Cadet Donald Trump, at 13, found himself surrounded by military disciplinarians charged by his parents with controlling the young future president by bringing focus and structure to his life. He needed to learn how to play by the rules. And what better place than an environment where rules rule, right down to marching in line, making your bed and even how you lift your fork to your mouth. Back in those days, rowdy, uncontrollable kids, whose parents had the cash, were banished to these once-thriving beacons of control and subordination. New York Military Academy, about 60 miles north of Manhattan in the sleepy town of Cornwall, was one of those foreboding places your parents would threaten you with when you were, as Gerald Celente wrote a year ago in Trends Monthly, “an out of control little bastard who wouldn’t behave… a spoiled brat you didn’t want around the house.” Trump was yanked out of his cushy Jamaica Estates home, in Queens, NY, and scuttled upstate to dress in military drag, follow orders and be a good boy. How things don’t change. At 71, Trump again finds himself surrounded by military disciplinarians charged by political forces and dynamics with controlling him and bringing some focus and structure to the White House… in short, to make sure he follows orders. Today, the president is flanked by hand-picked pillars of discipline — and “experts” in the fields of death and destruction, including: • Chief of Staff John Kelly, a decorated four-star Marine general, who was yanked from his position as homeland security director to manage the West Wing’s day-to-day operations. Kelly, who oversaw the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba under the Obama administration, had, at the time, pushed for an expansion of the facility. It was revealed in late August that the Trump administration is beginning a $500 million expansion of the prison. • Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine general who earned the nickname “Mad Dog” for his allegedly murderous reign in the Battle of Fallujah, Iraq, where he ordered Marines to fire at ambulances and aid workers and then cordoned off the city, preventing civilians from escaping and giving the green light for solders to shoot women wearing head scarves. It was reported he even had Marines pose for trophy photos with the scores of innocent victims they killed. As he was exiting Iraq, Mattis was memorably quoted as saying, “It’s quite fun to shoot them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.” • National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, an active Army general who played a critical role in convincing Trump to increase troop presence in Afghanistan. He replaced Trump’s first choice, Michael Flynn, a retired Army general forced to resign over allegations he illegally received payments from foreign governments. McMaster, who intends to stay on active military duty as national security adviser, is a veteran of the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom and made a name criticizing George W. Bush’s strategy in Iraq. The military is alive and well, and at the helm, in the White House.
CADET TRUMP, PRESIDENT TRUMP
As accounts from Trump’s former fellow military-academy students confirm, the president at first defied military discipline. He later embraced the military mindset, especially as he rose through the ranks and became captain of one of the school’s prestigious companies. Although he successfully dodged the Vietnam War draft, a study of Trump’s academy years reflects an evolving comfort with, and trust of, military protocols and procedures. Like many defiant kids sent to military school, the doctrines and training worked for Trump. Looking back, Trump never left military school. “I did very well under the military system,” Trump said in an interview. He trusts military judgment. Why bother with the complexities of life-or-death scenarios when the “experienced” and “educated” generals and ex-generals below him can make those decisions? When Trump made his primetime announcement in August that he was reversing his long-held promise to “get the hell out of Afghanistan,” America’s longest war, he said the US was not aggressive enough in managing the war under President Obama and that “only the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders” could bring victory. That assertion made it crystal clear that the Pentagon — not the president, not Congress and certainly not the American people — is dictating all military decisions. Making it further clear how entrenched the military is in the White House, Trump offered no details about troop expansion in Afghanistan. Not a word about troop size, cost, strategy or timelines. “We will not announce our plans for further military activities,” said the president, who increasingly makes public speeches surrounded by military personnel in camouflage. “Micromanagement from Washington, D.C., does not win battles.” Even on the campaign trail, Trump promised, “We’re going to build our military bigger, better, stronger than ever before. Nobody is going to mess with us — that I can tell you.” Indeed, when he proposed his first federal budget this spring, he called for one of the largest defense-spending increases in recent history. When he defends his decision to lift all restraints on generals in the field, empowering them to make life-and-death decisions on the front lines, it’s because his “very talented” generals have the experience to make the right calls. And having those generals in charge, keeping cadet Trump in line and disciplined, comforts not only his political allies, but even The New York Times. Its editorial board (Aug. 20) applauded Trump’s decision to surround himself with military elites: “Americans accustomed constitutionally and politically to civilian leadership now find themselves relying on three current and former generals… to stop Mr. Trump from going completely off the rails. Experienced and educated, well-versed in the terrible costs of global confrontation and driven by an impulse toward public service that Mr. Trump doesn’t possess, these three, it is hoped, can counter his worst instincts.” The generals revered by Trump may keep him under control just like his military-school teachers, but they do not have a single victory to show for generations of destructive warfare and one failed policy after another. Experienced? Educated? Experienced? At what? Killing millions? Costing trillions? They haven’t won a war since World War II. Educated? In what and by whom? Brainwashed in military dogma and doctrine? And what about the rest of society? Our education doesn’t matter? Our degrees are worthless? Our life experiences add up to nothing? Yes, according to The New York Times, a champion of all of America’s wars.
NATIONALISTS ARE ALL BUT GONE
Further bolstering the military’s hold on the White House was the Aug. 18 departure of Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Labeled as a nationalist opposed to foreign entanglements, including any expansion of the war in Afghanistan, Bannon can no longer be an obstacle to the militarization of the White House. And after Bannon’s departure, Trump’s deputy assistant and Bannon ally, Sebastian Gorka, parted ways with the White House as well, leaving virtually no nationalist remnants closely advising the president that highly appeal to the populist movement that elected him. Finally, in another example of how a military mindset is taking over the White House, news broke late in August that Trump is reinstating a government program that provides military surplus equipment, such as grenade launchers and other high-powered weapons, to local police departments across the nation. The program was somewhat diminished under the Obama administration in light of several high-profile police shootings that drew attention to just how militarized local police departments had become. TJ