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Monday, October 23, 2017

The retired lieutenant general discharged himself dishonorably

The making of a three-star liar

As a general  [pun alert!] rule, I am not impressed with people who hold the top military ranks.  That is largely because of what I learned about them in the Army.  At the time, the Commander in Chief was Dwight Eisenhower,  and many of the cadre in the unit  i was in were veterans of World War II and Korea.  They generally held Eisenhower in high regard.  There were other generals that they spoke of with great respect.  They had doubts about some others, like Patton.  And they regarded many as useless.  A man who held most of the highest decorations for service, made it to the rank of sergeant major, eventually was busted down to corporal because of alcoholism, summed up the attitude of experienced soldiers:  a few generals earn their rank because they are smart, know what they are doing,  and work hard,  but most of them get there because they suck hard.

When Trump larded his cabinet with CEOs and generals,  the uninitiated into the ways of business and the military thought he was appointing people who could get things done.  
What he was doing was choosing people who could put on the trappings of authority and do what they are told.  As we are reminded, when Harry Truman fired General MacArthur, Generals are not to go off on their own and dispute the policies of the Commander in Chief.  On the other hand,  the president needs men who insist upon hard facts and competently assessed intelligence to advise him while he is formulating policy,  and who can then competently carry them out.  Generals do not have to be servile lackeys to their commander-in-chief, but Trump's generals seem adept at playing that role.

Trump's current disinformation team makes Baghdad Bob look like a boy scout.

When Gen. Kelly appeared at the White House daily briefing to defend Trump's telephone call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson,  he used two tactics that has become standard procedure in the White House with Trump.
1.  He made a personal attack to discredit and defame Rep.
Fredrica Wilson, who reported on the tenor of Trump's call to the press.
2.  He out-and-out lied about a speech Rep. Wilson made during the dedication of an FBI building in 2010.

In his presentation, Gen. Kelly's ploy was terribly dishonest and stupid.  It did not take long for  the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper to come up with video of Rep. Wilson's speech which proved Gen. Kelly to be a liar.  His lie, furthermore, was told with malicious intent, meeting the definition of deliberate libel.  

It did not take long for the fact-checkers to detail the extent of Kelly's libel.  
When the chief of staff of a U.S. president uses a news conference to publicly lie to the American people, the occasion marks how far a country that was once regarded as the leader of democratic virtues has sunk into the dystopian state that Orwell envisioned in 1984.

Kelly's act of character assassination is a rejection of the basic ideals for which America once stood.  And he has brought the country down to a level that it is no longer a place to which one wants to pledge allegiance.   Unless, of course, the resistance rises up and restores the integrity of America.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States