A great many analysts and journalists are dancing around the issue of Donald Trump’s visions of fascist grandeur these days. Americans put in office a greedy and self immersed billionaire to save the nation from a woman of even scarier character. And now the American people are about to come under military rule. The federal crackdown putsch dubbed “Operation Legend” will soon be expanded to any city in the United State that does not overwhelmingly support Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
It’s happening people. When Adolf Hitler seized power in 1933 and created the Nazi state, he leveraged a blend of political acuity, deceptiveness, and cunning. Donald Trump did not need these attributes to seize power in America, his backers took care of the details while Trump catered to the same brand of far-right idealists who helped usher in an era of anti-Marxist, Pan-Germanism, and anti-Semitism which set the stage for The Second World War.
Trump’s version is, of course, Pan-Americanism, anti-Everything, and decidedly pro-Israeli no matter what. The takeover has begun, and hardly anyone in the United States sees it. “Operation Legend”, featuring agents from the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and eventually active-duty US military personnel usurps everything the US Constitution stands for. If Trump is allowed to proceed, the greatest democracy ever to rise will fall in the ashes of an elitist nightmare, the same way Hitler’s Third Reich fell. Only this time, there may be no survivors.
With Kansas City as a test case, Homeland Security and the other Trump controlled agencies proceed to Portland, Oregon where reports from news people and protesters tell of officers dressed in camo pulling up in unmarked cars and detaining people with no explanation, and no due process. In one account, a protester was left hospitalized after federal officers shot him in the head with so-called less-lethal munitions on July 11.
On Attorney General William Barr’s announcement that Albuquerque would see Operation Legend agents, Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico commented:
“Instead of collaborating with the Albuquerque police department, the sheriff is inviting the President’s stormtroopers into Albuquerque.”
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier have issued statements suggesting that President Trump’s plans to expand Operation Legend are an election-year stunt. Keller went on to refer to the plan as an attempt at the creation of a “police state” in Albuquerque. Other stakeholders say what Trump is up to is the polarization of political protests, the fomenting dissent, and sowing distrust in the United States’ system of government, with the same purpose as past presidential campaign tactics utilized since the middle of the 20th century. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has counseled other mayors about concerns that Operation Legend would metastasize into something not only wrong but unconstitutional.
At the heart of the matter, the constitutionality of Trump’s moves hangs like the Sword of Damocles over the nation. Trump is pushing the envelope farther, especially since his getting off the impeachment hook recently. Like any bully, the New York businessman has spent his life pushing to discover his limits. The question looms; “How and when may the president deploy armed federal officers across the country?” Under the constitution, the president can send federal officers to protect federal property and enforce federal law.
Trump has his “stormtroopers” exceeding their authority to simply protect property and commerce laws. His agents are interfering in “normal” police investigations. Policing the streets of these cities is not under federal jurisdiction, and using force against peaceful demonstrations is certainly not under federal jurisdiction. DHS officers cannot enforce non-federal law unless they are deputized by state or local officials to do so. So, Donald Trump is willfully ignoring the governing law of the land he is sworn to defend. Michael Dorf, a professor of constitutional law at Cornell University told PBS News Hour the other day:
“The idea that there’s a threat to a federal courthouse and the federal authorities are going to swoop in and do whatever they want to do without any cooperation and coordination with state and local authorities is extraordinary outside the context of a civil war.”
Finally, New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait says President Trump has committed at least two “impeachable offenses” in the last few days. First, the story by Chait cites other sources saying Trump pressured his ambassador to the United Kingdom to request that the British Open be held at Trump’s Scottish golf resort. Secondly, the article comes out and accuses Trump of using the military occupation of cities run by the opposing political party to win an election. The author goes on to cite Both Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security directors under George W. Bush, as having denounced Trump’s abuse of their former departments.
But of course, Donald Trump cannot be swayed by either public opinion, expert advice, or the law of the land. The only good news is that Donald Trump is a weakling according to some analysts, who say Trump’s autocratic moves are “a slow ratchet in the direction of dictatorship.” And for doubters about Trump’s moves toward becoming the first American Führer, his minions ring every alarm bell there is in their rhetoric and their actions. Take Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, who said recently:
“I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.”
Hundreds of little kids ripped from the arms of their parents, with no documentation in place to reunite them, is a callous act that should have had Trump on the witness stand years ago. But like almost all the billionaire president’s misdeeds, shredding rights and decency are seldom reasons to call Trump to accountability. The current present has zero accountability either publicly, or in his private life. No wonder he feels like the rule of America.
If history is repeating itself, in a new and twisted sort of way, Americans can expect a redux of the infamous Night of the Long Knives that cemented Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship of Nazi Germany. I know this sounds like the tongue in cheek conspiracy theory, but Germany conquering much of the world and murdering millions seemed crazy in 1933 too. Russia’s Czar Nicholas probably never believed he die in a humble house in far off Ekaterinburg, shot to death with his whole family by Bolsheviks. No dynasty or idea ever goes knowingly or softly into the night. And Donald Trump is just the sort of soulless, self-involved, a narcissist to go down in history as the great desecrator of democracy.
I urge my countrymen to study past events like the Night of the Long Knives and to superimpose what’s going on in America today. In my mind, the American hegemony under a democratic model was an unsustainable disaster. We are seeing the results of 75 plus years of capitalism at work. The world cannot even come to grips with a collective sickness, let alone the socioeconomic divides that fracture geopolitics. The empire is failing, and the only solution for the world order is to reboot it under a new model. The only model they believe will work. With Trump or his successor in absolute control, the last crumbs of human and natural resources can be summoned for a final ritual feeding of the elites. Their “growth model” demands a feeding time, and there is nothing left to feed on but us peons who have been grinding at their mill wheels all along.
Operation Legend, indeed. I never thought I would live to see the day the United States would use a wartime cliche or icon, to suppress the people at home. “Operations” are surely only meant to steal oil from Arabs or to keep the Russians at bay. Operations with important-sounding names are what lend purpose so that brave, young American boys can go slaughter some other breed of humans. Or, to destroy Nazi Reichs or Japanese Empires just like the one we’ve created in the name of the Republic.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”