipar­ti­san mad­ness. BACEVICH: That’s a key point. LUTTWAK: Bipar­ti­san mad­ness. This is not even mil­i­tarism. Mil­i­tarism had to do with emi­nent pro­fes­sors of Greek des­per­ate to become reserve offi­cers so they could be invit­ed to the mil­i­tary ball. That’s mil­i­tarism. This is an intox­i­ca­tion about what the actu­al capa­bil­i­ties of any mil­i­tary force could be.” (Ibid.; pp. 47–48.)

19. Again, the pan­elists feel that the military’s capa­bil­i­ty for using polit­i­cal influ­ence to real­ize its goals is sig­nif­i­cant. “DUNLAP: This intox­i­ca­tion with the military’s capa­bil­i­ties cer­tain­ly isn’t com­ing from the uni­formed mil­i­tary offi­cers. BACEVICH: Except inso­far as they are involved in the play­ing of pol­i­tics, in con­stant­ly press­ing for more resources. Mean­while, we’ve under­fund­ed the State Depart­ment for twen­ty-five years. LUTTWAK: I once was privy to a peace nego­ti­a­tion con­duct­ed in the cor­ri­dors of the State Depart­ment. The State Depart­ment lit­er­al­ly had no funds to give lunch to the par­tic­i­pants, a fact that both sides com­plained bit­ter­ly about. DUNLAP: Well, I don’t think it’s any­thing new that the State Depart­ment is under­fund­ed. The State Depart­ment has no bases in any state, so it does not have a con­stituen­cy. But in terms of the expen­di­ture of resources in the Depart­ment of Defense, that is very much con­trolled by civil­ians and not mil­i­tary com­man­ders. LUTTWAK: But it is still the mil­i­tary that has the resources. BACEVICH: And so over time—because this has hap­pened over time—you cre­ate a bias for mil­i­tary action. Which agency of gov­ern­ment has the capac­i­ty to act? Well, the Depart­ment of Defense does. And that bias gets con­tin­u­al­ly rein­forced, and helps to cre­ate a cir­cum­stance in which any pres­i­dent who wants to appear effec­tive, and there­fore to win reelec­tion, sees that the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do so is by act­ing in the mil­i­tary sphere.” (Ibid.; p. 48.)

20. An over­looked fac­tor is the all-vol­un­teer military’s demo­graph­ic bias, and how that affects the military’s influ­ence in soci­ety. “WASIK: I want to address the ques­tion of par­ti­san­ship in the mil­i­tary. Inso­far as there is a ‘cul­ture war’ in Amer­i­ca, every­one seems to agree that the armed forces fight on the Repub­li­can side. And this is borne out in polls: self-described Repub­li­cans out­num­ber Democ­rats in the mil­i­tary by more than four to one, and only 7 per­cent of sol­diers describe them­selves as ‘lib­er­al.’ KOHN: It has become part of the infor­mal cul­ture of the mil­i­tary to be Repub­li­can. You see this at the mil­i­tary acad­e­mies. They pick it up in the cul­ture, in the train­ing estab­lish­ments. DUNLAP: The mil­i­tary is an inher­ent­ly con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tion, and this is true of all mil­i­taries around the world. Also the demo­graph­ics have changed: peo­ple in the South who were Demo­c­ra­t­ic twen­ty years ago have become Repub­li­can today. BACEVICH: Yes, all mil­i­taries are con­ser­v­a­tive. But since 1980 our mil­i­tary has become con­ser­v­a­tive in a more explic­it­ly ide­o­log­i­cal sense. And that alle­giance has been returned in spades by the con­ser­v­a­tive side in the cul­ture war, which sees sol­diers as vir­tu­ous rep­re­sen­ta­tives of how the coun­try ought to be.” (Idem.)

