As President Trump walked through Lafayette Park shortly after police, backed by National Guardsmen, used tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters, there was a man in uniform accompanying him. He was not just any man and he wore not just any uniform.
He was Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the senior-most officer in the U.S. military. He was not wearing his dress service uniform, but instead the camouflage of his combat uniform, as if to underscore that American streets where protesters are angrily demanding an end to institutional police racism are now the “battlespace” that Defense Secretary Mark Esper described.
It’s nowhere near the first time that Milley and other senior officers have worn their combat uniforms in stateside settings, reflecting in part how a generation-long conflict has blurred the lines between peace and war.