The swaggering men administration

Trump is filling his cabinet with far too many plutocrats (any would be too many, in my view) and too many military people. That makes sense coming from him, I guess: he undervalues relevant experience and orientation and expertise (law, government, diplomacy, public service) and overvalues irrelevant and potentially damaging ditto (money, militarism).

Donald J. Trump ran for president boasting that he knew more about fighting terrorists than America’s generals.

But now that Mr. Trump is the president-elect, he is spending a great deal of his time with retired generals, and those of a particular breed: commanders who, when they served, were often at odds with President Obama.

One has been named as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, and several others are candidates for coveted positions in his cabinet or are advising him on how to confront the world’s greatest threats. They would give his foreign policy a far more aggressive cast than Mr. Obama’s.

That was November 21. As of yesterday:

Donald Trump’s move to pack his administration with military brass is getting mixed reviews, as Congress and others struggle to balance their personal regard for the individuals he’s choosing with a broader worry about an increased militarization of American policy.

No fewer than three combat-experienced retired Army and Marine leaders, with multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, are on tap for high-level government jobs normally reserved for civilians. Others are entrenched in Trump’s organization as close advisers.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will serve as the president’s national security adviser, and Trump announced retired Marine four-star Gen. James Mattis Thursday night as his secretary of defense. In addition, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly is a likely pick to head the Department of Homeland Security.

We’re supposed to have civilian government. Really: it’s important.

Vikram Singh, a former senior adviser at the Defense Department and now vice president at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, said the law requiring a gap between military service and leading the Pentagon “exists to preserve civilian control of the military, a cornerstone of American democracy, and appointing a general so recently retired from active service to be secretary of defense is a serious matter, no matter how qualified that general may be for the position.”

Jon Soltz, who leads the liberal political action committee VoteVets, said that people with military service are needed in Washington, but “it is somewhat concerning that Donald Trump continues to eye recently retired generals for some of the most important traditionally civilian positions in government.”

I suspect that what attracts Trump to the military is that it’s a command-obey system. He’s a “do what I say” kind of guy, so he’s drawn to generals, who are at the top of the command-obey pyramid. He’ll still be at the top over them, but they’ll be his deputy “do what I say” guys, he’s thinking; that’s my guess.

The Times has a similar take:

Turning to the retired officers reflects Mr. Trump’s preference for having strong, even swaggering, men around him. But it worries national security experts and even other retired generals, who say that if Mr. Trump stacks critical jobs purely with warriors, it could lead to an undue emphasis on military force in American foreign policy.

So far so bad.

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