Will Republicans Have To Be Discharged From Military Service?

Bucks County military veteran Steve Nolan worries about the dangerous effects Trump and Trumpism has had on soldiers, sailors, airmen/airwomen, and marines.
trump military
President Trump addresses service members and their families stationed on the Korean Peninsula during an event for the troops at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, June 30, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa via

Both my parents served in WWII, both my brothers in Vietnam, and I served in Afghanistan. We all witnessed tremendous sacrifices for our country, including the ultimate sacrifice. We are a family of Democrats and Republicans. We all took the same oath to defend this nation against all enemies foreign and domestic. We put our lives on the line in foreign lands, but never imagined domestic enemies to our constitution emerging despite Abraham Lincoln’s warning. 

Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican Party and its leading candidate for the 2024 presidential election. He believes that a free press is the enemy, that sexual assault of women in the military is due to the Pentagon putting men and women together, that proven U.S. intelligence is a hoax, that Vladimir Putin is a stronger leader than our previous Commander in Chief, that we should kill family members of terrorists, and that the Geneva Conventions tie the hands of our military. These beliefs and public statements are disqualifiers from military service. For the first time in American history we had someone in charge of the military who was unfit to hold the lowest rank within the military.

President Trump fomented an insurrection to overthrow the results of a presidential election so that he could remain in power. He continues to hold rallies spreading the lie that Joe Biden stole an election and is not our legitimate Commander in Chief. We have never had a former commander telling our troops that their current commander is illegitimate. The destructive power of that message is enormous but nothing new. The former president called Neo-Nazis, marching in Charlottesville, chanting “Jews will not replace us,” very fine people. White supremacy is a disqualification from military service – if a service member believes they are superior to other Americans they betray their oath of enlistment and if any service member believes that their current Commander in Chief stole an election they could hardly be loyal and likely to spread disloyalty. 

Three Republican members of Congress, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and Mitt Romney, are currently living up to their oath of office – the same oath that every young recruit takes when they enlist. At his rallies, Donald Trump calls Democrats “evil, mentally violent, animals and unfit to govern.” How is a Republican soldier, sailor, airman/airwoman or marine to view their Democrat brothers and sisters in arms, not to mention millions of citizens? No president has ever called half our citizens and a third of the military, animals or evil; and declaring a free press the enemy, the opposition political party unfit, is declaring dictatorship.

Donald Trump adores dictators. He told us that he and the human rights monster Kim Jong-un “fell in love” with. He praises a Saudi prince who had a journalist murdered and dismembered with a bone saw. He just called Vladimir Putin, the butcher of Syria and Ukraine, a “genius” and a “peacekeeper.” He pardoned a convicted war criminal and invited him to Mar-a-Lago where he praised him as a great warrior. His words and actions are in opposition to military law (the UCMJ).

We have never in U.S. history required our joint chiefs, men of honor whose careers would be over if they were involved in any illegality, to work for a commander without integrity, who was fined two million dollars for a fraudulent charity and twenty five million for a fraudulent university. Our entire military is structured on lead-by-example; but Donald Trump’s personal immorality pales in comparison to Helsinki and January 6. We have never had a president lie to the American people about proven U.S. intelligence concerning an enemy attack on our country; and since all three federal investigations proved that the goal of Putin’s cyber warfare was to divide the American people and make us lose faith in the electoral process, January 6th and promoting the “Big Steal” is nothing short of aiding and abetting our enemy’s strategic objectives. 

Three Republican members of Congress know that Donald Trump is unfit for office and publicly say so. If Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy continue to abdicate their oath of office, they are contributing to the destruction of the esprit de corps of the Armed Services and they are setting up young recruits for discharge from military service for disloyalty to the Constitution and/or the leadership they have sworn to defend.

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Steve Nolan

Steve Nolan spent 30 years in the military and 25 years as a mental health professional. He has published in numerous journals and his poetry was featured on National Public Radio, Morning Edition, upon his return from Afghanistan in 2007. He is the author of “Go Deep,” “Base Camp,” and “American Carnage, An Officer’s Duty to Warn.” His work reflects his commitment to social justice.

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