If elected, Trump would provoke a political and constitutional crisis within a year.
My public comments in the media on national security since leaving active service have tried to steer clear of partisan debate. I am not registered with either political party. I have worked with loyalty and genuine respect at very senior levels for both President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton.
The shameful reaction by presidential candidate Donald Trump to the mother and father of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan prompts me to state publicly that Trump should never serve as our commander in chief. The decorated Capt. Khan, who was killed in action in Iraq at age 27 while bravely defending his soldiers during a suicide attack, is the best America offers. His grieving parents were understandably outraged at the degrading notion that America should have a religious screen, legally denying immigration status to Muslims.
Trump’s cruel cultural jab at Ghazala Kahn as a grieving Gold Star mother is simply the final straw. In my judgment, Trump, if elected, would provoke a political and constitutional crisis within a year. He has called for the illegal torture of enemy detainees. He has called for the deliberate targeting and murder of civilians as retribution. He has questioned whether the U.S. should actually fulfill our defense obligations under the NATO pact. These NATO obligations are a U.S. Senate-ratified treaty that Trump should know is the highest law of the land.
Further, Trump has implied that the U.S. should encourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons — allies like Japan and South Korea were urged to become nuclear powers. He has praised Saddam Hussein as an effective anti-terrorist fighter. Hussein was a mass murderer who targeted his own people with an inhumane vengeance to include employing chemical weapons.
Trump has publicly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has become a major threat to Western Europe with his invasion of Ukraine and muscular threats to the Baltic States and NATO regional military forces. Putin has also managed to reverse Russia’s earlier steady march toward a law-based state and is turning that magnificent country into a criminal oligarchy.
He is remarkably ignorant and uneducated about the world that we face and the means we may use to defend ourselves.”
Finally, it is concerning that Trump lacks the caution and careful judgment that is required by a future president of the United States when forming national-security and foreign-policy decisions. Trump was shameful in his insulting criticism of U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is one of the most venerated American military heroes since World War II. Trump has boasted that his Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps time at a small military high school made him more knowledgeable about national security than most career military professionals. He has stated he knows more about the Islamic State than the generals of the U.S. Armed Forces. Trump has also suggested we can walk away from our U.S. Treasury debt to the international community in a form of selective bankruptcy. This would be a curious form of collective economic suicide.
Trump sounds like a 12-year-old — a willful and abusive braggart. He is remarkably ignorant and uneducated about the world that we face and the means we may use to defend ourselves.
I served in the Armed Forces for 32 years. At retirement, I was a four-star joint-theater commander. In my considered judgment, Trump is unqualified to be the president of the United States and fulfill the role of commander in chief of the 2.2 million men and women of the Armed Forces.