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Friday, September 30, 2016

But they'll let Trump become president

by digby

This article about how members of the military viewed the debate is interesting. They had complaints about both candidates. These were the comments about Trump:

Take Trump’s assertion that his temperament was best suited for the job. That really captured the military’s attention, particularly at the Pentagon, which is filled with commanders who rose through the ranks, in part, because of their perceived temperament on the battlefield.

“I can’t believe he said he had the right temperament to be president while yelling. I’ve seen better in basic training,” a soldier concluded.

And with that, the one Washington institution that was supposed to be insulated from the 2016 election threw itself into the fray, all through personal experiences and recollections.

Trump’s suggestion Monday that the U.S. should have snatched Iraqi oil after the 2003 invasion had eyes popping in the Pentagon. So many currently serving here were deployed to Iraq in the early days of the invasion, and remember their orders at that time. Many noted that the U.S. had said it went to Iraq to spread democracy, not steal oil.
“Remember when people were mad at us for protecting the Ministry of Oil [in the early days of the war] because they said were there for the oil? Now we should have stolen it?” one colonel noted.

Then there was Trump’s ongoing embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin—even as the U.S. and Russia are battling each other in Syria through local proxy forces. Relations are increasingly tense between the two states amid failed ceasefires and growing distrust.

On “the cyber,” as Trump referred to cybersecurity Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate offered a rambling answer, saying that a “400-pound” individual might have hacked Democratic Party—and not Russian operations, as the U.S. intelligence community has concluded.

Trump’s response elicited a silent shaking of the head from one commander who works cybersecurity.

Here's their issue with Clinton:

Meanwhile, Clinton noted that President Bush, not Obama, said set the withdrawal date and the terms. And she noted that the Iraqis would not give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution, making signing another SOFA, and keeping troops in Iraq, impossible.

But many who served, and remember the tense weeks both before the first SOFA and in the lead up to the withdrawal two years later, said both candidates left out key details. It was Bush who set the terms of the 2011 withdrawal—including the announced withdrawal date.

For her part, Clinton never mentioned that SOFAs can always be renegotiated—and frequently are. And while then-Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would not give U.S. personnel immunity, which the administration said ended SOFA talks, there are other ways to protect troops, like diplomatic notes—agreements between states that promise immunity. The Obama administration secured such a note in 2014 to send U.S. troops and advisers back into Iraq to confront ISIS.

“How the hell else would we have 5,000 troops there now?” one exasperated Army commander asked when he as he and his colleagues debated the debate, citing the diplomatic note. The withdrawal date was imbued with politics. “We left when we did so the president could say he ended the war” by the 2012 election.

“We are the last people to propose announcing a withdrawal date,” he continued.
In other words: both Bush and Obama played a role in the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. At least that is how the commanders remember it.

They also quibbled about her plan for ISIS which they said was already being implemented.

So basically, their problem with Trump is that he's a delusional know-nothing hot-head but Clinton halfway misrepresented how we got out of Iraq and plans to follow the current policy on ISIS. Ok.

Polling shows this:

Military troops favor Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president over Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, according to a new survey.

Johnson garnered 38.7 percent of the active duty vote, versus 30.9 for Trump, and 14.1 for Clinton, according to the survey, which was conducted via the popular military personality Doctrine Man.

Apparently, the military prefers the man who can't name a foreign leader and doesn't recognize the name of a major besieged city in Syria. And if not him, the other man in the race who says he knows a lot more than the generals and whose secret plan is to "take the oil."

It would be a real shame if the military voting for Johnson resulted in a Trump victory. I suspect they will be the ones to pay the heaviest price for that mistake.