How General Kelly Disgraced The Marines and Damaged Our Country

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Donald Trump does not support, or even understand, his presidential responsibilities vis-a-vis the troops in our military. That is an obvious fact. Yesterday, Trump’s chief of staff, Marine General John F. Kelly, stood before the American People and defended Trump’s recent appalling treatment of an aggrieved Marine widow, and told the country to whom he swore an oath of Allegiance that everything is fine in the white house.

The oath taken by all Marines is the same as that taken by all military personnel. So, General Kelly has uttered the following words, now and then:

I, John F. Kelly, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

The President takes an oath as well, so Donald Trump has uttered a variant of the constitutionally required

I Donald Trump do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

From here,

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) 809[890].ART.90 (20), makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the “lawful command of his superior officer,” 891.ART.91 (2), the “lawful order of a warrant officer”, 892.ART.92 (1) the “lawful general order”, 892.ART.92 (2) “lawful order”. In each case, military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey Lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey Unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ. The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ.

So, just to be clear, a military officer is required to follow orders but can not break the law. General Kelly’s Orwellian comments about Trump and his conduct was probably not breaking any laws. But it is impossible for John Kelly to be Donald Trump’s chief of staff without him violating his oath, both the one he gave as a Marine, and the one that binds him as a senior White House official.

There is a long list, a very long list, of ways in which Donald Trump is violating the Constitution of the United State of America. General Kelly is no longer obligated to defend the United States Constitution as a US Marine, because he is no longer a Marine, but he is obligated to do so as the President’s Chief of Staff.

But, what General Kelly did yesterday was to disgrace his uniform by standing as a former Marine General and the father of a fallen soldier and, from that context, arguing that everything is fine in the kingdom. He charged up the hill to circumvent a very powerful message that would be damaging to his president. Support our troops, Impeach trump. Imagine the following bumper sticker:

There is no such bumper sticker available at the moment, but you can make your own by combining this one, this one, and this one. Like I’m going to do.

Kelly threw himself on a hand grenade, for sure. In so doing, Kelly put his culture as a marine, not his oath but his culture, ahead of his country. He was ordered by his commander and chief to stand in front of the American Press and the American People and lie.

Perhaps this is what Marines do. Perhaps this is a good reason to avoid putting Marines directly in charge of the defense of the United States Constitution. At least, let history show that a reasonable distrust of senior Marines to be patriots is a reasonable outcome of history itself.

Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North charged up the hill on the illegal orders of his president, got caught, and told us he’d do it again. General Kelly did it for him.

And now, for your history lesson. (See for more, Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up)

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6 thoughts on “How General Kelly Disgraced The Marines and Damaged Our Country

  1. I’m perplexed by Kelly’s comments supporting Trump’s words to the soldier’s family. At first I thought his reaction was due to the fact that the counsel he said he received was from one man with a long family history of military service to another (Kelly) with the same family history, so he didn’t have a feel for how a family without that military heritage would be dealing with the death of a loved one.

    But then I realized he should be able to make that distinction. So …

    Haven’t thought about North, one of the great traitors to the United States in recorded history, for some time. Pure scum — thinking that it was fine to follow Reagan’s orders (only an idiot would think that Reagan didn’t know and condone the actions) to work with terrorists, lie about it, and shred an untold amount of paperwork in order to avoid the law.

    No regard for the Marines his boss got killed in Lebanon. No regard for the law. No regard for honesty or integrity. Kelly doesn’t come of well in this bit of politics: North doesn’t come out well in any way as a human being.

  2. Re. The sticker idea saying ” support our troops “.
    Isnt there something just a little bit odd in declaring
    support for a group who are literally trained to kill?
    Highly, expertly, trained at that. How about, support nurses, as an example. What a patriotic thing to do eh? Every country absolutly depends on nurses.
    Beyond that, i personally find superficial displays of patriotism a tad vulgar. Perhaps its just me, but i dont broadcast my emotional feelings to passing traffic. I would never have a sticker saying ” I love my partner ” or
    or somesuch .
    Just a couple of things that arose whilst reading.
    I actually seen some USA marines the other day.
    So outrageously young looking. With odd physiques compared to Australian troops. Puffier sorta.

  3. How do you know a story is fake?

    – It’s on daily caller
    – it hints at Hillary Clinton selling uranium to the russians
    – the “Ghost Stories” story shows up on only the long-running haven for liars and charlatans

    I’m amazed at how blind hatred and lack of willingness to do basic fact checking results in these bogus stories being spread.

  4. On health care, Trump canceled illegal payments and sent it to Congress to deal with it, which they can do by putting the payments in the budget. On immigration Trump followed the law and ended DACA, again sending it to Congress to deal with it. On Iran deal, he refused to certify something that wasn’t true, and left it to Congress to decide if they wish to reimpose sanctions.
    A lot of following the Constitution. Should Obama’s Chief of Staff had resigned when Obama decided to do a recess appointment while the Senate was technically in session, declaring by himself that the Senate was not in session(losing 9-0 at the Supreme Court)?

  5. As much as I loathe Trump, his den of thieves, and Kelly’s ‘yes man’ posture, you are a little off on a couple of points regarding the U.S. Marine Corps, and its culture.
    1. Even retired, one never stops *being* a Marine. Thus, the phrase “Once a Marine, ALWAYS a Marine.”
    2. The oath does not itself expire, only the enforceable jurisdiction of the UCMJ which service members are subject to.
    The Oliver North example is faulty because North was still actively serving as a Presidential National Security Advisor in uniform when he lied to Congress.
    3. Kelly’s son died a Marine, not a “soldier.” Invoking a man’s dead son here seems a bit much here.
    4. While North broke the law, and we agree on Kelly’s poor choice of current employer, it’s absurd and unnecessary to cast aspersions upon the loyalty and service that the U.S. Marine Corps has provided this country for 242 years. I served in it for 6 of those years.

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