The Open Letter From Military Leaders, released today, was organized by Major Gen. Sidney Shachnow and Rear Admiral Charles Williams. It includes the name Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, US Army, Retired. Boykin is currently executive vice president at the Family Research Council, identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
What is more notable than Boykin’s well-attested bigotry is the reprimand he earned for disclosing classified information. Trump’s own rhetoric demands he hold Boykin at arm’s length, given his disclosure of classified information in a book published in 2008, earning the former general a reprimand.
As noted by Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch,
The reprimand [PDF], released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, says that Boykin “violated [the] Uniform Code of Military Justice” for his “wrongful disclosure of classified information” and “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline in the armed forces.”
Trump repeatedly states that he has the best people behind him, but the “best people” include people like Jerry Boykin, who, like Trump himself, lets hate run away with his mouth, and who plays free and easy with classified information, something Trump is now saying is a big deal – unless the person revealing classified information is one of his supporters.
Trump said the endorsement is a “great honor.” Perhaps it is, but more surprising is a collection of former high-ranking military officers endorsing a guy who received five deferments to escape service in Vietnam.
“I thank each of them for their service and their confidence in me to serve as commander-in-chief. Keeping our nation safe and leading our armed forces is the most important responsibility of the presidency. Under my administration, we will end the weak foreign policy of the last eight years, rebuild our military, give our troops clear rules of engagement and take care of our veterans when they come home. We can only Make America Great Again if we ensure our military remains the finest fighting force in the world, and that’s exactly what I will do as president.”
The letter , basically a distillation of conservative talking points, reads as follows:
The 2016 election affords the American people an urgently needed opportunity to make a long-overdue course correction in our national security posture and policy. As retired senior leaders of America’s military, we believe that such a change can only be made by someone who has not been deeply involved with, and substantially responsible for, the hollowing out of our military and the burgeoning threats facing our country around the world. For this reason, we support Donald Trump’s candidacy to be our next Commander-in-Chief.
For the past eight years, America’s armed forces have been subjected to a series of ill-considered and debilitating budget cuts, policy choices and combat operations that have left the superb men and women in uniform less capable of performing their vital missions in the future than we require them to be.
Simultaneously, enemies of this country have been emboldened, sensing weakness and irresolution in Washington and opportunities for aggression at our expense and that of other freedom-loving nations.
In our professional judgment, the combined effect is potentially extremely perilous. That is especially the case if our government persists in the practices that have brought us to this present pass.
For this reason, we support Donald Trump and his commitment to rebuild our military, to secure our borders, to defeat our Islamic supremacist adversaries and restore law and order domestically. We urge our fellow Americans to do the same.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.