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By F. Michael Maloof and John Griffing

WASHINGTON – President Obama is aiming a “wrecking operation” at the U.S. military, according to a former Defense Department official who was reacting to a WND report about his dismissal of nine generals and flag officers so far during his second term.

And the official was joined by hundreds of commenters who responded to the story with blasts of criticism for the president.

WND reported earlier this week that Obama this year alone has fired some nine generals and flag officers, on top of at least four similar dismissals during his first term.

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, explained right away it looked like a part of Obama’s strategy to reduce U.S. standing worldwide.

“Obama is intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged,” he charged.

Duty personnel seem to back up this concern, suggesting that the firings are meant to send a message to “young officers down through the ranks” not to criticize the president or White House politics.

“They are purging everyone, and if you want to keep your job, just keep your mouth shut,” one source said.

Frank Gaffney, founder and director of the Center for Security Policy and former Undersecretary of Defense for the Reagan Administration, cast his lot in with Vallely.

“President Obama is engaged in a wrecking operation on the U.S. military particularly, and under the guise of ‘fundamentally transforming America,’ doing what he can to remake society in his image,” he told WND.

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Gaffney said he believes Obama may be attempting to install military rule or martial law as part of his plans, saying, “One of the issues that has been raised by colleagues of mine who are serious students of national security policy and practice is that a way of accelerating the transforming of America would be essentially dispensing with our constitutional form of government under the rubric of ‘emergency measures,’ martial law, a military shutdown of our society.

“Does the wrecking operation of the military have something to do with that particular purpose?” asked Gaffney.

Gaffney answers his own question by claiming the existence of an ongoing “purge.”

“Increasingly of late, there is effectively a purge going on of people of faith from the U.S. military, a social engineering of the institution of the military between homosexuals and women in combat, the evisceration of the military’s training resources and in some cases, senior leadership. Could you at some point get to a point where that military was willing to enforce martial law against the people of the United States under circumstances less than national emergency?

“It’s a conversation we ought to be having,” he said.

“When you look at the assaults on the Constitution Obama is engaged in, when you look at the assaults on the military Obama is engaged in, at least it is a scenario [martial law] that could both explain what he is doing and … what he has in mind,” Gaffney continued.

He contends, “The American people don’t want any part of where Obama is taking us, despite the fact they have elected him twice, but I believe that’s mostly because they are not aware of how truly radical and subversive Obama’s agenda is.”

A number of other retired generals told WND they aren’t commenting on the issue, apparently out of caution due to the potential for political retribution by the Obama administration.

Besides, even those who are retired remain linked to the Department of Defense through the pensions, benefits and other ties.

The reluctance to comment extended to the motives behind the handling of these generals’ individual cases, most of whom were dismissed for “personal misbehavior.”

“Yes, I have my own personal thoughts on the matter,” one retired general told WND, “but they are most likely just as authoritative as any other citizen.”

Vallely lacks those inhibitions, charging the White House won’t investigate its own officials but finds it easy to fire military commanders “who have given their lives for their country.”

“Obama will not purge a civilian or political appointee because they have bought into Obama’s ideology,” Vallely said. “The White House protects their own. That’s why they stalled on the investigation into Fast and Furious, Benghazi and Obamacare. He’s intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”

Vallely served in the Vietnam War and retired in 1993 as deputy Commanding General, Pacific Command. Today, he is chairman of the Military Committee for the Center for Security Policy and is co-author of the book “Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.”

Public comments that followed WND’s report on the firing of the generals and flag officers was anonymous, but pointed none-the-less.

“If we don’t impeach Obama SOON, it will be too late for America and Americans,” wrote Geneva Phoenix.

“Barry’s just following the communist playbook. Stalin did the same thing when he came to power…,” said Ernie Kaputnik.

“Obammy is purging the military. He is doing it for two reasons 1) To help destroy America’s ability to protect itself and so it will have less standing in the world. 2) To advance his I’m-better-than-GOD agenda,” added Old Salty Dog99.

“Obama is the cancer within the body of America. It is metastasizing now, and spreading that cancer thru the land…,” wrote Alfred King of Wessex.

Other readers compared Obama’s actions to those of Germany’s Adolf Hitler, or the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin.

Three of the nine firings just this year were linked to the controversy surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. special mission in Benghazi, Libya.

In one case, U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham, who commanded U.S. African Command when the consulate was attacked and four Americans were killed, was highly critical of the decision by the State Department not to send in reinforcements.

Obama has insisted there were no reinforcements in the area that night.

But Ham contends reinforcements could have been sent in time, and he said he never was given a stand-down order. However, others contend that he was given the order but defied it. He was immediately relieved of his command and retired.

Another flag officer involved in the Benghazi matter – which remains under congressional investigation – was Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette. He commanded the Carrier Strike Group.

He contends that aircraft could have been sent to Libya in time to help the Americans under fire. He later was removed from his post for alleged profanity and making “racially insensitive comments.”

Army Major Gen. Ralph Baker was the commander of the Joint Task Force-Horn at Camp Lamar in Djibouti, Africa. Baker contended that attack helicopters could have reached the consulate in time on the night of the attack.

He was relieved of his command by Ham for allegedly groping a civilian. However, there has been no assault or sexual misconduct charge filed against him with the military Judge Advocates General’s Office.

Six others were removed for a variety of alleged misconduct. They include Army Brig. Gen. Bryan Roberts, who took command of Fort Jackson in 2011; Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant, director of Strategic Planning and Policy for the U.S. Pacific Command; Marine Corps Major Gen. Charles M. M. Gurganus, regional commander in the Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan; Army Lt. Gen. David Holmes Huntoon Jr., as the 58th superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command; and Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, commander of the 20th Air Force.

John Griffing contributed to this report from Texas.

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