Former Pentagon leaders urged not to involve the military in election disputes
Former Pentagon Leaders Issue Stark Election Warning | NBC Nightly News
10 former defense ministers issue a warning to the Washington Post
All 10 living former defense ministers on Sunday urged not to involve the military in disputes over the election results, warning that this will lead the country into “dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional territory.”.
Ten former heads of the Pentagon, including both Democrats and Republicans, signed the article published in the Washington Post. They wrote that after recounts in several states and unsuccessful lawsuits, the outcome of the election is clear. The name of President Donald Trump is not directly mentioned in the article.
“The time to question the results is over. Now is the time to officially count the votes of the Electoral College, as stipulated by the Constitution and the law, “the former defense ministers said..
They also warned against involving the military in any effort to change the election results..
“Attempts to involve the US military in resolving electoral disputes will lead us into dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional territory,” they said. “Civilian and military officials directing or carrying out such efforts will be held accountable, including may be subject to criminal penalties.”.
Several American military leaders, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milli, have publicly stated in recent weeks that the military should play no role in determining the outcome of the US elections and that they are committed to the Constitution and not to specific leaders or political parties..
Former Pentagon executives also warned in their article of the dangers of obstructing a transition in the Department of Defense ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Biden previously complained about attempts by Trump-appointed Pentagon officials to obstruct the transition.
According to the authors of the article, the transfer of power “often occurs in an environment of international uncertainty about US national security policy.”.
At the moment, there is an exacerbation of tension in relations with Iran. Sunday marks a year since the assassination of senior Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone strike.
Tehran has pledged revenge for this, and the US authorities have warned in recent days of the heightened threat of an attack on American interests in the Middle East..
The Washington Post article was signed by Dick Cheney, William Perry, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Ash Carter, James Mattis and Mark Esper. Mattis was the first Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration and stepped down in 2018. He was replaced by Esper, who was fired a few days after the November elections..
According to the newspaper, the idea of writing the article came about during a conversation between Cheney and Eric Edelman, a former ambassador and a senior Pentagon official..