Tag Archives: William McRaven

These officers need to be heard

It’s not every day that a general-grade officer takes the commander in chief to task for decisions he makes that put the nation’s security in peril.

Yet, that is what has happened with two superb military officers. They both have combat experience. They both have commanded many thousands of men and women. They both are true-blue American heroes.

Retired Admiral William McRaven, the former special operations commanding officer, has penned a New York Times essay in which he declares that Donald Trump is putting our democracy “in jeopardy.” He cannot fathom that the president sidles up to dictators and trashes our allies and our alliances that have been vital to keeping the world safe from tyrants. McRaven, under whose command our military was able to kill Osama bin Laden, has laid it on the line with regard to Donald Trump.

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who served as defense secretary in the Trump administration, resigned because the president doesn’t know what he is doing with regard to the military and his handling of foreign policy. Trump selected Mattis to lead the Pentagon, calling him at the time of his hiring a first-rate commanding officer; now he refers to Mattis as an “overrated general.”

They aren’t alone in expressing their dismay and disgust at the way the president conducts foreign and military policy. Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the former head of Central Command who led troops during the Persian Gulf War — and served with valor and heroism during the Vietnam War — has been a fervent critic of the president.

These are serious men with serious views about the commander in chief. They are patriots. They served heroically. They faced our enemies on the battlefield. These men deserve to be heard. 

POTUS takes on another general

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal is back in the news. This time it’s because he happened to say what many of us believe about the president, that he’s, um, a liar.

What is Donald Trump’s response? He fired off this tweet: “General” McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama. Last assignment a total bust. Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!

Amazing, yes? Well, I think so.

Trump is right that President Obama relieved Gen. McChrystal of his command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal had been critical of Vice President Joe Biden and other civilian officials. Obama would have none of it, so he demanded McChrystal’s resignation.

Now, was his assignment a “total bust”? No. It wasn’t. Not at all.

However, the retired general has decided to re-enter the fray by questioning Donald Trump’s leadership ability. Given his experience at a high level of military command, he is qualified to discuss what he perceives in the commander in chief.

McChrystal has questioned Trump’s decision to militarize the southern U.S. border. He told an ABC News interviewer that he wouldn’t work in the Trump administration because he values honesty at the highest levels of government. He said the president doesn’t fit the bill. He also has spoken positively of Hillary Clinton’s service as secretary of state, which in Trump’s mind makes him a “Hillary lover” and, in his mind, not qualified to discuss anything of substance.

So, here we are . . . again! A president who pretends to respect military men and women is challenging another one who once served at the highest levels of command. Remember how he denigrated retired Admiral William McRaven for not killing Osama bin Laden sooner than he did? McRaven was special operations commander when the Navy SEAL team killed the al-Qaida leader on May 1, 2011.

Trump’s petulance knows no bounds. This thin-skinned chicken hawk should toughen up if he’s going to seek to be thought of as some sort of steel-spined world leader.

However, he won’t.

Trump doubles down on bin Laden raid criticism . . . but, why?

Donald John Trump had the hubris and the gall to criticize the head of U.S. Special Operations Command for not taking down Osama bin Laden sooner than he did.

Retired Admiral William McRaven coordinated the raid that on May 1, 2011 killed bin Laden in a daring operation. Trump’s response to criticism from McRaven, who said Trump’s assault on the media poses the “greatest threat to democracy” he has seen was to disparage the bin Laden mission.

Here’s my question: What difference would it have made had U.S. intelligence been able to confirm bin Laden’s location earlier and then we killed him earlier.

Everyone with any semblance of common sense knows this truth about bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization he led: Another religious pervert would step in immediately after bin Laden would be taken out. That is what has happened since the SEALs and the CIA operatives killed the monster in Pakistan. It makes no difference when bin Laden met his death.

As for Trump’s assertion that McRaven somehow was responsible for the timing of the raid, I need to remind Trump of one more thing.

McRaven was in the military; his obligation was to follow lawful orders. The order came from President Obama after U.S. intelligence, through painstaking work over the course of two presidential administrations, had concluded without a doubt that bin Laden could be found and eliminated.

All that aside, for the current president — who many refer to as Private Bone Spurs, owing to his avoidance of service during the Vietnam War — to criticize a heroic Navy SEAL who has served with honor and heroism during his decades in uniform is laughable and disgraceful on its face.

Looking back at bin Laden raid

The nation has been talking in recent days about the commando raid that took out Osama bin Laden.

