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Why America's military leaders felt they had to take a stand

January 13, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.7%. 1 min read.

President Donald Trump finally did it. His incitement of a deadly riot at the Capitol in Washington ultimately dragged America's most senior military leaders, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, into an unprecedented political crisis. Throughout his presidency, the four-star top brass have been adamant that the Pentagon wouldn't get involved in politics -- even as Trump repeatedly tried to bring it into his partisan orbit.

But after the shocking violence at the Capitol last week and the images of insurrection were shown around the world, the chiefs felt they had to speak, especially to get their message to American troops.

And they knew that this memo would put them at odds with Trump days before he left office as commander in chief.

The chiefs and combat commanders around the world have given thought to what they'd do if Trump issued an illegal order, and the answer is simple: They would not follow it, according to several Pentagon officials directly familiar with their thinking.

But in this charged environment, nobody will openly talk about how the chiefs would turn down an illegal order in the still unlikely event Trump were to issue one.

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