The man who said he 'would have been a good general' has lost the respect of those who actually earned the title.
Donald Trump avoided military service during Vietnam due to an alleged case of bone spurs, and he once said avoiding sexually transmitted diseases from his various partners was his personal "Vietnam" that should have earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor.
But several of the retired generals who served under Trump have recently made clear that they don't think much of him or his dangerous foreign policy approach.
Trump, who has boasted that he "would have been a good general" and repeatedly claimed to "know more about ISIS than the generals do," began his administration by appointing an array of former generals to key roles, including former Marine Gen. James Mattis as his first secretary of defense and former Marine Gen. John Kelly as his first secretary of Homeland Security and then as his second chief of staff.
In recent days, as Trump's Syria policy and his abrupt decision to abandon the Kurds and appease Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have become clear, several of the generals who served under Trump have publicly criticized him.
"The abrupt policy decision to seemingly abandon our Kurdish partners could not come at a worse time. The decision was made without consulting US allies or senior US military leadership and threatens to affect future partnerships at precisely the time we need them most," Votel observed.
Mattis, the man Trump once called "A true General's General," expressed concern about the move as well, telling NBC News last week that taking off the pressure meant "ISIS will resurge. It’s absolutely a given that they will come back." An angry Trump reportedly dismissed his concerns on Wednesday, calling him "the world's most overrated general."
Thursday night, Mattis unloaded on Trump, noting that Trump had also called 21-time Academy Award nominee Meryl Streep "over-rated." He joked that this makes him the Streep of generals. Mattis also mocked Trump's military avoidance, saying he "earned my spurs on the battlefield" while Trump "earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor."
In a piece for the November issue of The Atlantic, four unnamed recently retired generals — three of whom served directly under Trump — talked with Mark Bowen about their thoughts on Trump.
"In 20 years of writing about the military, I have never heard officers in high positions express such alarm about a president," Bowen observed, noting that they believe "Trump’s pronouncements and orders have already risked catastrophic and unnecessary wars in the Middle East and Asia, and have created severe problems for field commanders engaged in combat operations."
According to his story, the retired generals shared the views that Trump "disdains expertise," "trusts only his own instincts," "resists coherent strategy," is "reflexively contrary," and "has a simplistic and antiquated notion of soldiering."
Back in January, Kelly also publicly broke with Trump, calling his time as Trump's chief of staff the "least" favorite job he'd ever had and disagreeing with many of the administration's policy decisions.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.