This article was first published in the Winter 1992-93 issue of Parameters.
The letter that follows takes us on a darkly imagined excursion into the future. A military coup has taken place in the United States—the year is 2012—and General Thomas E. T. Brutus, Commander in-Chief of the Unified Armed Forces of the United States, now occupies the White House as permanent Military Plenipotentiary. His position has been ratified by a national referendum, though scattered disorders still prevail and arrests for acts of sedition are underway. A senior retired officer of the Unified Armed Forces, known here simply as Prisoner 222305759, is one of those arrested, having been convicted by court-martial for opposing the coup. Prior to his execution, he is able to smuggle out of prison a letter to an old War College classmate discussing the “Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012.”
In it, he argues that the coup was the outgrowth of trends visible as far back as 1992. These trends were the massive diversion of military forces to civilian uses, the monolithic unification of the armed forces, and the insularity of the military community. His letter survives and is here presented verbatim.
It goes without saying (I hope) that the coup scenario above is purely a literary device intended to dramatize my concern over certain contemporary developments affecting the armed forces, and is emphatically not a prediction.
-The Author, Charles J. Dunlap Jr.
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