Too many generals with Trump?

Trump administration relies heavily on military personnel

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Perspecs

The Trump administration: too many generals, not enough soldiers?

Donald Trump did not necessarily present a great respect for the military before he took office in January.

Last year, on the presidential campaign, the former businessman claimed to know more about ISIS than generals do. He also showed no remorse when discussing Vietnam War veteran John McCain, remarking: "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

His fellow Republican colleague was captured and sent to a Hanoi POW camp for over five years after his Navy dive bomber was shot down, breaking both of his arms and a leg. McCain, who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour, returned to the Senate at the end of last month to cast the decisive vote over Trump's repeal then replacement of Obamacare.

Despite his comments about the Arizona senator's capture, Trump has never served in the military himself. The President received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War: four for education, one for bone spurs in his heels. He later claimed his "personal Vietnam" was avoiding sexually transmitted diseases during his sexual conquests, saying he felt like "a great and very brave soldier".

The self-professed 'very brave soldier' has called on the services of actual soldiers to help steady his chaotic administration. After initially appointing General John Kelly as the secretary for Homeland Security, the President has moved him to be the new White House chief of staff, replacing Reince Priebus in the role. Other former military personnel in the Trump administration include General James Mattis as his defence secretary and General H.R. McMaster as national security adviser.

Reuters argues his "rambunctious, idiosyncratic presidency" requires the former military leaders - the very few who are able to operate, survive and even thrive in the Trump White House - because he can trust in their discipline and loyalty. While they are seen as a "much-needed dose of sanity and experience", their appointments risk politicising the military and providing Trump with credibility that he has not earned.

The generals employed by Trump could have a mission of their own, according to Politico: firstly, correct what they see as the mistakes of the Obama administration, mainly the hesitancy to use force or commit troops; and secondly, mitigate the damage caused by their new boss, Donald Trump.

However, Vox warns there are dangers about surrounding the President with military leaders. In a conversation with retired General Daniel Bolger, and author of 'Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars', he argues there needs to be more balance when it comes to decision-making during times of conflict.

He said: "When top officials sit around a table and make decisions about North Korea or Syria or some other issue, we need people there representing the non-military options.

"We need people who understand economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure and how to employ these instruments in order to avoid war.

"There has to be prudent people in the room who can promote and defend diplomatic measures."

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Salon

The myth about Trump's generals

If they're the adults in the room, we're doomed

I know it's asking a lot, but can you remember all the way back to January, not long after Trump was inaugurated, when Republican and Democrat establishment types were still reaching for reasons not to get too alarmed by the man sitting in the Oval Office in the White House? I mean, we'd already been through quite a bit. There was the whole lie-fest about the size of the inaugural crowds, photographs of Obama's and Trump's compared side by side yielding incontrovertible evidence that Trump's inauguration was woefully bereft of attendees.

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