I saw this and quickly realized it was bad faith bullshit:
Unlike some of my colleagues who are recycling the same talking points, I’m willing to work across the aisle to avoid a shutdown. I’d encourage Leader Jeffries and the Democrats trying to politicize a shutdown to join me on Problem Solvers’ bipartisan short-term funding bill. pic.twitter.com/eP7Nnm1Jmc— Congressman Mike Lawler (@RepMikeLawler) September 29, 2023
How do you politicize something that is so incredibly political and partisan? The GOP is choosing to shut down government and deny services and pay to millions of Americans. Given that politics is usually defined like this:
the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power. [Oxford]
Politics is the way that people living in groups make decisions.
Refusing to pass a budget so that the government can operate is quite political--it is about group decision-making and it is about governance or denial thereof.
Of course, what we really mean is making something a partisan issue--not just that it affects the public, but that the issue at hand is partisan--that the competing parties are taking sides. Of course, again, the shutdown is inherently partisan since one party is inflicting it on the rest of us. For the Dems to point this out does not politicize the shutdown because the shutdown is already a partisan thing.
I raise this because it serves as a useful illustration to correct misconceptions about some civ-mil stuff. General Mark Milley, at his retirement ceremony, did what he has done before--speak too much. Yes, he had a horrible job, being the Chairman at a time where the President (Trump) had no clue about nor any desire to learn the norms of civilian-military relations. Trump did indeed try to politicize the military in the sense of making it a partisan actor. Yes, the military is an inherently political actor and object as war is politics by other means (thanks, Claus), but it is not always an actor in American (or other) partisan competition.
Over the past twenty or so years, the US military has increasingly become a partisan actor, mostly due to the actions of the politicians and not the military, but it gets complex where even standing still can be seen as moving, as Michael Robinson argues quite well in his book (which I have raised before). Anyhow, Milley, in his speech, reminded the military folks of their oath to the constitution, which would be somewhat fine although it would be loaded with subtext given his experiences. And then referred to wannabe dictators, which, of course, is a reference to Trump, and thus made the speech clearly partisan.
As others in this area, such as Kori Schake and Risa Brooks, have noted, this is not Milley's first time to speak too much. He spent much of his last year or two as Chairman trying to improve his legacy by clarifying his Trump problems. This was not doing the military or American civil-military relations, because it was putting the US military squarely in the partisan fight. Which will lead to folks thinking that the US military is taking sides, that politicians choose senior officers based on party affiliation, and so on.
With many of the promotions of senior military leaders already frozen by an effort by Tommy (those who can't, coach) Tuberville, the politicization of ordinary military stuff is accelerating. No need for the Chairman on his way out the door to grease the skids of this.*
* To be clear, having a mil to mil conversation in the middle of a crisis with Chinese senior military officers to assure them that there is no attack coming is the proper thing to do. To take credit for it? Much less proper.
Oh, and in the Canadian context, which seems to be months behind the US now rather than years, platforming a cranky retired general to blast the military as too woke is politicizing the Canadian military.