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'That is a court-martial offense, and yes, you can be recalled to active duty to be court-martialed'



James Mattis

Military and legal experts are warning that retired military officers could be punished for criticizing President Trump.

"Retired officers can't make contemptuous remarks of the commander-in-chief," said John Dowd, a former Marine Corps Judge Advocate and former Trump legal adviser, in a Just the News report.

"They're all subject to recall. They're subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice until they die."

The report recounted some of the recent criticism of Trump:


  • Former Special Operations Command chief Adm. William McRaven published a New York Times commentary called "Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President" and then told CNN Trump is working to destroy the nation.
  • Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell told CNN that Trump has "drifted away" from the U.S. Constitution and charged he "lies all the time."
  • Retired Lt. Gen. John Allen, who commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan, claimed the Constitution is under threat from the president.
  • Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who was in Bill Clinton’s cabinet, called Trump a threat to national security.
  • Among others, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen, who in 2012 gave up his computers to the FBI in a cybersecurity investigation, claimed Trump is giving succor to foreign detractors.

Then came the attack from former Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis.

"We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership," Mattis said. "We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society."

But Just the News noted UCMJ, Title 10 of the U.S. Code, Section 888, bans using "contemptuous words" against the president.

"As part of the UCMJ, governing military law, you cannot use contemptuous words against certain officials, including the president," one active duty Army judge advocate general corps officer said. "That is a court-martial offense, and yes, you can be recalled to active duty to be court-martialed."

"The sudden rush by retired flag officers to come out and declare the commander-in-chief to be the greatest threat to our Constitution, is nothing short of abhorrent," Army veteran Chad Longell told Just the News. "While rioters loot and burn the country, while anarchists attempt to take over an American city, and while many are now calling for the abolition of entire police departments, these leaders think the president's style is the greatest threat to our country?"

Retired Col. Jim Bathurst charged the former leaders were engaging in "trash talk."

JTN noted many in the military consider the statements political.

"Where were they during the Obama administration, when the rules of engagement (ROE) were getting American soldiers killed?” demanded retired infantry officer and combat veteran Jim Lechner, a history professor. “The administration imposed an unworkable strategy and ROEs that were criminal. Why didn’t these flag officers speak up about that?"