Donald Trump’s own words tell all Americans why he must not become President
By Rear Admiral (Ret.) Richard E. Young
Our constitution provides that only Congress can declare war. Once war starts or is about to start, our president is to execute that war as Commander in Chief as set forth in our constitution. Congress has formally declared war only five times, the last time being on December 8, 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan. So many of our military actions, including Vietnam, where we lost some 58,000 lives, and Iraq, one of the longest military engagements in U.S., history, were born of the Executive Branch, headed by our Commander in Chief. Some were endorsed by specific Congressional resolutions; some were not. Thus, our president as Commander in Chief remains quite unrestrained in his (or her) execution of that war.
It is in this context that Americans need to consider the qualifications and character of Donald Trump. Trump seeks to be our Commander in Chief. But his known and now often demonstrated temperament, judgment, and lack of knowledge of military and diplomatic affairs mark him as completely unsuited to become our Commander in Chief. He has proven time and again that he is unprepared to make critical judgments on our use of military force–putting American military lives in harm’s way, from urgent crisis situations to long term strategic ones.
His own words about what he will do or would have done had he been the Commander in Chief proves this beyond question. So to all: Look at Mr. Trump’s own words, about what he would do, or would have done, if he were the Commander in Chief. Try. Though his surrogates will try, they can’t change what he said and meant.
First example — Twice now, Trump has stated that when we invaded Iraq, we should have “taken their oil,” Iraq’s major asset.
Why? Well, Trump believes “to the victor go the spoils,” a concept long ago discarded by most civilized nations including the United States. Trump further explained that he would permanently keep troops on the ground in Iraq to retain American ownership of the oil and provide protection to oil being shipped to the United States for our usage. Trump spoke these very words during the NBC’s televised “Commander in Chief” forum. He has kept saying them.
Forget for the moment that our country and most others no longer practice imperialism, or even permit it. If Mr. Trump — now speaking as to what he would have done as Commander in Chief — believes this would have solved our problems in the mid East, he is totally wrong. Instead of keeping ISIS from being created, the effect would have been just the opposite, as you would have the 33 million people in Iraq taking to arms and violence if necessary to get their oil back and to kick out the Americans, using force if necessary. Some experts believe that seizing Iraq’s oil would have even constituted a war crime.
This permanent occupation of part of another country — requiring a large standing U.S. Army to protect the oil we are now taking from Iraq — could easily have led to an expanding war with many mideast nations. Our troops would be engaged in an unending quagmire, bleeding lives and treasure. It would foment instability that would move across the globe. Douglas Feth, a senior Bush defense official during the Iraq War, said that Trump’s plan aligns Trump with the views of Stalin.
Haven’t we, as a nation, realized that taking another nation’s assets as the spoils of war, is the antithesis of what our country is all about? Here the supposed leader of the Free World would quickly turn our country into the world’s most despised nation.
And Trump apparently doesn’t know or remember that the United States under George Bush and a broad coalition went to war in 1991 to eject Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait after the ‘Butcher of Baghdad” did exactly what Trump is stating that he would do: forcibly take the oil from a sovereign nation.
It is simply unbelievable that any thinking American would say this is what our foreign policy should be.
Trump’s second example — though much smaller in terms of immediately launching the possible start of World War III, just might be the match that ignites one. Trump said what he would do if he were Commander in Chief: “When they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures at our people…. They will be shot out of the water.”
Low level challenges such as these are certainly not new. They have gone on since our country was formed. They have been going on in this part of the world since the United States increased its naval presence following the 1991 Gulf War.
Our Navy and our current Commander in Chief treat these incidents as exactly what they are — a minor nuisance. They are a rather pitiful “show of force” in the hopes of provoking our country into the kind of disproportionate response Trump espouses.
Do we really want as our Commander in Chief a person in control of our armed forces and nuclear weapons, who would lash out at those who annoy or challenge him over something very minor? Do we really want as our Commander in Chief a person who would take our country into war over such minor gestures? Yes, our Navy could blast them out of the water quite easily on orders from our Commander in Chief, but what then? Is the Navy saying we must eliminate them for our Navy to do its mission? I don’t think so. The Navy, and our current Commander-in Chief, is treating them as exactly what they are: a minuscule effort of trying to hope our Navy will take some precipitous action. Many major wars have started over such little things (World War I).
To elect as Commander in Chief a person who may blow out of the water some small boats of a foreign country — who have as much right to be there as we do — just to make him feel good and “respected,” is unfathomable. Why would any thinking person even contemplate starting a war over something so insignificant?
And remember this: the Commander in Chief of the United States has been given the sole power to execute a war. His orders cannot be overturned. The only control Congress has over the Commander in Chief is to cut off the funds to administer the war — which would take much time to take effect — or to impeach and convict — again, a strung out process. It, the power to execute a war, is the most powerful tool the president has.
To all those who serve or who have served in our military; to all those who have sons and daughters that may serve in our military; to all those who want our country to be strong, and not be bullied or treated with disrespect, think carefully what this person who believes he should be our Commander in Chief has said — what he might have done, or would do if he were elected. Think carefully, for these are his own words.
Denver resident Rear Admiral (Retired) Richard E. Young served in the United State Navy for 35 years, active and reserve. Throughout his time in service, he has received numerous awards and recognition for his support of our military and veterans, both while active and since retirement from the Navy.