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 in a battle? You kill them. https://t.co/mLxBd3Wtwn
— LiberalNavySeal (@LiberalNavySeal) June 1, 2020
“During the call, Esper can be heard urging officials to ‘dominate the battlespace.'”
Is this how we want our leaders to describe streets full of mostly peaceful protesters? https://t.co/7kCGjp8BDP
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) June 1, 2020
• Why is SecDef speaking AT ALL re US Cities?
• “Mass & Dominate” (Synonym for “Shock & Awe”)
• “The battlespace”?, The battlespace!? These are American citizens in American Cities!
• “this” is Free Speech
• Your “back to the right normal” is NOT right & it’s NOT normal. https://t.co/EmYHeu2O5H
— Dr. Jack Brown (@DrGJackBrown) June 1, 2020
Former commander of JSOC and SOCOM Tony Thomas on Esper’s “dominate the battlespace” line to governors https://t.co/Mt6MYEexPA
— Wesley Morgan (@wesleysmorgan) June 1, 2020
“Dominate the battlespace”? Aka the cities where Americans live? That language invites violence. How about “provide safety to peaceful demonstrators “? https://t.co/AXuRnsiVGr
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) June 1, 2020
Nothing authoritarian about the Pentagon chief advocating to “dominate the battlespace” of American cities at all https://t.co/zXoFQaK9CM
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) June 1, 2020
Mr. Secretary, I’d prefer the “battlespace” NOT return back to normal because normal includes the extrajudicial killing of black bodies by police with impunity. If we are going to fail at the whole “mass and dominate” situation, can we please fail FORWARD?! https://t.co/qqrK7Zvhth
— Meg Guliford (@mkguliford) June 1, 2020
“Dominate the battlespace”
Secretary of Defense describes American streets and parks using the language he used in December to describe Syria.
That’s not totally insane. https://t.co/r2Kybcqa9g
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) June 1, 2020
“Dominate the battlespace” aka streets of US cities.
When they tell you that they’re fascists believe them https://t.co/FAMiTmpbMQ
— Andrew Lefebvre at home (@AndrewLefebvre) June 1, 2020
I’m sorry, but to hear the civilian head of the Defense Department talking about “dominate the battlespace” when talking about US protestors is absolutely galling
— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) June 1, 2020
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 (@katzish) June 1, 2020
America’s cities are now being referred to as “the battlespace” by the President and our Sec. of Defense — as in, America’s governors need to “dominate the battlespace.” These people have lost their minds.
— Mark Perry (@markperrydc) June 1, 2020
Defense Secretary Esper on the call with Governors told them that they need to “dominate the battlespace”. This is how he referred to protests by (mostly non-violent) American citizens. This regime wants to kill its own people. Welcome to fascism. https://t.co/KgKt5dTsil
— David Wasser (@dwass) June 1, 2020
Vox National security reporter Alex Ward offered this alternative:
“A more powerful approach would be for the National Guard to protect the protestors, to arrange meetings with Governors and protest leadership, and to facilitate the protestors expressions of frustration, distrust, and anger to a wider audience in a meaningful way.” /2
— Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox) June 1, 2020
“Militarized police are just one small factor in the events and circumstances culminating in Floyd’s death. A warlike response from the administratiom perpetuates an already broken system.” /4x
— Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox) June 1, 2020