21. “KOHN: And mean­while there is a streak of anti-mil­i­tarism on the left. BACEVICH: It’s not that peo­ple on the left dis­dain the mil­i­tary but rather that they are just agnos­tic about it. They don’t iden­ti­fy with sol­diers or sol­dier­ing. LUTTWAK: And their chil­dren have less of a propen­si­ty to serve in the mil­i­tary. Par­ents who describe them­selves as lib­er­al are less like­ly to make pos­i­tive nois­es to their chil­dren about the armed forces. DUNLAP: Which brings up a cru­cial point. Let’s accept as a fact that the U.S. mil­i­tary has become more overt­ly ide­o­log­i­cal since 1980. What has hap­pened since 1980? Rough­ly, that was the begin­ning of the all-vol­un­teer force. What we are see­ing right now is the result of twen­ty-five years of an all-vol­un­teer force, in which peo­ple have self-select­ed into the orga­ni­za­tion. BACEVICH: But the mil­i­tary is also recruit­ed. And it doesn’t seem to me that the mil­i­tary has much inter­est in whether or not the force is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Amer­i­can soci­ety.” (Idem.)

22. Because of the demo­graph­ics of mil­i­tary recruit­ment, the mil­i­tary is more con­ser­v­a­tive than soci­ety as a whole, some­thing the pan­elists feel is cre­at­ing a grow­ing dis­par­i­ty between the civil­ian and mil­i­tary seg­ments of our coun­try. “KOHN: I don’t think that’s true. BACEVICH: Where do you think recruit­ing com­mand is focused right now? It’s focused on those evan­gel­i­cals, it’s on the rur­al South. We are rein­forc­ing the lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tive­ness in the mil­i­tary because of the con­cen­trat­ed recruit­ing efforts among groups pre­dis­posed to serve. DUNLAP: They are so focused on get­ting qual­i­fied peo­ple. The mil­i­tary is going to the Supreme Court so that it can recruit on cam­pus­es where cur­rent­ly we’re not able to. KOHN: That’s just law schools. DUNLAP: But it has impli­ca­tions across the armed forces. BACEVICH: The recruiters go for the rich turf, which is where the evan­gel­i­cals are. You have to work a hell of a lot hard­er to recruit peo­ple from New­ton and Welles­ley, Mass­a­chu­setts. KOHN: Or any­where in the well-to-do or even mid­dle-class sub­urbs. BACEVICH: In an eco­nom­ic sense, the ser­vices are behav­ing quite ratio­nal­ly. But in doing so they per­pet­u­ate the fact that we have a mil­i­tary that in no way ‘looks like’ Amer­i­can soci­ety.” (Ibid.; p. 49.)

23. “DUNLAP: The oth­er part of the prob­lem is the behav­ior of the politi­cians. They real­ize the affec­tion that Amer­i­can peo­ple have for peo­ple in uni­form. BACEVICH: And so they land on air­craft car­ri­ers to prance around in the flight suit of a fight­er jock. Both par­ties now see the mil­i­tary vote as being a part of pol­i­tics, as a con­stituen­cy. It’s a con­stituen­cy that the Repub­li­cans think they own and intend to con­tin­ue to own. It’s a con­stituen­cy that the Democ­rats want to pry away. KOHN: And par­ti­san­ship in the mil­i­tary over­all, i.e., the per­cent­age of the mil­i­tary that iden­ti­fies with a par­ty as opposed to being ‘inde­pen­dent’ or non-affil­i­at­ed, is much greater over­all. Not only are mil­i­tary offi­cers more par­ti­san than the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion; they’re more par­ti­san than, say, busi­ness lead­ers and oth­er elite groups. I’ve tracked the num­bers of retired four-star gen­er­als and admi­rals endors­ing a can­di­date in pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns, and it’s vast­ly up in the last two elec­tions. BACEVICH: Remem­ber at the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, where Gen­er­al Clau­dia Kennedy intro­duced Gen­er­al John Sha­likashvili to address the del­e­gates? Why were they up there? There was only one rea­son: to try to match the parade of retired senior offi­cers that the Repub­li­cans have long been trot­ting out on polit­i­cal occa­sions. KOHN: But is that to get mil­i­tary votes? Or just to con­nect with the Amer­i­can peo­ple on nation­al secu­ri­ty and patri­o­tism? BACEVICH: It’s both. In 2000, the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee put ads in the Army Times and oth­er ser­vice mag­a­zines attack­ing the Clinton/Gore record. To me that was, quite frankly, con­temptible. WASIK: It seems as if the two are relat­ed: if it’s report­ed that you have the sup­port of the military—as was the case before the 2004 elec­tion, when news­pa­pers not­ed that Ker­ry had less than 20 per­cent sup­port with­in the military—then you get a halo effect among the rest of the vot­ers. Does the par­ti­san­ship of our mil­i­tary present a dan­ger to the nation? KOHN: One of the great pil­lars in our his­to­ry that has pre­vent­ed mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in pol­i­tics has been the military’s non­par­ti­san atti­tude. That’s why Gen­er­al George Marshall’s gen­er­a­tion of offi­cers essen­tial­ly declined to vote at all, as did gen­er­a­tions before them. In fact, for the first time in over a cen­tu­ry we now have an offi­cer corps that does iden­ti­fy over­whelm­ing­ly with one polit­i­cal par­ty. And that is cor­ro­sive.” (Idem.)