I thought I’d share with you a video of President Obama announcing “to the nation and the world” the death of the terrorist leader. Here it is:

Perhaps the most relevant point I want to emphasize here is the president’s explanation of the tireless work done by anti-terrorism experts working for two presidential administrations. President Bush’s team began the hunt for bin Laden shortly after 9/11, then handed it off to President Obama’s team.

It took time, patience and perseverance for our intelligence community to find bin Laden in that compound in Pakistan.

Yet there came the unfounded and idiotic criticism from Donald J. Trump that the team that took out bin Laden should have done it “much sooner.” He laid the criticism at the feet of retired Admiral William McRaven, the man who coordinated the effort that resulted in bin Laden’s death in May 2011.

Trump doesn’t know what transpired between 9/11 and the raid that eliminated bin Laden. So his criticism of McRaven is tasteless, ignorant and despicable.

I thought you might want to hear from Trump’s immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, how this huge event came to pass.

How low can POTUS go?

It is fair to wonder about the depths of Donald J. Trump’s progression as a politician. To the point: Just how low is too low and how do we know if he has hit rock bottom?

I do not believe, based on the record of low points he has acquired to date, that we have found the bottom of the abyss.

My goodness, this individual has scored so many low points it’s hard to keep score. Some highlights/lowlights:

  • He said the late U.S. Sen. John McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured” during the Vietnam War.
  • Trump denigrated a Gold Star family because of their Arab ethnicity; their son, an Army officer, died in battle in Iraq. The parents had the temerity to criticize Trump during the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
  • Trump mocked a New York Times reporter, mimicking his actions caused by a severe neuromuscular disease.
  • The candidate admitted to a TV host that he grabbed women by their genitals because of his “celebrity” status.
  • Trump has lied repeatedly, gratuitously and without any sense of shame.
  • The president just recently criticized the Special Operations Command chief — retired Admiral William McRaven, a battle-tested SEAL — for failing to kill Osama bin Laden “much sooner” than commandos did.

I know I have missed some examples, but you get the idea.

One might surmise, probably correctly, that any one or two of those incidents would doom someone’s political aspirations. Donald Trump, though, not only has survived, he has managed to fire up his political base. The roughly 38 percent of Americans who stand by their man do so because he “tells it like it is,” or he sticks it in the establishment’s eye, or speaks their language.

What’s more, this guy doesn’t care that the rest of the country finds his statements, behavior and demeanor repugnant to the high office he occupies.

How low can this guy go? I think he’s got some more space to fall before he finds the bottom of the pit.

He once said he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes.” I believe he is correct. Surely he knows better than to test that theory. Doesn’t he?

Commander in chief shows disregard for military

I have to ask: How in the name of pride in our military does the president of the United States get away with the utter denigration he heaps on distinguished military personnel?

Donald Trump did it (in)famously in 2016 when he said the late U.S. Sen. John McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured. I like people who aren’t captured.”

Trump went on to win the presidential election after declaring he knows “more about ISIS than the generals.” Then he surrounded himself with current and former four-star officers, proclaiming some sort of phony affinity for the expertise they bring.

And now the latest tumult has erupted. The president has disparaged the May 2011 raid that killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and, particularly, the man who coordinated that effort, retired Admiral William McRaven.

McRaven, a decorated Navy SEAL, headed the Special Operations Command when President Obama issued the order to kill bin Laden.

Trump now says we should have taken bin Laden down “a lot sooner.” Again, the commander in chief has denigrated a war hero and has mocked the effort that was carried out with precision and professionalism by a dedicated team of SEALs, Army Green Beret pilots and CIA deep-cover operatives.

Moreover, he gets away with it! The “base” that adores him gives him a pass. They don’t care that the commander in chief thinks so little of the brave men and women who volunteer to do something that the president waffled on when he had the chance when he was of draft age during the Vietnam War.

I do not get it. I never will get it.

What if Obama had done any of this?

“We should be intellectually honest here at this table that if President Obama had missed Veterans Day or missed the Armistice ceremony in France for the 100th anniversary of World War I, my head would have exploded right here on this table in front of all of you.”

So said Meghan McCain, daughter of the late, great Republican U.S. senator, John McCain, and a co-host of the TV show “The View.”

I believe she speaks for a lot of Americans who are dismayed, disgusted and so very disappointed in recent actions and remarks by Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States.

So many on the right and the far right have been strangely silent regarding the president’s recent action — or inaction — in Europe. He declined to attend a ceremony in France honoring the Americans who fell during World War I, then skipped Veterans Day services at Arlington National Cemetery.

Now, to his credit, the president did express some regret at failing to show for the Arlington cemetery event. That doesn’t excuse what he declined to do in the moment.

Couple all of that with what he has said in recent days about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and the disparaging he has leveled at the Navy admiral, William McRaven, who coordinated the May 2011 assault and you have even more reason for “heads to explode.”

They aren’t. Except for Meghan McCain, a self-described political conservative.

Yes, just try to imagine the reaction had all of this come from a liberal Democrat. It is pointless to suggest how progressives, such as yours truly, would react had any of this occurred on Barack Obama’s watch. Thankfully, I don’t recall it ever happening prior to Donald Trump becoming president.

I do believe Meghan McCain’s assertion about her own noggin “exploding” on national TV.

RNC backs POTUS in attack on McRaven

Well, here we go.

The Republican National Committee, I guess to few people’s surprise, has backed Donald J. Trump in his idiotic attack on the Navy SEAL who coordinated the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The RNC says that retired Admiral William McRaven “reportedly” was on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s short list of potential running mates when she ran for president in 2016.

Hold … the … phone!

The president went off on McRaven during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” He contended that the Special Operations Command chief was a “Hillary Clinton backer” while he was criticizing him for not getting bin Laden “a lot sooner” than he did.

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace sought to mention that McRaven was a SEAL at the time of the bin Laden raid, but that didn’t dissuade Trump from alleging that McRaven was some sort of partisan hack.

What a joke!

Whether he was on anyone’s short list is utterly beside the point.

McRaven retired from the Navy after 37 years of service in 2014. Clinton ran for president two years after that. The raid that McRaven coordinated occurred on President Obama’s watch. The date was in May 2011, when McRaven was an active-duty Navy officer.

His colleagues all have testified to a person that McRaven is the consummate military professional who didn’t put politics ahead of his mission. Indeed, he has responded to Trump’s criticism by noting that he served under President George W. Bush as well as under President Obama. Republican or Democrat, it didn’t matter to McRaven.

So, for the president to accuse him of being some sort of cheap partisan disserves not only Admiral McRaven, but also the SEALs as well as other Special Forces troops in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps . . .  not to mention all the men and women who wear the uniform in defense of the country.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone, I suppose, that the RNC would weigh in with its own cheap political shot.

Despicable.

This tempest just won’t go away

The tumult caused by Donald Trump’s disparagement of a heroic Navy SEAL continues at full boil.

Why is that? Because the president of the United States won’t back down from the hideous criticism he leveled at retired Admiral William McRaven, the fellow who coordinated the May 2011 commando raid that took down Osama bin Laden.

McRaven, who’s now a private citizen, had criticized the president’s war on the media as a grave “threat to democracy.” Trump then responded in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that McRaven should have gotten bin Laden “much sooner.”

Yep, he criticized the architect of the operation. He in effect denigrated the service of a heroic American warrior, who spent 37 years wearing the uniform in service to his country. He was injured training to become a SEAL. He also led the team that captured the late Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein in 2003.

So, for this president — who actually avoided service during the Vietnam War — to criticize a hero simply is beyond my own ability to comprehend. He called McRaven a political hack, a Hillary Clinton “backer” and a fan of President Obama.

Admiral McRaven is as admirable a man as one could find.

Donald Trump? He, um, isn’t.

Still, this tempest just won’t quit.

The warrior responds to POTUS

Back and forth they go.

The president and the decorated Navy SEAL are at each other’s throats. I’m pulling for the SEAL.

Donald Trump — as is his tendency — fired off a totally inappropriate tweet challenging whether the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command could have taken out Osama bin Laden “sooner” than he did.

That commander is retired Admiral William McRaven, on whose watch U.S. commandos killed the 9/11 mastermind in a firefight in Pakistan.

McRaven had the temerity to declare that Trump’s attack on the media presents the “greatest threat” to the nation. Trump responded with that hideous Twitter taunt about the bin Laden raid.

McRaven has answered the president. He stands by his comment about Trump’s attack on the media. Trump also had accused McRaven of “backing” Hillary Clinton. McRaven said “no.” He isn’t a fan of the former Democratic presidential candidate. He also said he backs all presidents, because he respects the office. McRaven also notes in his response that he served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama while leading the Special Operations Command.

He told Trump, “When you undermine the people’s right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands.”

If only the president understood the damage he does with his reckless and feckless rhetoric.