Clinton’s latest attack line against Donald Trump: how dare he criticize U.S. generals. But does she remember what she said in 2007?
U.S. generals and admirals have become the theme of 2016 race this week, as the candidates tout their endorsements among the top brass. Trump announced the endorsements of 88 retired generals and admirals on Tuesday; on Wednesday, Clinton announced that she had 95.
But on Wednesday evening, Trump said the below in an exchange with NBC’s Matt Lauer:
“The generals under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have not been successful.Under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the generals have been reduced to rubble, reduced to a point where it is embarrassing for our country…I have great faith in the military. I have great faith in certain of the commanders, certainly. But I have no faith in Hillary Clinton or the leadership.”
In a press conference the following morning, Clinton said Trump “trash talked American generals” and slammed him as “unqualified to be commander in chief.”
The opinion that Trump expressed above is hardly unique to Trump. Retired General Michael Flynn seconded Trump’s statement, saying on Fox News that “there’s a severe disconnect between this White House and frankly the president and our military.” Politico wrote an expose back in 2013 titled “Obama vs. the Generals.”
But to think that Hillary Clinton views U.S. generals as irrefutable or untouchable requires a massive ‘delete’ of an episode from 2007.
The date was 9/11/2007, exactly nine years ago this Sunday. General David Petraeus, the senior American commander in Iraq, appeared before the U.S. Senate to testify about the troop surge in Iraq and push back against the troop withdrawal favored by Democrats. Clinton, who was still a senator and running for president at the time, not only told Petraeus to his face that he was failing, but essentially called him a liar:
“You have been made the de facto spokesmen for what many of us believe to be a failed policy. Despite what I view is your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief.”
Here’s the video.
Can anyone remember back in the rule of King William the Molester leading those troops on the whitehouse lawn? Just a big show off
Trump’s remark reflects how the generals are micromanaged to the point that they are not afforded any freedom of action whatsoever. First and foremost of Obama’s concerns is his own political fortunes and he takes no risks with that.
This is what Trump is talking about; hamstringing our able military leaders because Obama doesn’t trust they know as much about military theory as Obama does.
Hillary attacks General Petraeus and accuses him of lying, though we now know that the General was completely accurate and the surge was totally successful. We also know that both Hillary and Obama opposed the successful surge for political reasons only. Both are totally unfit to be Commander in Chief.
Clinton’s carefully measured words were directed against a policy that was not, in her opinion, achieving its intended end, not against the military commander who was pursuing it. Nor was it a blanket criticism of our military leaders, who have most certainly not been “reduced to rubble,” assuming I’m understanding the intended meaning of Donald Trump’s strange metaphor correctly. The fact of the matter is that our military has been executing the Obama administration’s strategy against ISIS in a highly effective manner. Anyone who tells you a different—and unspecified—approach to ISIS could solve the problem in short order is lying. We essentially needed to keep doing what we’re doing, and persist at it until ISIS is finished.
Clinton’s comments were in response to Petraeus’ September, 2007 statements before a joint session of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees.