10th Amendment, Captain Brett Crozier, Coronavirus, D/SCs, IG Michael Atkinson, Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, orange man bad, President Trump, Rear Admiral Stuart Baker, social experimentation, USS Theodore Roosevelt
It goes without saying that anything President Trump does is wrong. Actually, it doesn’t go without saying. D/S/C politicians and their media propaganda arm say it all the time. Not only is everything he does wrong, everything he doesn’t do is wrong. He used to be a crazed dictator that was going to put everyone in Christian concentration camps. Now he’s totally incompetent, racist, sexist, and a generally icky orange man bad because he’s not willing to assume dictatorial powers, ignore the 10thAmendment, usurp the powers of the governors of the states, and lock everyone in their homes.
Actually, D/S/Cs hate Mr. Trump in large part because he is actually obeying the Constitution, draining the swamp, restoring the rule of law, and refusing to transgress constitutional boundaries. Oh yes, and effectively doing his job to the benefit of Americans; that’s what really makes them crazy. Two examples this past week illustrate the issue reasonably well.
The first is the firing—in 30 days—of Intelligence Inspector General Michael Atkinson. The usual suspects are insane with indignation. “He’s firing a dedicated public servant because he did his job!” “This is political vengeance!” Not quite, as Monica Showalter at The American Thinker, explains:
Doing the Friday-night news dump thang, while attention is in any case focused on the coronavirus, President Trump moved to get rid of the Intelligence Community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson.
That’s the guy who changed the rules to accommodate the so-called whistleblower, with zero firsthand knowledge, to file his whistleblowings about President Trump with Adam Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee staff, planning it all out beforehand, in order to open the gates to impeachment. Until Atkinson came along, a whistleblower needed to have firsthand knowledge of official wrongdoing, not water-cooler talk from fellow malcontents in the Deep State trying to come up with some way to Get Trump. The fact that the likely whistleblower, CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, was able to file such charges with nothing more than disliking Trump as his motive is precisely why the impeachment bid failed against the president and ended as such a farce.
That wasn’t all he did, either; he also stonewalled Congress when asked about his convenient little rules change. Seems he wanted to hide something.
It’s interesting to note when D/S/Cs wanted information, Atkinson was only too glad to promptly provide it. Actually, he manufactured it and gave it to them, potentially before they knew it existed. When Republicans wanted it, it suddenly became double, triple top secret.
In any other setting, where a coup-plotter changes the rules to make things go the way he likes to make things go, or a malcontent is constantly striking at the boss, it’s a perfect reason for getting rid of the creep. Trump was absolutely right to fire Atkinson for picking and choosing how to make a motivated, politically soiled malcontent appear credible by manipulating the rules to let him do it.
Quite so. Atkinson appears to have participated in a coup, a criminal attempt to depose a lawfully elected president. Margot Cleveland’s article on Atkinson’s culpability at The Federalist, is worth your time. And there is more:
Grenell, the Treehouse notes, had all the information he needed to get rid of Atkinson based on the information contained within the Department of Justice’s inspector general memos from John Durham, writing:
Also, in the recent FISA review by the OIG the DOJ inspector general specifically identified issues with the “accuracy reviews” conducted by DOJ-NSD chief legal counsel. Who was that former DOJ-NSD chief legal counsel? That would be current ICIG Michael Atkinson[.]
Attorney General William Barr agrees:
From the vantage point of the Department of Justice, he [Atkinson] had interpreted his statute, which is a fairly narrow statute, that gave him jurisdiction over wrongdoing by intelligence people and tried to turn it in to a commission to explore anything in the government and immediately reported to Congress without letting the Executive Branch look at it and determine whether there was any problem,” Barr told “The Ingraham Angle.’
Barr also noted the DOJ told Atkinson, in writing, he was overstepping his boundaries, but he ignored his superiors and pursued a political coup. We can be certain Mr. Trump was aware of much more regarding Atkinson than is publically known. We can also be certain Mr. Trump has the absolute, constitutional/legal power to fire Atkinson for any reason or no reason. By all means, read the linked articles.
The second illustrative issue is the relief of Captain Brett Crozier, late the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, one of our nuclear aircraft carriers. My pal Bookworm comments, also at The American Thinker:
Everyone is up in arms about the fact that the Navy brass fired Captain Brett Crozier, of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, after Crozier complained about people on his ship being infected with COVID-19. To many people, he was a lone man fighting a hardened bureaucracy on behalf of the men and women in his care. To others, he was a dangerous malcontent who placed his entire ship at risk by ignoring rules that exist for a reason.
The report about Captain Brett Crozier, whose ship, the USS Roosevelt, was docked in Guam, broke like a bomb on March 31. Here’s the Stars and Stripes report on that day:
The captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt has requested permission to remove most of the aircraft carrier’s crew from the ship and isolate roughly 4,000 sailors to help curtail a coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel.
Capt. Brett Crozier wrote in an unaddressed letter Monday to Navy leadership that the ship’s environment is “most conducive to spread of the disease” with open shared sleeping areas, shared restrooms and workspaces, and confined passageways to move through on the ship. He wrote the Roosevelt’s crew is unable to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Navy procedures to protect the health of sailors through individual isolation on the ship for 14 or more days.
