National Defense

This Seems Like a Bad Idea

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Daily Beast reports that the Trump regime is considering removing Trump from the loop and delegating more authority to the Pentagon, allowing them to launch raids on their own initiative.

In declared war zones, U.S. commanders have the authority to make such calls, but outside such war zones, in ungoverned or unstable places like Somalia, Libya, or Yemen, it can take permissions all the way up to the Oval Office to launch a drone strike or a special-operations team.

Trump’s subsequent defense of the Yemen raid, and discussion of accelerating other counterterrorist operations, shows his White House will be less risk averse to the possibility of U.S.—or civilian—casualties, unlike the Obama White House, which military officials say was extremely cautious to the point of frustrating some military commanders and counterterrorist operators.

I have mixed feelings about this because everything Trump touches turns to shit and, consequently, this may or may not be a better path forward for men and women in uniform.

But speaking of service members, seniors officers and generals should have their own reasons to be concerned because this seems like a very convenient way to throw them under the bus when things go wrong. Just yesterday, Trump washed his hands of responsibility and blamed the military for the disastrous raid in Yemen. "They lost Ryan" Trump said, referring to the Navy SEAL who was killed in action.

Taking Trump out of the loop would provide him with plausible deniability for the actions of American forces that are technically under his command.

  • ninjaf

    I don’t know why I am surprised. He got deferments to get out of serving during the Vietnam war and he wants a deferment now. #DraftDodgerInChief

    That said, I am torn like most here.

  • Draxiar

    As much as I am loathe to have trump in charge of anything…especially the military…he doesn’t get to duck out of what he signed up for. #partyofpersonalresponsibility

  • Aynwrong

    On the one hand, this is handing what seems like an enormous amount of power over to the military. Power the military is not supposed to have.

    On the other hand, Donald Trump is easily the most incompetent President in at least a century and possibly the least concerned with anything but himself in the country’s history. The commanders in the armed forces are light years more experienced than him (or most presidents in fairness), will be genuinely concerned for the lives of the troops (Trump is incapable of this) and they will also concern themselves with the details of a mission that Trump himself would consider tedious and beneath him. I doubt he has the attention span and focus to fully comprehend these details anyway.

    If this does happen, it will prove one thing beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    Donald J. Trump is a coward.

  • muselet

    Donald Trump never wanted to be president; he just wanted to win the presidency.

    Now that he’s president, he’s in over his head and bored. He wants to be stimulated, not sit behind a desk and make decisions. So he’ll let military commanders decide what to do—as long as they pretend it’s somehow about Da’esh—so he can spend more time on Twitter.

    This will not end well.


    • Username1016

      Yep. He treated it like the Miss America contest — “Crown me the best!” (Cf. Lynda Barry’s “Special Award of the Universe.”) It was all about the validation. He has zero interest in the job.

  • Username1016

    Worrisome too, because it’s a core tenet of our democracy (isn’t it?) that the military is under civilian control. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with giving that up.

    • Badgerite

      This. Very much this. Also these decisions are supposed to take into consideration things that the military may not be aware of. How could you put the onus on the military to decide whether to do an operation such as the one that killed Osama Bin Laden? It would involve an assault within the sovereign territory of an ostensible ally without their permission. There are political concerns that have to be weighed along with military concerns.
      We do not put generals in charge of that. On the other hand, trump is an idiot. So. What to do?

    • Scopedog

      But this is all part of Bannon’s plan to deconstruct the government we have. Bannon wants to burn all of it down, because he’s a fucking Leninist and see’s government as the enemy–especially a government that is well-run (as we had under Obama).