Did We Miss the Coup d' État?

During the time the Vietnam war was in full swing, Edward Luttwak wrote a seminal book on the phenomena of overthrowing governments, Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook. In defining the attributes of a typical coup, Luttwak explains:

A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder.
Let that definition rattle around your brain for a moment.

When we think of coups, our mental image tends to be populated by medal-festooned lapels of banana republic military commanders, surrounded by gun toting militias riding around in jeeps, in a location somewhere south of the equator. Obviously, that is not an accurate picture. A coup is typically a partnership between civilian politicians (usually, but not always, by the party in opposition to the current government) and sympathetic military commanders. Contrary to popular concept, the "use of military or other organized force is not the defining feature of a coup d'état". It can be argued, though, that co-opted military command of civilian authority and positions is integral to consolidation of power in a coup environment.

With yesterday's appointment of General Lute as the war czar, there are more active duty military commanders involved in the operational control of America's war and intelligence efforts than ever before. Additionally, James Comey's remarks this week to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the race to John Ashcroft's hospital bed to authorize the warrentless wiretap program, we get a small peek behind the curtain of how the Bush regime has operated, time and time again, outside the bounds of (at least) propriety and (potentially) beyond the confines of constitutional authority.

The confluence of several events over the past year or so lead to the question: did a true coup d’état occur in the U.S., and we missed it? ...

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