Former top commander of US and allied forces in Afghanistan, retired four-star Army General Stanley McChrystal criticized President Trump, saying he “sold Afghanistan to the Taliban” and calling him “dishonest” and “immoral” in an interview with ABC’s This Week on December 30th.
“I don’t think he tells the truth,” he said, answering Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz’ question.
Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal says if asked, he wouldn't join the Trump administration because "it's important for me to work for people" who are "basically honest."@MarthaRaddatz: "Is Trump immoral in your view?"
— ABC News (@ABC) December 30, 2018
“Is Trump immoral, in your view?” Raddatz asked.
“I think he is,” he said.
He also commented that he couldn’t judge the Trump supporters and tell them “they are wrong.”
He said everybody must look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves a question:
“What I would ask every American to do is … stand in front of that mirror and say, ‘What are we about? Am I really willing to throw away or ignore some of the things that people do that are — are pretty unacceptable normally just because they accomplish certain other things that we might like?’
If we want to be governed by someone we wouldn’t do a business deal with because their — their background is so shady, if we’re willing to do that, then that’s in conflict with who I think we are. And so I think it’s necessary at those times to take a stand.”
The retired general also criticized Trump for not embodying effective leadership:
“The military talks about would they come for you. And what that means is if you’re put into a difficult military situation, would that leader sacrifice himself, put himself and others at risk to come for you? I have to believe that the people I’m working for would do that, whether we disagree on a lot of other things. I’m not convinced from the behavior that I’ve seen that that’s the case here.”
He also had a word of warning for anybody who is to fill the seat left behind by US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. The individual who is to take the post should make sure their values align with those of the President.
“I think maybe it causes the American people to take pause and say, wait a minute, if we have someone who is as selfless and as committed as Jim Mattis resign his position, walking away from all the responsibility he feels for every service member in our forces and he does so in a public way like that, we ought to stop and say, ‘OK, why did he do it?.’”
“I would ask [potential candidates] to look in the mirror and ask them if they can get comfortable enough with President Trump’s approach to governance, how he conducts himself with his values and with his worldview to be truly loyal to him as a commander in chief and going forward,” McChrystal said. “If there’s too much of a disconnect then I would tell him I think it’s — it would be a bad foundation upon which to try to build a successful partnership at that job.”
He disagreed with Trump’s unannounced Christmas visit to Iraq and said that it was needless to politicize a non-political occasion. Trump also signed MAGA Hats, which media even alleged the White House had provided. Trump himself said that they weren’t.
CNN & others within the Fake News Universe were going wild about my signing MAGA hats for our military in Iraq and Germany. If these brave young people ask me to sign their hat, I will sign. Can you imagine my saying NO? We brought or gave NO hats as the Fake News first reported!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2018
McChrystal also commented on the decision to withdraw troops from Syria, according to him it is a mistake.
“If you pull American influence out, you’re likely to have greater instability and of course it’ll be much more difficult for the United States to try to push events in any direction. There is an argument that says we just pull up our stuff, go home, let the region run itself. That has not done well for the last 50 or 60 years,” McChrystal said.
“I don’t believe ISIS is defeated,” McChrystal said. “I think ISIS is as much an idea as it is a number of ISIS fighters. There’s a lot of intelligence that says there are actually more ISIS fighters around the world now than there were a couple of years ago,” commenting on the reasoning behind the withdrawal that Trump gave.
Furthermore, the retired general commented on the reports that half of the troops from Afghanistan are also to be pulled out. On December 28th, Garrett Marquis, a spokesperson for the National Security Council said Trump “has not made a determination to” to withdraw troops from Afghanistan or “directed the Department of Defense to begin the process of withdrawing” troops. Thus, the reports are unconfirmed.
“I think the great mistake in the president’s leaked guidance is that just when we were starting to sit down with the Taliban, just we were starting to begin negotiations, he basically traded away the biggest leverage point we have. If you tell the Taliban that we are absolutely leaving on a date … their incentives to try to cut a deal dropped dramatically,” McChrystal said.
McChrystal added that the decision could have a lasting impact on the trust in the alliance between the United States and the democratically-elected Afghan government it supports.
“Of course, I was worried about the confidence of the Afghan people because at the end of the day, that’s what determines who wins in Afghanistan,” McChrystal said. “And I think we probably rocked them — we rocked them in their belief that we are allies that can be counted on.”
Trump responded to the comments given by Stanley McChrystal on Twitter with a derogatory, insulting and unconstructive comment:
“General” McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama. Last assignment a total bust. Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover! https://t.co/RzOkeHl3KV
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2019
Mocking his “General” post and calling him a dog, because his assignment was a “total bust.” He is a “Hillary lover!” and is simply known for his “big, dumb mouth.”