Leon Panetta, slamming President Trump’s boasts about his recent use of military force, argued Thursday that the Pentagon serves the people rather than the administration.
The Hill reported that Panetta, who was the CIA director and defense secretary under former President Obama, appeared on MSNBC to discuss the U.S. bombing of an ISIS compound in Afghanistan. Following the attack, which authorities said killed 36 people, Trump declared: “Everybody knows exactly what happened, so, and what I do is I authorize my military.”
Panetta objected to the term “my military.” He explained: “The military belongs to the country. Our defense system belongs to the country. And it’s not the president’s military; it’s the military of the United States of America, and he has responsibility as commander-in-chief to be able to make decisions in regards to our military. … If you ask the men and women in uniform who they are responsible to, I think their answer would be that they are responsible to the United States of America.”
Trump praised service members who carried out the attack, which involved a non-nuclear weapon dubbed the “Mother of All Bombs.” He proclaimed: “We have the greatest military in the world, and they’ve done a job as usual, so we have given them total authorization. And that’s what they’re doing. And, frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately.”
The president’s defenders were quick to point out that Obama also seemed to suggest that he controlled the military. In 2013, the ex-president was referring to poison-gas attacks in Syria when he said: “The world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons. I have not made a final decision about various actions that might be taken to help enforce that norm. But as I’ve already said, I have had my military and our team look at a wide range of options.”
U.S. officials have accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of ordering the 2013 attacks, as well as the sarin-gas bombing last week that took the lives of more than 80 civilians.
Source: The Hill
Photo: The Hill