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Military must stay out of US election, say ex-Pentagon chiefs

by OtownGist
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All 10 living former US defense secretaries , including two Donald Trump appointees , warned Sunday against involving the military in the US presidential transition .
In an essay published in The Washington Post , Ashton Carter, Leon Panetta, William Perry, Dick Cheney , William Cohen, Robert Gates , Chuck Hagel , Donald Rumsfeld, James Mattis and Mark Esper urged the Pentagon to commit to a peaceful transition of power .
“Efforts to involve the US armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory , ” they said, adding that officials who sought to do so could face serious professional and criminal consequences .
Referring to the election process and peaceful transfers of power as “hallmarks of our democracy , ” the secretaries noted that other than Abraham Lincoln ’ s election in 1860 that ultimately led to the pro -slavery South seceding and the US Civil War , the country has had an unbroken record of peaceful transitions .
“This year should be no exception , ” they wrote .
The secretaries , who come from both US political parties with Esper and Mattis both appointed by Trump , pointed out that all legal challenges to the presidential election results had been dismissed by the courts , and the votes certified by state governors .
It is time to formally certify the Electoral College votes , they said.
They also called on acting defense secretary Christopher Miller and all defense department officials to facilitate the transition for President-elect Joe Biden ’ s administration “fully, cooperatively and transparently . ”
“They must also refrain from any political actions that undermine the results of the election or hinder the success of the new team , ” the essay said.
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Trump , who is refusing to acknowledge his election loss to Biden , until recently held back from allowing government agencies to cooperate with Biden ’ s team , as is the custom.
In late December , Biden said that political appointees at the Pentagon , which Trump has packed with loyalists since the election , have refused to provide a “clear picture ” on troop posture or budgeting.
“It is nothing short , in my view , of irresponsibility , ” Biden said in Wilmington , Delaware , warning that US adversaries could take advantage of the transition .
( AFP)

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