Military Leaders, Experts Agree: Trump is Wrong on Mosul

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This week, Donald is adding to his long history of trashing the U.S. military and disrespecting veterans and military families. Trump has been criticizing the Iraqi-led military operation in Mosul, despite the fact that U.S. military experts have called him out for his reckless and disrespectful claims.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted “The attack on Mosul is turning out to be a total disaster. We gave them months of notice. U.S. is looking so dumb.” At his rally in Florida, Trump went on to say, “Our leadership is stupid. These are stupid people.” And on Monday, he gave an interview in which he said, “You see how badly that fight is going.”

Not only are many of Trump’s comments flat-out wrong, he demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of military strategy. Hillary Clinton addressed his comments yesterday in New Hampshire saying, “He’s proving to the world what it means to have an unqualified commander-in-chief. It’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous.”

Military experts agree – Trump is wrong about Mosul:

New York Times: Donald Trump Is Wrong on Mosul Attack, Military Experts Say

Politico: Trump misfires on Mosul

The Hill: Mosul campaign Trump called ‘total disaster’ making gains, officials say

Wall Street Journal: Trump at Odds With Pentagon in Calling Mosul a ‘Total Disaster’

Washington Post’s Josh Rogin: Why is Trump rooting against U.S. troops in Mosul?

Jeff McCausland, retired Army colonel and former dean at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA: “What this shows is Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about military strategy.”

Robert Gates, former defense secretary: “‘When you look at the other things he’s said about the military, about how the senior officers are a disaster and so on and so forth, my guess is most folks on active duty don’t take seriously what he has to say,’ said Robert Gates, who served as defense secretary for both Bush and Obama.”

Mark Kimmitt, retired one-star Army general and former Pentagon official: “‘Strategic surprise is rarely accomplished, but tactical surprise — the how and where of low-level attacks — is kept secret,’ said Mark Kimmitt, a retired one-star Army general and former senior Pentagon official. ‘Mr. Trump does not seem to understand this critical distinction between strategy and tactics.’”

Richard A. Kohn, professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina: “But the endorsements, the reverence of Patton and MacArthur, and Mr. Trump’s military assessment do not impress national security historians like Richard H. Kohn, a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina: “I don’t think it really demonstrates any understanding of warfare.”

George Little, former CIA and Pentagon senior official: “Shameful that @realDonaldTrump has declared the battle for Mosul a failure before it’s really even begun. Another reason #ImWithHer.”

Peter Mansoor, retired Army colonel: “Peter Mansoor, a retired Army colonel who aided Petraeus in Iraq, said political rhetoric such as Trump’s can affect the morale of those ‘serving in uniform at the sharp end of the spear.’”

Robert Scales, retired Army major general and former commandant of the Army War College: “Robert Scales, a retired Army major general and former commandant of the Army War College, said the unfolding Mosul campaign is a course in Military Operations 101 that American and Iraqi armies have followed for years. A large allied force approaches the objective (Mosul, in this case) from multiple directions, establishes a loose cordon around the city, and peels away the outlying towns and villages, all the while opening an escape route for refugees and people who do not want to fight, General Scales said.”

  • “‘There are over a million innocents in the city so you want to give them an opportunity to take cover or to leave,’ said General Scales… Once the advancing force reaches the most hardened fighters, often concentrated in a city center, “You pound the bejesus out of them with artillery and precision-guided bombs until they surrender or die,” General Scales said. ‘There’s absolutely no surprise in all this.’”
  • “‘If you want to kill the bad guys, kill them in the open, not hunkered down in fortified positions, with booby traps strewn all around them,’ said General Scales. ‘Everyone knows that’s’”

Michael Singh, former senior director for Middle East Affairs at the White House: “‘The Mosul operation is an Iraqi operation, not a U.S.-led one,’ rebutted Michael Singh, a former Bush administration official now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ‘And it appears quite likely to succeed in wresting the city from ISIS’ control. The notion of a ‘sneak attack’ makes no sense here — this is a massive operation, and Iraqi and other coalition forces have spent months ‘shaping the battlefield’ in preparation for it.’”

Matthew Spence, former defense official: “”The language he uses and the lack of meaningful critique — it’s unpresidential and deeply unhelpful for American foreign policy.”

And when it comes to the military, Trump’s bluster doesn’t stop with Mosul. Yesterday, in a local interview, Trump falsely suggested that he had been “endorsed largely, at least conceptually, by the military.”

NBC News: Trump Cites Police, Military, ICE Endorsements That Didn’t Happen: “On Monday, he told News4Jax that the United States military ‘conceptually’ endorsed him and that ‘virtually every police department’ in the country backed his bid for the presidency. During last week’s third debate, Trump said his hardline stance on immigration and pledge to build a border wall had earned him an endorsement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But none of that is true.”

Business Insider: “Trump has indeed been endorsed by several dozen retired generals and admirals, but many of the most well-known military figures alive today — including dozens from within the Republican Party itself — have denounced Trump in strong terms. And Trump has said the US military is a ‘disaster.’”

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