Insurrection is not a common crime. It is an offense not against another person or even a group of people, but against the community as a whole. A coup is a declaration of war that is directed at the entire political system. As such, the insurrection tends to mobilize the full arsenal of social sanctions, sentences that go well beyond the purview of the criminal justice system, in the opposition. Law enforcement agencies are currently rounding up those involved in the failed January 6 coup in which a mob instigated by President Trump stormed the Capitol. It is significant, however, that the law is not the only instrument of retaliation called for.
The Congress Democrats are pushing the charges against Donald Trump a second time to discuss With Section 3 of the 14th Amendment the Constitution, which bans the seat of officials who “have committed insurrections or revolts against the Constitution” or “have given help or comfort to their enemies”. Congress could decide that this rule applies to lawmakers like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. Beyond the Congress, civil society is now mobilizing against the proponents of sedition. Donald Trump has lost access to a number of social media outlets including Twitter and Facebook. Closer to home on Sunday evening for the Professional Golfers’ Association announced that it has canceled plans to hold its 2022 championship tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. This step follows the explanations of four big companies (Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Marriott International, Citibank, Commerce Bancshares) that they will not donate to Republican lawmakers who refused to certify Joe Biden as President (a group of 139 House members and eight Senators).
This application of creative punishment should extend to the military as well. Trump has tried mightily to submit the military to his will, including using it against domestic protesters during the Black Lives Matter uprising in the summer of 2020. One of the most encouraging developments of the past year has been the way the military, as a collective entity, resisted Trump’s efforts. Indeed, this may have been the key ingredient that prevented Trump’s coup attempt from succeeding.
While the military as a whole deserves praise, there is no doubt that individual members of the military and retired soldiers participated in the failed uprising. On Sunday, Colorado representative Jason Crow spoke to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who pointed out that the Army is investigating 25 people who participated in the coup, some of whom may be active in the military. According to an indication of the conversation Provided by Crow’s office: “Crow expressed serious concern about reports that active and reserve military personnel were involved in the uprising. He called for accelerated investigations and court martial against those involved. “Keep crowing requested that troops assigned to Biden’s inauguration on January 20 will be subjected to a CID [Criminal Investigation Command] Review to weed troops “sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”
News reports give concrete form to the cases the army is investigating. According to the APArmy commanders at Fort Bragg, North Carolina are investigating Captain Emily Rainey’s involvement in Wednesday’s rally. The 30-year-old psychological operations officer told the AP that she led 100 members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom who had traveled to Washington, to stand up against election fraud and support Trump. She insisted that she acted within army regulations and that no one in her group would enter the Capitol or break the law. ”
In addition to active forces like Rainey, a sizeable cohort of retired military personnel took part in the attack on the Capitol, including Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran was shot dead by law enforcement agencies during the storm of the building.
The AP too quoted the case of “Retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas,” who was “indicted in federal court Sunday after being identified in photos of him standing in the Senate fountain in a military-style helmet and body armor, while holding a pair of zippered handcuffs. ”
If Rainey committed any crimes, she would definitely fall within the scope of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The case can be cited that the same courts should be used against veterans like Brock. Under the UCMJ, retired troops can face court-martial, with benefits and pensions being withdrawn.
In December, retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson retired advocates Such an approach for former General Michael Flynn, who had received a pardon from Donald Trump. Flynn called on Trump to use the military to force new elections in swing states “at gunpoint”.
Wilkerson noted that the military had the power to punish Flynn even after Trump was pardoned. “If I were the Secretary of Defense I would call him back to duty, which is reserved for the Secretary of Defense, and I would try him before a court-martial,” Wilkerson said. “At least I would quote him for inciting a rebellion.”
Wilkerson’s argument applies not only to Flynn, who campaigns for insurrection, but also to those retired military personnel who stormed Congress.
There are, of course, legitimate bourgeois-libertarian concerns about the use of military courts. lawyers have argued that the principle that the retired military can be brought under the military code is an “anachronistic” holdover from a time when the military needed an immediate supply of reserve soldiers. In addition, military justice is much stricter and offers less protection for defendants than civil courts.
In most criminal cases involving former soldiers, civil courts are preferable.
Former soldiers, however, should be viewed in a special light when engaging in political violence. As soldiers, members of the armed wing of the state, they received special training. The fact that they use this training against civilian politicians hits the heart of democracy. It is a betrayal of the fundamental principle that the military must be subject to the people. It is a rejection of the soldier’s oath on the constitution. There are good reasons that this oath is lifelong and not tied to active service time.
By dealing with former soldiers attempting a coup, military courts create a deterrent for the entire military. In addition, in this way the military will be forced to resolve its own internal problems and weed out potential insurgents. Cleaning up the military and making sure it has not been infected with Seditionists will be an important task in the years to come. Forcing the military to deal with current and retired rogue soldiers is one way to expedite this crucial cleanup.