Retired general urges US to prepare for next coup that could 'infect the rank and file' in the military
A retired military general is urging the United States to be prepared for the possibility of yet another insurrection in 2024. Speaking to NPR.org, Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton noted that while "the idea of a military-backed coup was 'low probability, high impact,'" he insisted that “it's an eventuality that we need to prepare for."
Eaton went on to explain how mass confusion could contribute to a chaotic presidential election aftermath similar to what occurred when former President Donald Trump and his allies attempted to undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. Trump's attacks on the country's voting system created a massive divide with many factions of Americans refusing to acknowledge President Joe Biden's victory.
“The real question is: Does everybody understand who the duly elected president is?" Eaton asked. "If that is not a clear-cut understanding, that can infect the rank and file or at any level in the U.S. military.”
Eaton noted how imperative it is for members of the military to have a clear understanding of the U.S. Constitution. “Civics and the development of the philosophical underpinnings of the U.S. Constitution, I believe that bears a reteach,” he said.
The general's latest remarks to NPR follow his recent op-ed published by The Washington Post. Eaton collaborated with retired Army major general Antonio M. Taguba and Steven M. Anderson, a retired brigadier general, on the piece as they discussed the timeline leading up to the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. Having each served more than three decades in the United States armed forces, the men warned of how the series of events could set the tone for similar occurrences in the future.
They also detailed a possible worst-case-scenario if members of the military are divided on the outcome of the next election.
"All service members take an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution. But in a contested election, with loyalties split, some might follow orders from the rightful commander in chief, while others might follow the Trumpian loser. Arms might not be secured depending on who was overseeing them. Under such a scenario, it is not outlandish to say a military breakdown could lead to civil war."
"With the country still as divided as ever," they noted, "we must take steps to prepare for the worst."