The U.S has a long history of good general, mediocre generals, and bad generals. Abraham Lincoln went through several generals before he finally found Ulysses Grant. Many of these incompetent generals tried to blame Abraham Lincoln for all the problems. One of them, General McClellan, was so sure of this he ran for President trying to defeat Lincoln.
Being a general, particularly a high ranking general, has always been very political. It is the nature of the beast. If you want to see an example of how this works, watch “Once An Eagle.” That was an NBC miniseries that ran in 1972-77. Or you could read the book upon which it was based, Once An Eagle by Anton Myrer. The story is about two army officers, Sam Damon who puts courage, honesty, and selflessness first, and Courtney Massengale who is only interested in his own career. Massengale, despite a lack of talent, honor and character knows how to make the right connections in the Washington corridors of power. He is the one who makes rank and gets the posh assignments, Damon is too busy fighting the enemy. The book was a warning of the power of politically motivated generals. Always remember that Eisenhower warned us about the dangers of the military industrial complex.
Keep this in mind when you hear about anonymous sources, assumed to be high ranking officers, meaning generals or admirals, slamming President Trump. In addition to realizing that none of these guys had the courage to say this on the record, it is important to understand when and how they were promoted in the first place. It was brutal during the Obama administration. Many strong commanders ended their careers because they could not tolerate the Obama administration rules of engagement. For example, Obama demanded that troops wait until the enemy opened fire first. That resulted in a lot of unnecessary U.S. deaths. Soaring to the top as a military commander, when the Commander in Chief is someone like Obama, is not necessarily a compliment.
Unfortunately, our best commanders are seldom recognized unless there is a war. Then, and only then, does the politically elite stop playing games and start letting the military make decisions purely on talent and results. During peace time, someone like George Patton was considered a nuisance. When there was a desperate need for a general who could defeat the German Army, he became priceless.
Those of us who served in combat treasure a Commander in Chief like Donald Trump. When I first went to Vietnam, the Commander in Chief was LBJ. Like JFK, he tried to micromanage the war from Washington D.C. Decisions were often made for pollical purposes, not to win the war. It was horrible. When Richard Nixon took office, he changed that immediately. All the game playing stopped, perhaps because the Washington elite despised Nixon. He just focused on winning the war, despite idiotic restrictions put on him by a Democratic congress. Incredibly, he succeeded in doing exactly that. The North Vietnamese signed a peace treaty. The war was over. I thank God daily that Richard Nixon, not Hubert Humphrey was elected president in 1968. Richard Nixon, for all his faults, was the president who brought me home.
Democrats removed Nixon from office, for doing the same thing Democratic Presidents had done. When Nixon was replaced by Gerald Ford, Democrats immediately took action that ultimately resulted in the loss of South Vietnam. Under the provisions of the 1973 War Powers Act, no American combat troops could be reintroduced in Indochina without Congressional Approval. As soon as the North Vietnamese heard about this, they began their plans for invasion. Few things are more harmful to a country than telling an enemy we will not fight back.
Then, to make it worse, that Democratic congress cut off all military and financial support to South Vietnam. The results were inevitable. The North Vietnamese seized the day and invaded South Vietnam. The U.S. did absolutely nothing to even slow them down. It was disgraceful. Democrats literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
The point is those unnamed sources were all political senior officers who rose through the ranks during the Obama administration. They saw us leave Iraq in disgrace. Under their watch ISIS took control of huge swaths of territory. They focused on Afghanistan and made everything worse. Thousands of American troops died fighting a war for which these senior officers could not even define victory. Now they are lecturing us, with anonymous statements supported by no facts and we are supposed to believe them. Perhaps the best advice is to always do the opposite of what they recommend. Trump figured that out. That is why ISIS is defeated, Israel is signing peace treaties and he is ending the war in Afghanistan. A place foreign army have tried, and failed to control since Alexander the Great.
Trump allegedly said Vietnam veterans were suckers. There is no actual quote and certainly no context. Trump is often quoted, out of context, when what he actually said was very different.
I am a Vietnam combat veteran and yes at times I do feel like a sucker. Not because of how we performed in combat, we were the best military combat force in the world at the time. I feel like a sucker because feckless Democrats in Congress threw it all away without a shred of concern for the sacrifices made by so many. President Trump has a simple philosophy that every soldier understands. Don’t get into a war unnecessarily, but if you do fight, fight to win. Abraham Lincoln talked about that in the Gettysburg address:
“But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Every combat veteran will tell you the same thing. The only real way to honor us is to do whatever it takes to win. Anything else is meaningless.
Joe Biden, on the other hand told the world that it was Seal Team Six that killed Bid Laden. That irresponsible act, for purely political purposes resulted in the death of sixteen members of that team. It was despicable Biden and Obama pounded their own chests taking credit for killing Bin Laden, when Biden actually opposed the raid and Obama only approved it only because it he was informed about it when it was too late to stop it.
The choice is clear. The consequence of getting this wrong, unsurmountable. Trump is not perfect, but his opponents are perfectly awful. Generally speaking, the incompetent generals who oppose him are instead giving him the ultimate endorsement. If you are opposed by people like this, then you must be doing something right.