‘Due to a warship’s inherent limitations of space, we are not doing this. The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating,’ Crozier wrote.
Crozier was an instant hero for taking a stand on behalf of his crew. Indeed, the Navy’s initial response was to say Crozier would not be punished for being so candid about conditions aboard his ship.
However, two days after the Crozier story broke, the Navy removed him from his command. People on both sides of the political aisle were outraged. This seemed like the worst kind of military rigidity, with rules and regulations triumphing over the well-being of America’s sons and daughters.
As one might expect, there is much more to this story, but first, let’s review the reality of military life. When one joins the military, they take an oath to obey the orders of those appointed over them. An always-standing order is obedience to the chain of command. Privates do not ignore their corporals, sergeants, and officers and talk directly to a general. They take no action that is not handed down through the chain of command. There are, of course, exceptions on the battlefield and other emergency situations where people have to think and act on the spur of the moment, but adherence to the chain of command is absolutely vital for discipline and order, and because one seldom knows everything higher ranking people know. Acting without that knowledge can be disastrous, cost innumerable lives, and damage national security.
Command of an aircraft carrier is a rare and coveted honor. Anyone reaching that level of trust and authority is expected, above all, to protect their ship, which of course involves protecting its crew. But of what value to nation is a commanding officer that would save a life at the cost of his ship? However, everyone in the military knows they have signed a blank check up to and including their life. Commanders have to make decisions that will send people under their command to their deaths, because there are always more momentous issues than the preservation of a single life. Simultaneously, no officer can be allowed to engage in unnecessary risks, throwing away American lives without good cause. Crozier appears to have violated that trust:
Instead, according to Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Crozier may have ignored the all-important chain of command:
‘[Acting Navy Secretary Thomas] Modly is the responsible, accountable official to the American people. And he had reason to believe that the captain operated outside the chain of command and he relieved him,’ Milley told Fox News’s Outnumbered Overtime on Friday.
Milley said there is an ongoing investigation into what happened, but he trusted Modly and his judgment and would support him.
He added, ‘The secretary of the Navy is responsible to the American people for the good order and discipline of the Navy. And when he loses trust and confidence in a ship’s captain, then that’s it. It’s target down. And we’re moving on to the next, to the next task.’
Modly said Crozier had cc’ed more than 20 people, including some outside the chain of command, over unsecured and unclassified systems, assuring the memo’s leak.
He also said Crozier did not speak to his direct superior, carrier strike group commander Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, about his concerns before sending the memo, despite Baker being on the carrier and living within feet of Crozier.
Modly said Crozier was not fired for expressing concerns, but the way he chose to do so.
By all means, take the link and read the rest of Bookworm’s article. Failing to inform Admiral Baker of his concerns is more than sufficient cause for relief. Copying his letter to some 20 people, and using unclassified, unsecure means to do it, is inexcusable. We do not, of course, know everything, but based on what we do know, Crozier hazarded his command–his ship–by letting America’s enemies—while overseas, on patrol—know the Roosevelt was not fully combat capable. Richard Fernandez at Pajamas Media provides background that indicates Crozier was even more culpable.
Commanders of aircraft carriers, men responsible for some 5000 souls, are expected to exhibit impeccable judgment. In years past, Crozier would not only have been relieved, he might have been prosecuted and dishonorably discharged.
Is Crozier’s willingness to ignore the chain of command a consequence of the Obama years, when our military was used for social experimentation, starved of the funds, training and equipment it needed, when hundreds of higher-ranking war fighters were drummed out of the military and replaced with politically correct sycophants far more concerned with gender, race, trans, homosexuals and climate change than defending America? Did Crozier come to think he had a “higher political duty” than honoring his oath of office, and if so, how many other politically correct commanders are at large in our military?
Recall, gentle readers, the accidents when the John S. McCain and the Fitzgerald ran into other ships, and naval readiness and training were found to be sadly deficient. Or recall the Air Force’s mishandling of nuclear weapons, which resulted in the reinstitution of the Strategic Air Command—SAC. All consequences of a military unfocused on its only mission: standing ready to kill the enemies of America as quickly and efficiently as possible.
A reminder of what doing it right is, from a true American hero.
Unfortunately Modly demonstrated similarly poor judgment, went to the Roosevelt and made some rather intemperate remarks about Capt. Crozier. Defense Secretary Mark Esper ordered him to apologize. He did, then resigned. This mess, however, reflects on Modly, not on the legitimacy of his decision to reassign Crozier.
Some have suggested the chain of command failed, but if reports are correct and Crozier acted without working properly through the chain of command, he has no cause to complain. However, higher ranking officers are now involved, and it is possible Crozier may be returned to command of the Roosevelt. President Trump, while expressing support for Crozier’s removal, has also noted he may become involved in the aftermath.
Based on what is currently known, our Commander In Chief and those under him appear to have acted not only in accordance with the Constitution, the law, and good military order and discipline, they, not Captain Crozier and soon to be former IG Atkinson, acted in the best interests of America. They protected the troops. They honored their oaths of office. They kept faith with the American people. One may differ on whether losing his command was the appropriate punishment for Captain Crozier, but that does not change the fact he was relieved under proper authority.
That’s why those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome are so upset with Mr. Trump: he’s not abusing his authority to their advantage.