Once to Every Man and Nation: The Military and Donald Trump

For the lowdown on what went down this week, read Dexter Filkins, Trump’s Public-Relations Army: Will the military allow the President to use it for political advantage?, and the very well connected David Ignatius, How Trump came to the brink of deploying active-duty troops in Washington. On the immense influence of Jim Mattis—on the military—read Ben Waldman, The Mattis Effect: The legend comes for Trump.

Bottom line: there was a big shouting match, and the brass talked Trump out of issuing an unconstitutional order to the military, to bust up peaceful protests. Orange Man backed down.

Bottom line for next week: detestable folks, of the ilk of Tom Cotton, will keep on pressing Trump to order out the military. And they will start calling him a wimp when nothing happens.

And Trump will have to decide whether to issue that unconstitutional order.

And the brass will have to decide whether to obey it.

* * *

Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide

In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;

Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,

Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,

And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.

Then to side with truth is noble,

When we share her wretched crust,

Ere her cause bring fame and profit,

And ’tis prosperous to be just;

Then it is the brave man chooses

While the coward stands aside,

James Russell Lowell, December 11,1845