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More News From Years Ago By New York Times Book Writers

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From Axios, by Maggie Haberman

I’m a little surprised that nobody else has put up a post on this. As you are probably aware, the New Yorker published an excerpt today from Susan Glasser and Peter Baker’s forthcoming book. It details the travails of retired and current general officers under the chaos of Donald Trump, with especial attention to Mark Milley, who comes out looking as good as one can from such a debacle. Presumably he was a major source.

The juicy parts:

The President’s loud complaint to John Kelly one day was typical: “You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?”

“Which generals?” Kelly asked.

“The German generals in World War II,” Trump responded.

“You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?” Kelly said.

But, of course, Trump did not know that. “No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him,” the President replied. In his version of history, the generals of the Third Reich had been completely subservient to Hitler; this was the model he wanted for his military.

There’s a certain amount of cattiness between Milley and James Mattis, who obviously don’t like each other much.

Trump wanted a military parade with big weapons and tanks through the streets of Washington, DC, and they talked him out of that.

There’s a long-form version of a resignation letter that Milley didn’t send.

The issue of staying in service to Trump comes up again. I think it’s a hard call and very subject to specific circumstances. From one point of view, the military men (and they were all men) usurped some of the president’s authority. That is very wrong within the American system, as discussed in this thread. But what happens when you are there and Trump is ready to do something even more dangerous?

Another concern about working for an unstable would-be dictator is that even if you start with a firm moral compass, it begins to get bent as you remain within that environment. As the Twitter thread says, the solution is not to elect unstable authoritarians, but that solution wasn’t available to the people in the White House under Trump.

Another Times contributor, book author Maggie Haberman, has photos of documents in a toilet that seem to be in Trump’s Sharpie handwriting. See photo at top.

I’m not sanguine that if this was reported at the time it would have made a difference. None of it is anything we couldn’t surmise from the reporting that existed. Today’s posts provide more color, but that’s it. Still, we can ask the usual questions about where reporters’ allegiances lie.

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