Retired army Cols. Lawrence B. Wilkerson and Isaiah Wilson III are not happy with President Donald Trump’s plan to send troops to the Southern U.S. border to deal with a caravan of Central American migrants.
The two retired colonels, along with Professor Gordon Adams of the American University School of International Service, have written an editorial in the New York Times that calls out Trump for abusing his power as commander-in-chief to use the military to boost himself politically.
“This was a blatant political stunt,” they write of Trump’s decision to send troops to the border just ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. “The president crossed a line — the military is supposed to stay out of domestic politics. As many senior military retirees have argued, the forces are not and should not be a political instrument. They are not toy soldiers to be moved around by political leaders but a neutral institution, politically speaking.”
The authors go on to acknowledge that past presidents have used the military for public relations purposes, such as former President George W. Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” stunt after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, this is the first time they can recall a president manufacturing a crisis out of thin air ahead of midterm elections and using the military to give that phony crisis legitimacy.
“When partisan actions like this occur, they violate civil-military traditions and erode that faith, with potentially long-term damage to the morale of the force and our democratic practice — all for electoral gain,” they write.