What does it take for America to win a war? To be great (again) and “safe again”?
One of the most successful American generals, whom many like myself admire, is David Petraeus. We met during his term as commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in early 2011 and discussed strategy (picture) and the wisdoms of my long-time mentor Dr Fritz Kraemer, a good friend of his father-in-law.
- Pentagon strategist Dr. Kraemer has predicted a rise of Trump in an essay from 1978, published in my biography “True Keeper of the Holy Flame”: “We are facing a very real growing danger that the American people will get so bored, or apathetic, or cynical and disgusted with the artificiality and hollowness of “politics” that they will simply refuse to participate! In our 1992 national election only 37.3% of the eligible voters actually took the trouble of going to the polls, which means that almost 2/3 of the electorate did not find it worth their while to cast a ballot. If the normal, “legitimate” but dehydrated, politicians can no longer move or attract people, they are leaving a void, an ever more yawning gap which will be filled, inevitably, by demagogues speaking fiery words with shining eyes; and the masses – feeling empty, unled and disoriented – will turn to the false prophets with their seemingly inspired and therefore rather inspiring messages.”
Petraeus won the surge in Iraq not by waterboarding enemies or carpet-bombing, but conquering again the lost hearts and minds of the Sunni minority. This genius general turned those enemies of the US into friends and won.
At the Hindukush, his style was an intellectual grand strategy keeping Clausewitz in mind, a delicate balance between the tribes, Kabul, and local powers, including more than 40 ISAF-allies fighting al Qaida and the Taliban.
He was an advocate for limiting the use of force to the minimum needed and avoided civilian casualties.
His style to win two wars, make America great and defend the values of the American constitution was the opposite of what Trump wants to do as commander-in-chief.
A candidate who has not served this country a day in his life.
Who had no political responsibility before.
Who is focused on just one thing: himself.
The want-to-be-commander in chief Trump seems to have studied war from Rambo and Top Gun movies or Fox news coverage only. A shoot out with the biggest guns. Shoot, win, and ask later. Burn down the saloon.
Trump’s Gotham-city-Rambo-style reminds me of Putin’s Chechnya strategy. A kill-all-my-enemies approach with no boundaries.
According to Donald Trump everything goes: he wants to waterboard suspected terrorists, or kill the family members of those who carry out terrorism.
It will not work. Needed are detailed double strategies for Syria and Iraq or Afghanistan to win.
It will make a lot of trouble.
It is dangerous.
It is even illegal.
It will sink the morale of the American military.
It will make America less credible in the world and make them weaker.
- He wants to destroy NATO- the base of transatlantic security since 70 years.
- He likes the macho-style of Putin and the Russian president likes him too. Now the Russian intelligence has been involved in a cyber-attack into the computers of the headquarters of the Democratic party, and leaked many e-mails to hurt Hillary Clinton. So Trump is the choice of the ex- KGB director and the counterpart of the United States in the Kremlin. In the White House he will do more harm than any Russian spy you can imagine.
Should the American soldier follow those orders of a commander-in-chief named Donald Trump, or the Uniform Code of Military Justice that governs their actions and the rules of international law, limiting the use of force against the aggressor and not attacking their families?
In a recent statement, Trump tried to clarify that he would not order a military officer to disobey the law. If elected, he said, he will be bound by laws “just like all Americans” and will meet those responsibilities. He added that he feels very strongly about the need to attack and kill terrorists who target the United States and its people, and will not forget the attacks of September 11, 2001.
“I will use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies,” Trump said. “I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters.”
This is tactical only. He is changing his positions within one sentence regularly.
During the 11th GOP debate he made this clear when answering a question about what he would do if U.S. service members refused to comply with his orders:
“They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me, believe me,” he said. “If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.”
“It’s fine, and if we want to go stronger, I’d go stronger, too, because frankly that’s the way I feel,” Trump said. “Can you imagine, can you imagine these people, these animals over in the Middle East that chop off heads sitting around talking and seeing that we’re having a hard problem with waterboarding?”
“We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding,” he added.
The problem will be that as commander-in-chief he selects the generals who please him. This happened after Adolf Hitler gained power in 1933: All traditional generals opposing a new world war number two here were neutralized within few months and in the end, only the yes-men were in command.
This will certainly happen in 2017 if Trump is elected. At the end, the officers and the simple GI will not know whom to follow, or what is legal or not. He will as well select legal advisors who please him. Trump can change and will change his mind any minute – a ticking time bomb. At best his presidential directives will be vague and leave all risks with the fighting soldiers on the ground – a mess.
Trump will neglect that all strategies have to implement hard and soft factors to win.
He will forget that both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were won first and lost with wrong political decisions later.
He will take the military into shabby legal waters, discredit their values and lead them into one defeat after another.
- He will destroy NATO.
- He will start appeasement with Putin
- He will get no support by the Muslim leaders that he needs.
- ISIS will love him as a golden propaganda tool to recruit more terrorists against America.
His victory in the election would bring America down to the lowest level of morality soon.
Any true American patriot must stop Trump now.
As my long-time mentor and Pentagon-strategist Dr Fritz Kraemer told me many times: “Character counts- not position and title”. Let me add: and billions in your account.
Trump is the anti-Christ- an amoral reality star at the wrong place in the noble White House.
Army Lt Gen Sean MacFarland said in a briefing in the Pentagon: “We’re the United States of America, and we have a set of guiding principles and those affect the way we as professional soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines, conduct ourselves on the battlefield. So indiscriminate bombing, where we don’t care if we’re killing innocents or combatants, is just inconsistent with our values. And it’s what the Russians have been accused of doing in parts of northwest Syria. Right now we have the moral high ground, and I think that’s where we need to stay.”