US military academies focus on oaths and loyalty to Constitution as political divisions intensify

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — For 75 minutes, Maj. Joe Amoroso quizzed his students in SS202, American Politics, about civilian leadership of the military, the trust between the armed forces and the public, and how the military must not become a partisan tool. There was one answer, he said, that would always be acceptable in his class filled with second-year students at the U.S. Military Academy. Hesitantly, one cadet offered a response: “The Constitution.” “Yes,” Amoroso said emphatically. His message to the students, known as yearlings, was simple: Their loyalty is “not about particular candidates. It’s not a particular person or personality that occupies these positions. It’s about the Constitution.” The emphasis for the next generation of military officers that their loyalty must be focused on the nation’s democratic underpinnings rather than on any individual is a reflection of how the armed forces are being forced to deal with America’s deep political polarization at a time when trust in traditional institutions is eroding. The role of the military in particular has come under scrutiny as former President Donald Trump runs to reclaim the White House and has laid out an aggressive agenda should he win. It includes potentially using the military in ways other presidents have not. That could mean invoking the Insurrection Act to send units to the border or patrol the streets of predominantly Democratic cities. Trump’s rhetoric about top commanders also has raised concerns. While in office, Trump once referred to the military leaders in his administration as “my generals.” Earlier this year, he suggested that a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Army Gen. Mark Milley , be put to death for treason. President Joe Biden, in his first campaign address of the year, warned about Trump’s rhetoric on the military and […]

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By Donato