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Saturday, November 12, 2022

Where Were The Tanks In The January 6th ‘Coup d'état’? Nowhere, Only A Bunch Of Deep State, MAGA Crazies

A visitor to Haiti during the 1988 coup d’etat when a group of non-commissioned officers in the Presidential Guard overthrew General Henri Namphy and brought General Prosper Avril to power, recorded his impressions:

I was awakened at 3am to the sound of gunfire in the center of the city and to the acrid smoke of burning tires.  Traitors to the revolution were hogtied, beaten,  put in truck tires (necklaces) and burned in flames of kerosene and burning rubber.It wasn’t long before the sound of small arms was drowned out by artillery and the grinding clatter of column of tanks making their way to the Presidential Palace, not far from my hotel.  The thunder of heavy shelling and the rattle of small arm fire continued until daybreak.  The entire city was covered in smoke and thousands of coup supporters could be heard shouting from Delmas to Petionville.  Casualties were relatively light since the armored columns headed up John Brown encountered little resistance and only scattered platoons of insurgents engaged government troops already in disarray. Tanks rumbled their way to Kenscoff to root out any government partisans and had no time to stop and loot the guest belongings of the Oloffson and the Splendide, waterholes of foreign tourists.

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In 1989 Burkina Faso a military coup d'état  planned by Jean-Baptiste Boukary Lingani and Henri Zongo shut down the capital Ouagadougou. This time there was no time for foreigners to evacuate the city, and one member of a United Nations mission staying with his team and others from the international community, wrote this communication to New York:

All staff at the hotel fled the moment gunfire broke out in the city, and we are left to fend for ourselves.  There was no electricity or running water as the rebels destroyed the main power and pumping station serving the hotel.  The temperature has been well over 100F for days, and the situation is desperate.  Day and night the sound of fighting echoes in the courtyard of the hotel where we congregate to escape the stultifying heat of our now non-airconditioned rooms.  The battles are sometimes pitched and horrific, each side firing heavy artillery and rocketry at the other’s positions; and sometimes they are skirmishes, urban warfare where militias search and destroy the enemy in the buildings of the center of the city.  All of us foreign guests at the hotel are desperate, for the supply of bottled water and canned food is dwindling.  Unexpectedly armed soldiers enter the hotel compound and ransack the kitchen stores leaving us with little.  The firing has intensified over the days we have been trapped here.

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In one recent 18 month period, there were seven coups and coup attempts in African nations including Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Sudan, all of them bloody and savage.  Reports by international observers caught in the conflicts were little different from those chronicled above.  

The gunfire was incessant and the rumble of tanks and the thunderous sound of heavy artillery constant.  These were no bloodless affairs meant to intimidate and encourage regime change.  They were murderous affairs, politics and military frustration compounded by ethnic and racial hatred.  Thousands were killed and the restoration of order assured no peace.

Some initial coup d'états turn into full fledged civil wars.   Civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, for example, did not start spontaneously and erupt into the savagery that they became.  There had to have been months of disaffection, treason, treachery, anger, civil and ethnic rivalries which came together at a breaking point, and then the regime was challenged, responded with force, and war was the outcome.   Angola and Mozambique were little different, and even Venezuela, a country considered ‘developed’ and far from the Third World miasma of violence joined in. 

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All of which is to say that those who use the term ‘coup d'état’ for January 6th have no idea what it is, no idea of its brutality and wanton slaughter, and no clue about its intent, purpose, and mobilization. 

Disaffected Malian soldiers had remained in their barracks until they had had enough of the corruption, abuse, thievery, and mismanagement of their President and went into the streets of Bamako and overthrew his regime.  Their rule was no less venal and corrupt, and the country, once admired as one of the few first countries to make a tentative move towards democracy, deteriorated into political and social chaos.  The disenchanted soldiers were no soft and pliant lot, and the coup was as unpleasant as the hundreds of others on the continent.

Was Donald Trump complicit in the assault on the Congress that day?  Was he simply a complaisant, and willing bystander?  Was his reticence and slow to comment delay the tantamount to support?  Perhaps, but to accuse him of planning a coup d’etat is nothing more than dangerous, unfounded speculation.  A serious coup – one designed to remove Congress, to replace it and democracy with an autocratic dictatorship, and to rule absolutely – would have involved the support of the military or at least factions within it; months if not years of strategic planning, resource allocation, intelligence gathering, and civilian mobilization.  Such a coup would never have relied on ragtag, backwoods, Deep State, MAGA crazies.

A surprising number of Americans bought the Democratic line about ‘Democracy’, a hysterical warning that Donald Trump and the Republicans were not defeated after January 6th but strong, resurgent, and determined to accomplish their goal of destroying democracy.  The strategy was brilliant, diverting the attention of the electorate away from pernicious inflation, immigration chaos, wobbly and ill-defined foreign policy, and wild, profligate public spending.  These issues, said Democrats, were nothing compared to the existential crisis facing America.  It was a matter of survival, nothing less.

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The electorate, as docile, easily manipulated, gullible, credulous, and uneducated as ever, bought the fiction hook, line and sinker.  

A Republican victory in the House will help turn back the idiocy, but the damage has already been done.  Progressives have realized that Donald Trump will be the poster boy for evil for many years to come.  At this very moment, they say, he is planning another coup.

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