But under Esper, something else has happened. Senior defense officials and uniformed military commanders also have begun to appear on right-wing talk shows, like Sean Hannity and Hugh Hewitt. That’s not taking care to avoid partisan politics; that’s feeding them up to the lions in the Colosseum…

Modly is a welcome reminder that even at the Pentagon, political appointees are partisan political animals. The idea that the military should stay out of politics and obey civilian authority is one thing. It’s in the Constitution, it’s American tradition, and it’s a fundamental characteristic of democracy. But it applies to the military leaders in uniform. The idea that the political appointees in charge of the Defense Department are somehow also apolitical, or somehow different than, less beholden to, or less responsible for the White House and this president’s views is pure fiction.

Mabus, Obama’s Navy secretary, wrote me on Monday, saying, “This is where the politicization of the military has come to under this administration. Either you become a full fledged defender of Trump, regardless of the harm to the military, or you lose your job. Evidently no one is allowed to tell the truth if it conflicts with what Trump is saying.”