Greenwald calls retired generals’ ‘borderline-fascist’ op-ed ‘more dangerous than 1/6’

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Calling it a “borderline-fascist op-ed,” Glenn Greenwald sounded the warning about three former generals essentially calling for a purge of the U.S. military to head off a potential coup and civil war in 2024, which they claim would be lead by either former President Donald Trump or some “Trumpian figure” who refuse to accept a Democrat win.

Greenwald, a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author, characterized the actions by the former military leaders as “vastly more dangerous and anti-democratic than 1/6 itself.”

The op-ed cited the alleged Jan 6 “insurrection” to caution that extremist elements among the troops “might” take up arms against their own country — according to the Pentagon, “fewer than 100 military members are known to have been involved in substantiated cases of extremist activity in the past year.” For a little perspective, there was more than 2.3 million active and reserve U.S. military force personnel in 2020, according to Statista.

Taking to Twitter, Greenwald tweeted, “This WPost op-ed by ‘3 retired Generals’ – calling for the US military to turn its planning against the citizenry on domestic soil in the name of stopping ‘insurrection’ and ‘misinformation’ – is vastly more dangerous and anti-democratic than 1/6 itself.”

In a follow up, he added, “Remember: **before 1/6**, the ‘US intelligence community’ was claiming the greatest threat to the US Homeland is ‘domestic extremism.’ It’s long been clear that this ‘Insurrection’ narrative is so vital because it justifies any domestic powers in the name of stopping it.”

The sweeping actions of the federal government following the U.S. Capitol protest on Jan. 6 is a testament to the “domestic powers” being exercised against U.S. citizens in the name of a so-called insurrection. With the FBI fully committed to the task, more than 700 people have been arrested, with many still be held in DC jails after being refused bail. There have been multiple complaints of abusive treatment by those jailed, with many being held in solitary confinement for long periods of time.

In linking to a CNN report on the generals so readers can get around the Wa-Po paywall, Greenwald was clear about his take on their editorial:

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Paul D. Eaton, retired U.S. Army Major Gen. Antonio M. Taguba and retired U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Steven M. Anderson, penned the conspiracy theory laden piece published by The Washington Post warning that should Democrats win the 2024 election, Republicans may install a shadow government.

They cite “the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” to claim that “more than 1 in 10 of those charged in the attacks had a service record,” before suggesting some troops may side with “the Trumpian loser.”

“All service members take an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution,” they state. “But in a contested election, with loyalties split, some might follow orders from the rightful commander in chief, while others might follow the Trumpian loser. Arms might not be secured depending on who was overseeing them. Under such a scenario, it is not outlandish to say a military breakdown could lead to civil war.”

The Pentagon “must reinforce unity of command to make perfectly clear to every member of the Defense Department whom they answer to. No service member should say they didn’t understand whom to take orders from during a worst-case scenario,” the generals write, adding that military leaders must also “identify, isolate and remove potential mutineers.”

And while the disturbing editorial could be dismissed as just the opinions of three retired generals, the Pentagon under Biden is rolling out “detailed new rules” prohibiting service members from engaging in extremist activities as the nation nears the one year anniversary of Capitol protest, justifying the review of guidelines because some current service members and veterans took part in the rioting that day.

The new rules are designed to ensure troops are clear on what they can and can’t do, while still protecting their 1st Amendment free speech rights, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The article, which cites white supremacists among other extremists, said the military is being “far more specific about social media.”

“The new policy lays out in detail the banned activities, which include advocating terrorism, supporting the overthrow of the government, fundraising or rallying on behalf of an extremist group, or “liking” or reposting extremist views on social media,” the Times reported. “The rules also specify that commanders must determine two things in order for someone to be held accountable: that the action was an extremist activity, as defined in the rules, and that the service member ‘actively participated’ in that prohibited activity.”

“The overwhelming majority of the men and women of the Department of Defense serve this country with honor and integrity,” Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said in a memo to the department on Monday. “They respect the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

“We believe only a very few violate this oath by participating in extremist activities,” he added, “but even the actions of a few can have an outsized impact on unit cohesion, morale and readiness, and the physical harm some of these activities can engender can undermine the safety of our people.”

Here’s a quick sampling of reactions to the story from Twitter:

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