24. Dur­ing the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion, the military/civilian rift pro­duced sev­er­al instances of con­flict between the two parts of soci­ety. “KOHN: Con­sid­er this glar­ing exam­ple of polit­i­cal manip­u­la­tion by the mil­i­tary: After every oth­er Amer­i­can war before the Cold War, the coun­try demo­bi­lized its wartime mil­i­tary estab­lish­ment. Even dur­ing the Cold War, when we kept a large stand­ing mil­i­tary, we expand­ed and con­tract­ed it for shoot­ing wars. But in 1990 and 1991, the military—through Gen­er­al Col­in Pow­ell, who was head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time—intervened and effec­tive­ly pre­vent­ed a demo­bi­liza­tion. BACEVICH: More accu­rate­ly, I’d say that he pre­vent­ed any dis­cus­sion of a demo­bi­liza­tion. KOHN: That’s right. DUNLAP: We did have a reduc­tion in the size of the mil­i­tary. There were cuts of around 9 per­cent, in both dol­lars and man­pow­er. KOHN: But it was noth­ing com­pared to the end of great Amer­i­can wars pri­or to that. BACEVICH: Pow­ell is explic­it on this in his mem­oirs. ‘I was deter­mined to have the Joint Chiefs dri­ve the mil­i­tary strat­e­gy train,’ he wrote. He was not going to have ‘mil­i­tary reor­ga­ni­za­tion schemes shoved down our throat.’ KOHN: This was not a coup, but it was very clear­ly a cir­cum­ven­tion of civil­ian polit­i­cal author­i­ty. BACEVICH: Let us also con­sid­er the clas­sic case of gays in the mil­i­tary. Bill Clin­ton ran for the pres­i­den­cy say­ing he would issue an exec­u­tive order that did for gays what Har­ry Tru­man did for African Amer­i­cans. He wins the elec­tion. When he tries to do pre­cise­ly what he said he would do, it trig­gers a firestorm of oppo­si­tion in the mil­i­tary. This was not the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff mere­ly say­ing, in pri­vate, ‘Mr. Pres­i­dent, I would like to give you my pro­fes­sion­al opin­ion.’ KOHN: It was the most open revolt the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary as a whole has ever engaged in. LUTTWAK: Ever? KOHN: Open revolt, yes.” (Ibid.; pp. 49–50.)

