“My military,” President Donald Trump’s choice of words used to explain authorization of a massive bomb in an assault on Islamic State group positions in Afghanistan, raised the eyebrows of some, including a former U.S. secretary of defense and a retired Air Force colonel.
At a press briefing on Thursday, Trump praised the military’s actions.
“We are so proud of our military,” Trump said. “And it was another successful event.”
But then a reporter asked Trump if he authorized the strike, which incorporated the first battlefield use of the military’s Massive Ordnance Air Blast weapon.
“Everybody knows exactly what happened,” he responded. “What I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world, and they’ve done the job, as usual. We have given them total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing.
“Frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately. If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what has happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there is a tremendous difference.”
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that the defense system belongs to the country.
“When it comes to the military, the military belongs to the country,” Panetta said. “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.
“He has responsibility obviously, as commander in chief, to be able to make decisions with regards to our military,” Panetta continued. “But I think if you ask the men and women in uniform who they are responsible to, I think their answer would be, ‘We’re responsible to the United States of America.’”
In response to Trump’s statement, Retired Air Force Col. Morris D. Davis tweeted:
.@realDonaldTrump: "I authorized MY military …" MY? You refused to serve in the military or pay tax to support it … it's not yours!
— Col. Morris Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) April 13, 2017
Davis was also a former Guantanamo chief prosecutor who tried to establish a policy prohibiting the use of evidence obtained through torture. He resigned in 2007 when Department of Defense General Counsel William Haynes became his direct supervisor, saying, “The guy who said waterboarding is A-OK I was not going to take orders from. I quit.”
Davis retired from active duty in 2008 after 25 years of service.
Some Twitter users also opposed Trump’s comment:
Trump says he authorized "my military" to drop the #moab. As he often does, he claims to owns something that belongs to others.
— Pitt Griffin (@pittgriffin) April 14, 2017
Meanwhile, others defended Trump’s comment in response to reports:
Anyone involved in the military has heard their commander… their sergeant… say MY ______. Whine some more
— Bernie for Trump (@lolzbernie) April 14, 2017