Is today Military Dictatorship Day?; Update: Newsmax removes column
posted at 9:30 am on September 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
In case anyone thinks that one side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on paranoid ranters, we present today’s offering from Gore Vidal (Left) and John Perry (Right) on the coming American military dictatorship. Both men agree that it’s a likelihood, and both men blame Barack Obama. Let’s start with the Perry, warning in Newsmax that just because something has never happened before doesn’t mean we can’t predict that it won’t happen soon, or something (via Tom Maguire):
What happens if the generals Obama sent to win the Afghan war are told by this president (who now says, “I’m not interested in victory”) that they will be denied troops they must have to win? Do they follow orders they cannot carry out, consistent with their oath of duty? Do they resign en masse?
Or do they soldier on, hoping the 2010 congressional elections will reverse the situation? Do they dare gamble the national survival on such political whims?
Anyone who imagines that those thoughts are not weighing heavily on the intellect and conscience of America’s military leadership is lost in a fool’s fog.
Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility?
Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.
Newsmax actually ran this as a column, not a blog post. It’s a lunatic fantasy straight out of Greek theater. In those days, when mediocre tragedians wrote plots so complicated that they couldn’t resolve them through character interaction, the Deus ex machina (loosely, the Flying God Machine) would deposit a new actor portraying one of the Greek pantheon onto the stage to sort out the mess. Perry fantasizes about a military takeover that would be the world’s most powerful Deus ex machina, mainly out of political laziness:
Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say, “We can always worry about that later.”
The alternative, non-violent solution is the one we’ve been using for 220 years: elections. We have another coming in 2010. If the American people get fed up with the direction of this government, then we will change it in the midterms. We do not need our military to rescue us from ourselves, thank you very much.
One might excuse this kind of nihilism if it came from a college freshman who had no sense of his own nation’s history, but this comes from a man who served two White House administrations. There is simply no excuse for this hankering for a banana republic in America from someone who should know much, much better.
That goes for Gore Vidal, too, who envisions this scenario more darkly:
Barack Obama is failing as President and the US is in danger of sliding into a military dictatorship, says Gore Vidal, the American essayist and intellectual.
In an exclusive interview with The Times, Vidal, 83, reveals that he regrets switching his allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Mr Obama during last year’s campaign to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.
I don’t think Hillary regrets it, especially now.
Vidal added: “He loves quoting Lincoln and there’s a great Lincoln quote from a letter he wrote to one of his generals in the South after the Civil War. ’I am President of the United States. I have full overall power and never forget it, because I will exercise it’. That’s what Obama needs – a bit of Lincoln’s chill.” He also predicted Obama may be assassinated: “Just one lone gunman lurking in the shadows of the capital.”
America has no intellectual class and is rotting away at a funereal pace, he believes. “We’ll have a military dictatorship soon, on the basis nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being overeducated. He doesn’t realise how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is.”
Vidal isn’t pining so much for a military dictatorship as warning about one, but otherwise it’s just as ludicrous. The American military isn’t interested in conducting coups, and having dissolute pseudo-intellectuals blathering about them to the London press does the professionals in our military an extreme disservice. It’s an insult to their honor, as well as ours.
Both men should be encouraged to take some time off and regain their senses, and should be roundly ignored until they do.
Update: Newsmax removed Perry’s column. Bob Owens has their statement and a bit of Perry’s background:
It is also worth noting that Perry is not a conservative; his bio says he worked for both LBJ and Carter Administrations and Democratic Governor of Florida, LeRoy Collins.
Fair enough, but no one disputes that Newsmax is a conservative-oriented news and opinion site. This wasn’t a blog post but a column published by Newsmax. They made the decision to publish it, and thankfully they made the decision to remove it.