25. Falling well out­side of the accept­ed guide­lines of civil­ian-mil­i­tary dia­logue was the vir­u­lent crit­i­cism of the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion over its deci­sion to allow gays to serve open­ly in the mil­i­tary. “BACEVICH: Now, Clinton’s actions were ill-advised, to put it mild­ly. But what we got was some­thing like rebel­lion. Two Marines pub­lished an op-ed in the Wash­ing­ton Post, warn­ing the Joint Chiefs that if they failed to stop this pol­i­cy from being imple­ment­ed, they were like­ly to lose the loy­al­ty of junior offi­cers. I mean, holy smokes. DUNLAP: Which brings up the issue: How trans­par­ent should the uni­formed side of the armed forces be about their opin­ions? I will tell you, it is very dif­fi­cult for serv­ing offi­cers to fig­ure out exact­ly where the line is. There are points where they feel that their mil­i­tary val­ues require them to speak out. KOHN: I’m not sym­pa­thet­ic. As pro­fes­sion­al mil­i­tary offi­cers, they are called upon to make far more dif­fi­cult deci­sions in far more ambigu­ous and dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. The civ­il-mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship is one of the most impor­tant parts of their pro­fes­sion, and if they are not edu­cat­ed and pre­pared enough to make the prop­er judg­ments, then they don’t belong in high-rank­ing posi­tions.” (Ibid.; p. 50.)

26. The pan­elists fur­ther high­light the con­tentious debate between the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion and the mil­i­tary over the issue of gays serv­ing in the mil­i­tary. “LUTTWAK: It seems as though we should take into account the views of the armed forces in regard to mil­i­tary ques­tions and noth­ing more. The mil­i­tary is like a sur­geon. If you go to a hospital—even if you own the hospital—you will defer to the sur­geon if he tells you that you need your appen­dix out rather than your leg cut off. But if the sur­geon starts talk­ing about reli­gion or pol­i­tics or homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, you wouldn’t defer to him at all. KOHN: But with gays in the mil­i­tary, the offi­cers framed it in mil­i­tary terms. They said that revok­ing the ban would destroy the good order and dis­ci­pline of the armed forces. LUTTWAK: In the show­ers. KOHN: Exact­ly. In ret­ro­spect, it was a fool­ish argument—but that was how they framed it, in mil­i­tary terms. LUTTWAK: So how should it have been done dif­fer­ent­ly? Pres­i­dent Clin­ton comes in and wants to allow homo­sex­u­als to serve in the mil­i­tary. Do sol­diers have the right to express them­selves on this? KOHN: Not pub­licly. DUNLAP: By law, you can con­tact your con­gress­man. LUTTWAK: Right. DUNLAP: That may be the answer. The answer may be you can just do it on an indi­vid­ual basis. KOHN: On a pri­vate basis.” (Idem.)

27. More about pub­lic dis­agree­ments between civil­ian and mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment offi­cials: “LUTTWAK: But let’s con­sid­er a more recent exam­ple. One day Gen­er­al Eric Shin­se­ki, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, hap­pened to be tes­ti­fy­ing on Capi­tol Hill. Some­body asked him about a pos­si­ble inva­sion of Iraq, and Gen­er­al Shinseki—reflecting what, as I under­stand it, was the view of any­one who had ever looked at that coun­try and count­ed its population—said that it would take sev­er­al hun­dred thou­sand troops to con­trol Iraq. Where­upon Shin­se­ki was pub­licly con­tra­dict­ed by his civil­ian supe­ri­ors, who ridiculed his pro­fes­sion­al opin­ion. DUNLAP: Right. Dick, do you con­sid­er that to have been appro­pri­ate feed­back for him? KOHN: No, Shin­se­ki behaved appro­pri­ate­ly. In con­tra­dict­ing and dis­parag­ing him, the civil­ians sig­naled to the mil­i­tary that they did not want can­dor even when it is required, which is in front of Con­gress. DUNLAP: There are two oth­er inter­est­ing exam­ples with Gen­er­al Pace, our cur­rent chair­man. One was when he dif­fered with Defense Sec­re­tary Rums­feld about what a mil­i­tary per­son should do if he or she is present when there’s an abuse dur­ing an inter­ro­ga­tion process. Pace insist­ed that the mil­i­tary had the oblig­a­tion to intervene—which I think is the right answer. KOHN: But after­ward he fudged it and claimed that there was no dis­agree­ment with the sec­re­tary. DUNLAP: Be that as it may, I think it was the right answer. The sec­ond and, I think, more dif­fi­cult sce­nario was when Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jack Murtha said that he wouldn’t join the armed forces today, nor would he expect oth­ers to do so. Gen­er­al Pace pub­licly crit­i­cized Murtha’s remarks. Here was anoth­er instance in which the senior rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the uni­formed mil­i­tary spoke out in what was arguably a polit­i­cal con­text against civil­ian lead­er­ship. But in this case again, I thought it was appro­pri­ate.” (Idem.)

