On the face of it, it is a reminder to armed forces around the world. The message: “We support and defend the Constitution. But still against the law “
But the chief knows that memos will be read across the world, several defense officials said. They have a lot of quotes and each of them has been chosen very carefully. The chief is not on his side. Rather, they have antennas that are adapted to the political climate. They know when it̵7;s time for them to speak up, just as they did after last year’s racial unrest. And they know the record will put them at odds with Trump days before his retirement as commander-in-chief.
On Tuesday, Trump defended his speech that inspired his supporters to march and riot at the City Hall. But the chiefs took their stand by calling on the rioters to say “The right to freedom of speech and assembly does not give anyone the right to violence, incite and rebellion” – a statement by their commander-in-chief refused to do so.
The memo also identified an important point: “The US Army will obey lawful orders” from bringing in civilians. This is probably the most important line to remember. Global chiefs and commanders have given their thoughts on what they would do if Trump issued an illegal order, and the answer was simple: They would not follow suit, many of the defense officials were directly familiar with. Think of them
All US military forces are trained to obey only legal orders. But in this billing environment, no one will speak publicly about how the chief will reject illegal orders in the event that Trump is not likely to issue an order. But in the senior military circles it is well understood. In order to be legally valid, a military action order must have a legitimate goal, be morally and ethical, and a proportional use of force is required.
The commander simply does not conduct nuclear strikes, shoots bombs and missiles, or sends troops into danger without valid reasons for military operations. The president’s order has several layers of law reviews to make sure supervisors can execute them.
But if the order is illegal, what will happen? Pentagon lawyers and leaders explain to the president why the order was illegal. If the president does not back down, there is no choice. The general has to resign. The law forbids them from carrying out illegal orders.
By issuing their statement, the co-boss has made both parties private and made clear what is at stake. But what makes the unsettling is that no one knows the president is listening.