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Perils for Pentagon as Trump threatens to militarize response to civil unrest

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"Battlespace" was the word Defense Secretary Mark Esper used to describe protest sites in the United States. The top U.S. general reinforced that image by appearing in downtown Washington in camouflage during a Monday evening crackdown.

Helicopters that could easily be mistaken for active duty U.S. military ones staged show-of-force maneuvers in Washington above people protesting the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

As President Donald Trump increasingly turns to militaristic rhetoric at a time of national upheaval, the U.S. military appears to be playing a supporting role - alarming current and former officials who see danger to the U.S. armed forces, one of America's most revered and well funded institutions.

"America is not a battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy," Martin Dempsey, the retired four-star general who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote on Twitter.

A current military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, voiced concern about the lasting damage that would come from using the military as a "political prop."

"Presidents come and go ... the uniform has to be maintained," the official said.

For Trump's critics, the Republican president's reliance on the military in domestic endeavors risks making the armed forces, which are meant to be apolitical, appear aligned with Trump's political agenda. He has previously employed the military to help stem illegal immigration and used........

© Japan Today