28. The pan­elists con­clude by not­ing that the polit­i­cal influ­ence of the mil­i­tary gives it con­sid­er­able con­trol over the course of civic events in this coun­try. “WASIK: So it seems clear that whether we like it or not, the mil­i­tary has learned how to use the polit­i­cal sys­tem to pro­tect its inter­ests and also to uphold what it sees as its val­ues. Think­ing over the long term, are there any dan­gers inher­ent in this? KOHN: Well, at this point the mil­i­tary has a long tra­di­tion of get­ting what it wants. If we ever attempt­ed to tru­ly demobilize—i.e., if the mil­i­tary were sud­den­ly, rad­i­cal­ly cut back—it could lead if not to a coup then to very severe civ­il-mil­i­tary ten­sion. BACEVICH: Because the polit­i­cal game would no longer be prej­u­diced in the military’s favor. KOHN: That’s right. BACEVICH: But there is a more sub­tle dan­ger too. The civil­ian lead­er­ship knows that in deal­ing with the mil­i­tary, they are deal­ing with an insti­tu­tion whose behav­ior is not pure­ly defined by adher­ence to the mil­i­tary pro­fes­sion­al eth­ic, dis­in­ter­est­ed ser­vice, civil­ian sub­or­di­na­tion. Instead, the politi­cians know that they’re deal­ing with an insti­tu­tion that to some degree has its own agen­da. And if you’re deal­ing with some­body who has his own agen­da, well, you can bar­gain, you can trade. That cre­ates a small opening—again, not to a coup but to the mil­i­tary mak­ing deals with politi­cians whose pur­pos­es may not be con­sis­tent with the Con­sti­tu­tion.” (Idem.)

29. An indi­ca­tion of the eco­nom­ic dis­tress afflict­ing this coun­try is the fact that a num­ber of states are leas­ing road­ways to for­eign com­pa­nies in an attempt to gen­er­ate rev­enue. One pos­si­bil­i­ty for a dec­la­ra­tion of mar­tial law might be the social chaos that would fol­low an eco­nom­ic col­lapse in the Unit­ed States. “Its offi­cial state mot­to is ‘the cross­roads of Amer­i­ca.’ Yet Indi­ana is about to turn over its entire toll road for the next 75 years to two for­eign com­pa­nies, mak­ing it more expen­sive to dri­ve. The deci­sion to hand the Indi­ana Toll Road to an Aus­tralian and Span­ish team for $3.8 bil­lion at the end of this month has blown up into one of the biggest brawls here in a gen­er­a­tion. It has unset­tled the state’s pol­i­tics in the months before the Novem­ber elec­tions, pit­ting a gov­er­nor who was Pres­i­dent Bush’s first bud­get direc­tor against the peo­ple of north­ern Indi­ana, which the high­way pass­es through. The deci­sion also places Indi­ana at the lead­ing edge of a nascent trend in which states and local gov­ern­ments are explor­ing the idea of pri­va­tiz­ing parts of the Unit­ed States’ prized inter­state high­way sys­tem. The idea goes beyond projects, such as North­ern Vir­gini­a’s Dulles Green­way, in which states have turned to pri­vate com­pa­nies to build or widen toll roads. Now, they are con­sid­er­ing sell­ing or leas­ing some of the best-known and most-trav­eled routes across Amer­i­ca. . . .”
(“Strapped States Try New Route, Lease Toll Roads to For­eign Firms” by Amy Gold­stein; Wash­ing­ton Post; 6/14, 2006; P. A01.)

