White House–Pentagon Divide Is Bad and Won’t Be Getting Better Soon

White House–Pentagon Divide Is Bad and Won’t Be Getting Better Soon

One symptom of a country in decline is a widening rift between civilian leadership and the military. In the USA’s case, this has been caused by our recent inability to select a decent president.

As the four armed forces chiefs testified in the Senate about the national security dangers of mandated budget caps, Sen. Lindsey Graham asked each officer if he had discussed the readiness crisis with President Obama.

Their unanimous answers before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week underscored a key aspect of the Obama presidency, noted by his own past defense secretaries and, in a recent disclosure, a former NATO commander: The president maintains a wary approach in dealing with the four-star generals and admirals who direct his wars.

That is to say, Obama openly dislikes and distrusts them.

Robert M. Gates, Mr. Obama’s first defense secretary, wrote in his memoirs that Mr. Obama deeply distrusts senior military leaders and suspects them of conspiring against him. He recalled one meeting in which the president resorted to a clipped “That’s an order” to the top brass.

“That order was unnecessary and insulting, proof positive of the depth of the Obama White House distrust of the nation’s military leadership,” a “shocked” Mr. Gates wrote.

“The controlling nature of the Obama White House and the staff took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level,” he said in his memoir, “Duty.”

Those top officers who will not subordinate winning wars to Obama’s loony-left ideology are removed. Army General Stanley McChrystal, former top commander in Afghanistan, was fired for publicly disagreeing with Obama’s failed strategy. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was fired for insisting that we acknowledge the obvious connection between Islamic terror and Islam. Four-star Marine Corps General James Mattis, former commander of United States Central Command, was pushed out for being anti-Iran while Obama was pushing his alarming nuclear deal:

An Aug. 10 report by a joint House panel on CentCom intelligence-skewing said Gen. Mattis “was forced to depart abruptly in early 2013.”

“The leadership environment within CENTCOM and its Intelligence Directorate deteriorated significantly following the 2013 departure of Marine General James Mattis and his senior intelligence leaders,” the report said.

The situation will not improve under President Shrillary:

As a senator in 2007, Mrs. Clinton famously ridiculed the testimony on the Iraq troop surge from Army Gen. David Petraeus.

“You have been made the de facto spokesman for what many of us believe to be a failed policy,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Despite what I view as your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief.”

Despite Shrillary publicly calling Petraeus a liar, the troop surge worked, winning the war. But then Obama took power and prematurely withdrew US troops. Iraq predictably collapsed and the Islamic State moved in.

Nor will the situation improve under Trump (who sided noisily with Code Pink during the Iraq War, demanding W’s impeachment). Gates, a respected, nonpartisan figure who served in both Republican and Democrat administrations, wrote an op-ed critical of both Shrillary and the Donald. Even-handedness will not do among Trump and his supporters; either you are behind Trump 100% on everything or you are an enemy to be bullied into submission or publicly ridiculed. Trump’s response to Gates:

“We had a clown today, an absolute clown. Robert Gates — he’s supposed to be an expert; he’s been there forever,” Trump said.

“Never met the guy, never saw him. I saw him on television, didn’t like him. The end result is look where we are. He’s a mess, OK? He’s a mess, so he goes out and he says negative things about me. I never met him; I never talked to him. Believe me, I am so much better at what he’s doing than he is, you won’t even believe it.”

Yeah right. Terrifyingly, Trump may actually believe that his experience at bankrupting casinos and hamming it up on a reality show qualifies him to make crucial military decisions.

Trump also called Gates “dopey,” “stupid,” “incompetent,” and still more ironically, “a nasty guy.” At least he didn’t accuse Gates of having silly-looking hair and orange skin.

As would have been obvious to virtually everyone only a year ago, it is not only inadvisable to make someone who would behave like this the Commander in Chief — it is completely unacceptable.

Any serious adults who are not purged from the Pentagon for suspicion of disloyalty will not enjoy working with a petulant, unbalanced child like Trump.

For 8 years the military has suffered under our country’s abysmal leadership. It has at least 4 years to go.

Unsurprisingly has not worked out as Commander in Chief.

On tips from Varla and Jester. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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