There needs to be an order from the top not to shoot the survivors. Fortunately, the prospective Biden national security team has the necessary wisdom to try to bridge the divide. I know most of them well from my days as a combatant commander, and they are collectively smart, balanced and sensible. All are the kind of people we would want running the nation’s security and diplomacy structure. Unlike the Trump philosophy of conducting seemingly endless reprisals against career intelligence and military officers (notably, the shameful treatment of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch), the instincts of the Biden team will be generally good, especially at the high levels.
What I worry about, however, is what may be occurring at middle and lower levels of the transition. I am already hearing from current, nonpolitical officials who fear they will be denigrated and treated as persona non grata by the incoming team. Some of that is normal business, but given all the national acrimony, I fear such treatment will only increase.
Are there some purely political actors who signed up with Donald Trump and must now face the reputational consequences? Of course. But even here, we should try to approach those who served with a modicum of respect for their efforts, even if we judge them to be misguided.