30. The broad­cast con­cludes with a book review of a vol­ume about an attempt by Puer­to Rican nation­al­ists on the life of Pres­i­dent Har­ry Tru­man. Although the inci­dent has been bleached of its polit­i­cal over­tones over the years, it is sig­nif­i­cant that doc­tri­naire fas­cists per­formed the attempt­ed assassination—which might well have suc­ceed­ed. One should note that in this time peri­od, the GOP and ele­ments of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty were active­ly import­ing fas­cist vet­er­ans of World War II in order to incor­po­rate them into the Repub­li­can Par­ty. This was specif­i­cal­ly in an attempt to neu­tral­ize the polit­i­cal influ­ence of Pres­i­dent Tru­man. (For more about this oper­a­tion, which result­ed in the for­ma­tion of a per­ma­nent Nazi/fascist branch of the GOP, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#465.) “Forty-two years lat­er, Amer­i­cans remain trans­fixed by the assas­si­na­tion of John F. Kennedy, an event that has spawned a cot­tage indus­try of arti­cles, books, movies and film doc­u­men­taries. Killers who rob a nation of a pop­u­lar pres­i­dent leave names remem­bered in infamy. Their suc­cess gen­er­ates a thou­sand expla­na­tions. Fail­ure, on the oth­er hand, is an orphan. In Amer­i­can Gun­fight, Stephen Hunter, a nov­el­ist and film crit­ic, and John Bain­bridge, Jr., an attor­ney and legal jour­nal­ist, exam­ine the near­ly for­got­ten attempt of two Puer­to Rican Nation­al Par­ty adher­ents, Grise­lio Tor­reso­la and Oscar Col­la­zo, to kill Pres­i­dent Har­ry Tru­man in Novem­ber 1950. Tru­man was tem­porar­i­ly liv­ing in Blair House at the time. Tor­reso­la and Col­la­zo, guns blaz­ing, attempt­ed to storm the res­i­dence but nev­er made it inside. The episode occurred two days after the Nation­al Par­ty had attempt­ed to assas­si­nate Puer­to Rican Gov. Luis Munoz Marin and seize con­trol of Puer­to Rico. In some way, Tor­reso­la and Col­la­zo imag­ined, Truman’s death would fur­ther the cause of Puer­to Rican inde­pen­dence. . . .”
(‘Ter­ror­ists in Wash­ing­ton’ by Stephen Hunter and John Bain­bridge Jr.; Wall Street Jour­nal; 11/8/2005; p. D8.)

31. The would-be assas­sins were mem­bers of a Puer­to Rican fas­cist par­ty. It is worth not­ing that Puer­to Rico was among those areas in the Span­ish-speak­ing world that were focal points of fas­cist activism of the Falange, based in Spain and backed by the Nazis. Is it pos­si­ble that the assas­sins were act­ing as part of a wider fas­cist milieu, per­haps direct­ed by the Under­ground Reich? (Read about the Falange  “. . . The Nation­al Par­ty was a fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion with lit­tle pop­u­lar sup­port, led by a would-be Mus­soli­ni, sup­port­ed by a black-shirt­ed mili­tia. In Amer­i­can Gun­fight, its oper­a­tives are giv­en human iden­ti­ties; by con­trast, Gov. Munoz Marin, a wide­ly esteemed lib­er­al whose pro­grams improved the lives of Puer­to Ricans, is giv­en lit­tle sub­stance. . . .” (Idem.)


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