A double fence part of a museum commemorating victims of Soviet-era political repressions located in a former prison camp, some 110 kms (69 miles) northeast of the west Siberian city of Perm, Russia, Friday, March 6, 2015. Historians estimate that under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, 700,000 people were executed during the peak of the purges in 1937-1938. Millions more died of harsh labor and cruel treatment in the giant Gulag prison camp system, mass starvation in Ukraine and southern Russia and deportations of ethnic minorities. (AP Photo/Alexander Agafonov)

Trump’s National Security Moves Smell Like a Purge

The word “purge” conjures up really dark and forbidding images. But President Trump removing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence as standing members of the National Security Council smacks of maximum purginess.

Trump likes to hear diverse and oppositional views, but only when they’re invited. So the DNI and JCS now must be summoned to voice their unfiltered opinion. Replacing them on NSC is the Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon. The left–meaning the main stream media–already sees Bannon as Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (that is Heinrich Himmler for the historically challenged). And this move gives them no reason to believe differently.

The stated reason for the change is to defeat ISIS.

The White House thinks the changes will make the NSC more adaptive to modern threats. Trump said the changes would bring “a lot of efficiency and, I think, a lot of additional safety.”

It’s fine if Trump thinks the JSC and DNI’s time is better spent actually fighting ISIS versus attending White House meetings. And if ISIS is in fact crushed, Trump can claim that feather for his cap. But a political purge is a political purge, and Bannon has neither an operational intelligence nor a military portfolio. His portfolio is political.

This isn’t the first time Trump and Priebus have plotted a political purge, and this move has Priebus’ fingerprints all over it. Remember this from May?

A directive from on high has come down at the RNC. Those who cannot back Trump need to pack up and get out by the end of the week.

I don’t like this move, and not just for the optics. The JSC and DNI’s opinions are (and should be) valuable to the NSC group. Groupthink is always a problem and needs to be aggressively fought. Instead, Trump appears to be encouraging it by vetting ideas through his political filters.

Honestly, it’s dangerous. Think Bay of Pigs. Think Vietnam. And if you’re a liberal, I don’t need to mention what you’re thinking.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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