Just before last November’s presidential election, two former Army officers wrote an open letter to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a man called Mark Milley. The letter was published on a left-wing blog called “Defense One.” Within minutes it was all over the Internet. The authors of the letter had a direct order for Mark Milley, who strictly speaking did not report to them.
“If Donald Trump refuses to leave office,” the letter began, “the United States military must remove him by force, and you must give that order.” You must remove the president by force.
That was a little shocking. What country is this? Even the usual power-mad partisans in the national news media began to wonder if that was a good idea. Slate.com, of all places, reminded its readers that, no matter how orange Donald Trump might be, military coups generally turn out to be unwise.
The Pentagon had to go on the record against it too. The rest of us could keep civilian control of our government. What a relief. Within days, the story receded, another weird footnote to a weird