Mutiny Above the Ranks?December 15th, 2007

If you want to know what a military coup d’etat would look like in the USA, heed the news, because we may be in one. The moves have been subtle (as compared with government overthrow efforts in other times and other places), with the mutineers operating below the radar, such as it is, of the embedded mass media. 

The mutineers’ first public moves came early in our ill-fated military adventures, as high-ranking members of the military’s general staff defied Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld by announcing that their plans for conquest could not be successfully executed with the forces available. These men were replaced in command by sycophants, whose political tactics have since all but destroyed the army as a credible fighting force.

Left behind were many responsible officers, who seemed to see their principal duty as the protection of men and equipment from the army command and the racketeers who now control it. It’s possible to discern in the scant information we get from “the field” that there’s been a largely subversive effort to keep the soldiers out of harm’s way as much as possible, and that this has been a source of frustration to the civilian command. It’s clear that if these field officers commanded their men to fight as soldiers customarily fight and take the risks that soldiers used to take, the losses would be much higher.

It was military people and former military people who informed the American people that prisoners were being tortured. Until photos taken by soldiers appeared for all to see, Americans didn’t know that their government was torturing captives, sometimes to death. CBS didn’t reveal it. Congress didn’t reveal it. The FBI didn’t reveal it. Soldiers and veterans did, and they acted in defiance of the high command.

And it was military families, veterans, and active duty personnel that energized the movement that rose in protest of government war policy. Gold Star Families for Peace, Courage to Resist, Veterans for Peace, and dozens of other local groups and individuals put down their flags and rifles to march with signs and posters, and they changed the movement and gave it strength, in militant defiance of government.

We don’t know which military people may have done it, but somebody stopped a nuclear-bomb-laden aircraft on the runway in Louisiana a couple of months ago. Nobody will say why the plane was rigged for nuclear war, but speculation is that it was headed for Iran, and some anonymous Air Force brass chocked the wheels and alerted the media.

Then there’s the NIE, the National Intelligence Estimate, culled from diverse military and civilian intelligence, whose findings—that Iran is no threat to the USA—were released to the public a few weeks ago. Somebody took a big risk letting that out, and it was a move that directly challenges the Pentagon and the White House. It was mutinous, and my chief suspects all wear a uniform to work.

And now there are the torture tapes. Somebody, we don’t know who, told the media that tapes were made by the CIA of the interrogations of two Arab prisoners in connection with the events of 9/11/2001, and that the tapes were destroyed in 2005, after a federal court ruled in a lawsuit that they were subject to discovery. Whatever is on those tapes transpired in front of people who still walk among us. They know who they are, and so, probably, do the people who blabbed about them. Somebody, maybe a general or admiral, maybe a committee of generals and admirals, opened a can of worms in the Oval Office, and the consequences could be harsh for the man at the desk.

It’s certain that these moves will hasten the end of our engagement in Iraq, and that may be the mutineers’ sole objective, but if they are engaged in a clandestine military coup d’etat, and it brings down this corrupt government, it will be the slickest operation since the Great Escape.