Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is under fire after telling the nation's governors they need to "dominate the battlespace," referring to the American cities that are scenes of protests that have gripped the nation now for seven days and nights. He also called for a return to "the right normal."
Esper (photo, right), who has only been the head of the DoD since late July, made his disturbing remarks on the same video conference call held by President Donald Trump earlier Monday. That call was characterized as "unhinged" by one listener.
“I think the sooner that you mass and dominate the battlespace, the quicker this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal,” Esper told the governors, as The Washington Post reports. “We need to dominate the battlespace.”
Sec. Esper was criticizing the governors for not making broader use of the National Guard.
Many online expressed outrage.
“Dominate the battlespace?” What the actual fuck. Esper sees voters as the enemy, and what do you do to the enemy i… https://t.co/ErKgNXPrs0— LiberalNavySeal (@LiberalNavySeal) 1591047205.0
"During the call, Esper can be heard urging officials to 'dominate the battlespace.'" Is this how we want our lead… https://t.co/TGuR4ZjzM3— Eric Geller (@Eric Geller) 1591047000.0
• Why is SecDef speaking AT ALL re US Cities? • "Mass & Dominate" (Synonym for "Shock & Awe") • "The battlespace"?,… https://t.co/OZrCkIIAie— Dr. Jack Brown (@Dr. Jack Brown) 1591047857.0
Former commander of JSOC and SOCOM Tony Thomas on Esper’s “dominate the battlespace” line to governors https://t.co/Mt6MYEexPA— Wesley Morgan (@Wesley Morgan) 1591045988.0
“Dominate the battlespace”? Aka the cities where Americans live? That language invites violence. How about “provid… https://t.co/BttKPkSYjZ— Michael McFaul (@Michael McFaul) 1591044901.0
Nothing authoritarian about the Pentagon chief advocating to “dominate the battlespace” of American cities at all https://t.co/zXoFQaK9CM— Trevor Timm (@Trevor Timm) 1591044291.0
Mr. Secretary, I'd prefer the "battlespace" NOT return back to normal because normal includes the extrajudicial kil… https://t.co/3oWvJYO9OO— Meg K. Guliford (@Meg K. Guliford) 1591048278.0
“Dominate the battlespace” Secretary of Defense describes American streets and parks using the language he used in… https://t.co/Y273VckeFb— The Hoarse Whisperer (@The Hoarse Whisperer) 1591039720.0
“Dominate the battlespace” aka streets of US cities. When they tell you that they’re fascists believe them https://t.co/FAMiTmpbMQ— Andrew Lefebvre (@Andrew Lefebvre) 1591048437.0
I’m sorry, but to hear the civilian head of the Defense Department talking about “dominate the battlespace” when ta… https://t.co/4uSeAxhmWJ— Hayes Brown (@Hayes Brown) 1591038999.0
I’m sorry, did you say “dominate the battlespace”? Meaning the streets in front of our homes and businesses? https://t.co/jwShvrM7d9— Amanda Katz (@Amanda Katz) 1591040962.0
America's cities are now being referred to as "the battlespace" by the President and our Sec. of Defense -- as in,… https://t.co/DyIjfol8EI— Mark Perry (@Mark Perry) 1591039779.0
Defense Secretary Esper on the call with Governors told them that they need to "dominate the battlespace". This is… https://t.co/2hTzMcrcq0— David Wasser (@David Wasser) 1591045284.0
Vox National security reporter Alex Ward offered this alternative: