Monday, September 14, 2015

Seven Days in May, Revisited

Some of you may remember the 1962 novel by Fletcher Knebel titled Seven Days in May, or the 1964 film version starring Gregory Peck and Burt Lancaster. It dealt with a plot within the American military to overthrow a president who had negotiated a disarmament treaty that left military leaders fearing a possible nuclear attack to which they would be unable to respond.

Sound familiar?

With all the apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding the "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" with Iran, one has to wonder if there is any chance that the life of the nuclear deal with Iran might imitate the art of the novel. I have to say that from my vantage point as a lowly worker in the Pentagon, there is concern over the JCPOA, but no discussion of a reaction as unthinkable as a military coup to overthrow the President.

Of course, there's talk of just such a thing in our overheated media. Consider this article by Millie Dent in The Financial Times: A Military Coup in the US? A Surprising Number of Americans Might Support One.

According to Ms Dent's article, which is based on the results of a survey by YouGov, 29% of those who responded said they can imagine a situation in which they would support the military taking control of the federal government ... extrapolated to the population of the country, that means more than 70 million American adults would rather see a general or admiral run the country than the President.

I don't know about you, but I find this both shocking and completely predictable.

Surveys have long shown that the armed services consistently earn a far greater level of trust and respectability among Americans than their fractious and inept Congress. Nevertheless, the idea that a significant portion of Americans would consider a military coup rather than the ballot box to address their political and social concerns is frightening. This chart from the article summarizes the survey results by political party ... while predictable, they are still very scary:

A lot of Americans don't like President Obama, whether because he's black or liberal or a Democrat or Hawaiian* or whatever. I get that. However, the level of hysterical invective being thrown at the administration by herds of screaming talking heads in the media and the irresponsible grandstanding by members of Congress who ought to know better has led to a situation in which more than a quarter of Americans - and nearly half of all Republicans - might consider military rather than civilian rule.

And that's beyond scary.

Have a good day. Think about the implications of the political slogans you blindly chant at rallies and share on Facebook ... and consider how they'll sound when you get what you wish for: a "supreme leader" rather than an elected president.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* One of the best arguments for spending more money on education is that a lot of people (yes, Mr Trump, I'm talking to you) apparently can't read enough English to understand a birth certificate.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

What an unusual premise for a book! Has there ever been an attempt by the military to do a putsch? I think that was a hypothetical poll that allowed people to blow off steam. Still, it's shocking!

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

"can imagine a scenario where they would support a takeover by the military?" What about situations where another group overthrew the government and the military had to step in? Sounds like Latin America politics! But we don't have to presume that they would be overthrowing a legitimate, elected government!

Linda Kay said...

The kind of media coverage of this reminds me of the day when we were afraid the Russions were lurking around corners in a building, and we had to be frightened of Communism taking over the country. What we do need is people who can make sure that the agreement is valid in the future.

Mike said...

Apparently 29% of the people flunked high school history.

Kristen Drittsekkdatter said...

Those people are crazy. Crazy Republicas!

Duckbutt said...

I remember Fletcher Knebel's political thrillers from back when LBJ was president. And there was that overrated movie, Dr. Strangelove.

John Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Hill said...

Just returned from Mexico and spoke with a man that said their president is an idiot. The Mexican president serves 1 six year term and is not eligible to run for re-election.
I wonder how much actual work could get done if our elected officials couldn't run for re-election and weren't campaigning and selling favors for contributions!