FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Hour is Late —Speak Out, Stand Tall Ex-Officials

As a failed businessman, saved by business bankruptcies which he called a “competitive advantage,” Donald Trump believed in chaos as a strategy. Unfortunately, chaos and foreign policy don’t mix.  Chaos may bring war. And tragically, military aggression can explosively boomerang back to the U.S. mainland.

On April 3rd, Trump declared he was going to pull soldiers out of Syria. After the recent alleged chemical attack on Syrian civilians outside of Damascus, Trump threatened his friend, Vladimir Putin, saying he will pay a price, and that the military response will “be very, very tough.”

Being deliberately unpredictable and keeping your adversary off balance may work for real estate deals in New York, but for potentates and armed groups it is a formula for fast accelerating uncontrollable disasters.

This flailing approach—implying the use of military violence—may please super war-hawk, madman John Bolton—Trump’s unconfirmed National Security Advisor yet to receive a top secret security clearance  from the FBI—but it appalls many  retired military, national security, and diplomatic officials who served  in high positions under both Republican and Democratic presidents.

Why don’t more ex-officials speak up? It is simple patriotism to forewarn the American people about the gathering storms of military interventions. We are fortunate that a few patriots — such as retired colonels Larry Wilkerson and Andrew Bacevich— stand tall and speak out about the unwarranted or unwise use of military force. But where are James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell, and a slew of former Obama administration officials who are silently tearing their hair out over the daily news reports?

There is a strange tradition in our country of former public officials shutting up when they shouldn’t.

I call this tradition an indulgence America cannot afford. Our country needs former public officials to stand up and speak out. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the dozens of former cabinet and sub-cabinet Senate confirmed government officials need to publicly challenge the Trump’s autocratic attacks on proven practices benefiting people under the rule of law. Our country is seeing rollbacks of rights and protections while the rich and powerful play with its seized riches and misappropriated delegated powers, which belong to the sovereign people.

Recently, several former EPA heads from previous Republican and Democratic Administrations have protested against EPA marauder Scott Pruitt’s unleashing toxic pollutants into the bodies of America’s children, women, and men.

Recently David Shulkin, the fired head of the Veterans Administration, took Trump to task on TV and in an op-ed in the New York Times. There have been other modest displays of resistance to some of Trump’s depredations by some ex-officials. By and large, however, the widespread silence among them is shameful. Former leaders should know better. Whether they retire, resign, or are fired from their positions, these experienced and aghast Americans dwell in a self-imposed state of vanguishment.

I call on them—mostly well-off with available time—to return to the fray and band together on the matters related to their knowhow and knowwho. Taxpayers have invested much in their shelved expertise and judgment.

Call them ex-Obamaites and reformed ex-Trumpsters. They can raise funds to open full-time advocacy offices in Washington that reach out to the country. Trump is wreaking havoc on the American people as workers, consumers, buyers of medicine, breathers of air and drinkers of water, as taxpayers against waste and spreading corruption, and as children in serious need. These outrages must be counteracted by people who can get their calls returned, get on the mass media, and mobilize the caring public into sturdy citizen challengers of our hijacked federal government before the November elections.

This entreaty is to people who need no mind-changing about the Trump regime. They know what is happening, where the destructive trajectories are heading, and dislike it intensely. I’ve heard enough about their expressions of private dread to urge former public servants to stand up for their country’s well-being—nothing less is at stake!

Democracies die in many ways. But in the 19th century, political philosopher John Stuart Mill delivered a warning for the ages, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

If any retired high officials wish to discuss the above plea on my weekly radio show, please use the contact sheet provided on the website.

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
David Yearsley
Smoke on the Water: Jazz in San Francisco
Elliot Sperber
All of Those Bezos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail