Ex-Pentagon chief: It’s not Trump’s military


Leon Panetta, who served as both secretary of Defense and CIA director in the Obama administration, criticized President Trump on Thursday for describing the American military as “his” when discussing a bombing in Afghanistan.

“Everybody knows exactly what happened, so, and what I do is I authorize my military,” Trump said hours earlier when asked if he personally authorized the strike, which reportedly killed 36 Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

“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,” Panetta said on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

{mosads}”But 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.” 

Neither Trump nor the White House has directly confirmed whether Trump authorized the strike himself.

“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,” Trump said.

But conservatives have pushed back on Panetta’s criticism, noting that former President Obama used the same phrase when discussing chemical attacks in Syria in 2013. 

“The world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons,” Obama said at the time

“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.” 


Tags Barack Obama

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