WTF Community

Day 1083

1/ Mitch McConnell told Republicans he has the votes needed to begin Trump's impeachment trial without committing to calling new witnesses or admitting new evidence, rebuffing demands from Democrats. McConnell believes he has at least 51 votes from his 53-member Republican conference to start the trial, offering no guarantee that the Senate will issue subpoenas for witnesses and documents beyond what the House's inquiry gathered. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has withheld the articles of impeachment since the House voted in December to charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, in an effort to push Republicans to agree to fair rules for the trial. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News / CNN)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Which begs the question, “Who is ultimately in charge of our military?” I thought it was Trump since he’s Commander in Chief. I’m not being factious here, I’m seriously posing this question because I thought I knew the answer, but maybe I don’t. If Trump ordered an Iranian cultural site to be bombed, wouldn’t our military be required to carry out the order? :question: :man_shrugging:

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WTF?! We learn about this from Saudi Arabia, not our own government! Just like when Trump throws a smoke screen over visits and phone calls with Russians and we get photographs and information from the Kremlin rather than our own press corp.

White House Correspondents’ Association President Jonathan Karl called the lack of transparency surrounding President Trump’s meeting with the Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister “disturbing,” adding Monday’s unannounced Oval Office visit broke precedent.

The big picture: Photos of the meeting, which included several senior White House advisers, were tweeted out Tuesday by Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, indicating he delivered a message to Trump from his brother, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Background: After Trump’s decision to kill Iranian general Qasem Soleimani last week, Prince Khalid was urgently sent to Washington for fear that Saudi Arabia could get caught up in the rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Read the statement:

“President Trump met with Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Defense at the White House yesterday, but the public did not learn about the meeting until the Saudi government released a statement about it today. The Saudi government also released photographs of the President and his senior advisers meeting with the Vice Minister of Defense in the Oval Office. A meeting with a foreign leader in the Oval Office should, at the very least, be on the public schedule with a read-out of the meeting released after it is over. This has been the long-standing precedent for presidents of both political parties. It is disturbing to see the government of Saudi Arabia have more transparency than the White House about a meeting with the President in the Oval Office.”
— Jonathan Karl, president, White House Correspondents’ Association

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Not a word from Trump about United States Army Specialist Henry Mayfield Jr.'s loss. He is too busy antagonizing Iran.

He was fighting terrorist forces in Africa. He was killed on Sunday.

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I read this with great interest – I was in college during the My Lai incident and Calley’s subsequent trial and closely followed the coverage. However, I hadn’t realized that part of the case against him was founded on the obligation of a soldier not to follow an illegal order.

Just came across this – CNN’s Amanpour grills Esper on whether or not he would obey an order from Trump to bomb cultural sites. He phrases his answer carefully, claiming that Trump would never actually give such an order, but the implication is clear that if Trump did, he would not follow the order.

Here’s something I found very interesting: I’m not sure if she is correct, but Amanpour asserts that the simple act of giving such an order (even if it is never carried out) would constitute a war crime. If that’s true, Trump better watch his mouth.

One minute video worth watching:

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Actually if a superior officer gives an illegal order, a junior may refuse to carry out that order, as they would be carrying out an illegal act. Such a provision is contained in the Oath taken by all Commissioned Officers in your Defence Forces
Here it is:

Oath of Commissioned Officers

I ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God

Here is a short video of what constitutes the International Humanitarian Law more commonly known as the Rules of War and part of the Geneva Convention. Of course the USA is a signatory of this International and Universal Agreement however, the current administration International agreements seem to be things of the past.


Thank you! Very informative – the video, too.


Further to above - here is a very informative and illustrative article on when, and why a soldier, or other service person, can, and should refuse an order: