Wineke: Now they’re undermining the military

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MADISON, Wis. — A democracy can flourish only if the people trust their institutions.

One by one, the Trump cult – which is increasingly only tangentially associated with the former president himself – is trying to undermine that trust.

It has been fairly successful in destroying public trust in the news media and replacing it with “alternative facts” web sites and cable television outlets. FOX News is the most prominent of these. But if you pay attention to the cult, its adherents, prominently including Trump, are doing everything they can to wean viewers from the network.

It has embraced and, then, subverted much of the Evangelical Christian movement.

It has so undermined trust in the nation’s public health establishment that Trump friendly politicians and commentators keep calling for Dr. Anthony Fauci – once the country’s most respected experts on epidemic disease – to be prosecuted and jailed, arguing that Fauci is responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has created an ongoing assault on our elections process, once the envy of the world. Trump has yet to concede defeat to President Biden and, despite assurances from every credible investigator, a large part of the Republican Party is convinced Biden is not a legitimate president.

One American institution has remained above the controversy, however. The American military remains the country’s most respected institution.

And, now, the cult is going after the military.

Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, who has millions of nightly viewers, attacks the military establishment almost every night.

He currently is on a rampage against Joint Chiefs of Staff leader General Mark Milley.

Milley, Carlson says, achieved his role by being “obsequious” to civilian superiors.

When the general defended the military’s desire to provide its officers with well-rounded perspectives on the nation’s problems, Carlson responded by calling the general a “pig” and “stupid.”

“Hard to believe that man wears a uniform,” Carlson said. “He’s that unimpressive.”

Laura Ingraham, another popular FOX commentator, called for the Pentagon to be defunded, insisting the military has been taken over by a “far left Marxist and racist ideology.”

“Why isn’t Congress just saying ‘We’re not going to give you a penny until all this is eradicated from the Pentagon budget?” she asked.

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said of Milley “with generals like this, it is no wonder we’re fought considerably more wars than we’ve won.”

There is always an argument to the point I’m making and it goes something like “we aren’t attacking the military; we’re just pointing out the incompetence of its leaders.” We heard that a lot when Trump started attacking the FBI. It’s nonsense. What the cult is doing is trying to destroy the institutions by destroying their leaders.

The effort probably won’t work. But it is causing a lot of problems.