Leon Panetta, who served as President Obama’s Secretary of Defense and director of the CIA, spoke out against President Trump when he referred to the military as “his” during a briefing where he discussed the recent bombing in Afghanistan.
“Everybody knows exactly what happened, so, and what I do is I authorize my military,” Trump said when asked if he was the one who personally authorized the bombing run.
Panetta was critical of Trump’s comments saying that the military belonged to the country and not the president.
‘The military belongs to the country. 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 and he has responsibility as commander in chief to be able to make decisions in regards to our military.
But if you ask the men and women in uniform who they are responsible to, I think their answer would be that they are responsible to the United States of America.’
In regards to the bombing, neither Trump nor any White House officials have confirmed whether or not he personally ordered the attack. Trump has merely stated that he has given the military “total authorization.”
‘We have the greatest military in the world, and they’ve done a job as usual, so we have given them total authorization. And that’s what they’re doing. And, frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately’
While Panetta is not pleased with Trump’s choice of words it should be noted that President Obama used similar language while discussing the possibility of military action against Syria in 2013.
‘The world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons.
I have not made a final decision about various actions that might be taken to help enforce that norm. But as I’ve already said, I have had my military and our team look at a wide range of options’
That being said, it’s possible Panetta didn’t agree with President Obama’s use of the term either but simply felt it wasn’t appropriate to criticize an administration he had served under.
Watch his comments in the clip below:
Featured image via screengrab from Youtube.