When the United States dropped “the mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan Thursday, President Trump said he had authorized “my military” to do so. But one former defense secretary was upset by the president’s word choice.
“When it comes to the military, the military belongs to the country,” Leon Panetta, secretary of defense and CIA director under President Obama, said on MSNBC. “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.’”
Trump’s comment came in response to questions by reports in the White House Thursday afternoon. When asked whether he had authorized the bombing, he said, according to a pool report, “What I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world and they’ve done a job as usual. We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing and frankly that’s why they’ve been so successful lately.”