Modly’s decision to relieve Crozier came despite the opposition of Adm. Michael Gilday, the chief of naval operations, and Gen. Mark Milley, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both recommended that the decision be left up to the military leadership. (Modly served in the Navy but retired from active duty in 1990 to attend business school.) Gilday and Milley further stressed that such a drastic step should not be taken until an investigation had been conducted.
But Modly refused to wait. It has also been reported that he confided to an aide that Trump wanted Crozier fired and apparently also feared stalling would appear indecisive to the impatient commander-in-chief. Though the president has denied any involvement, his administration has a record of firing anyone who appears disloyal.
….Equally concerning is the way the Trump administration has established new norms for the politicization of the military. These have included involving senior retired officers in political campaigns, urging troops to lobby Congress, deploying forces to the Mexican border to underscore a political statement, and using funds appropriated by the Congress for the military for pet projects.
…Sadly, this is not just the story of a political appointee who allowed his ambition to override his good judgment. Rather it is a warning about a growing threat to a foundation of American democracy.