New York, Aug 1 (IANS) In an ominous turn to the heated campaign for the US presidency, a retired general backing Hillary Clinton has predicted that the military would confront Donald Trump if he is elected.
General John Allen told a TV interviewer Sunday: “We would be facing a civil military crisis, the like of which we’ve not seen in this country before” if Trump becomes president.
Allen commanded the troops of the US and its allies in Afghanistan as a Marine general from 2011 to 2013 before his retirement. The next year Obama appointed him his envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State.
At the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia last week, Allen spoke in support of Clinton, “We know that she as no other knows how to use all instruments of American power — not just the military — to keep us all safe and free.” As he delivered the speech, he was accompanied on the stage by retired Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, the first Sikh to be allowed to wear a turban and beard in the US military.
In a reference to Trump calling for waterboarding terror suspects and carpetbombing ISIS territories, he said” “Our armed forces will not become an instrument of torture, and they will not be engaged in murder, or carry out other illegal activities.”
Calling Allen a “failed general”, Trump hit back on Saturday. “He was the general fighting ISIS. I would say he hasn’t done so well, right? Not so well.”
On Sunday Allen was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos, a former spokesman for Bill Clinton and now an anchor for ABC network and host of its “This Week” show.
Expanding on his criticism of Trump, Allen told Stephenopoulos: “What we need to do is ensure that we don’t create an environment that puts us on a track conceivably where the United States military finds itself in a civil-military crisis with a commander-in- chief who would have us do illegal things.”
Allen had not protested when the military under President George W. Bush carried out waterboarding.
As he spoke at the convention, some delegates booed him and shouted “No more war”, before they were drowned out with cries of “USA, USA,” a chant heard usually at Trump rallies and the Republican Party Convention.
The Republican Party also had a retired lieutenant general, Michael Flynn, speak in support of Trump at its convention. Flynn, who headed the Defence Intelligence Agency, criticised Allen, saying that the anti-Islamic State strategy under him was a “failed strategy”.
While Allen was in charge of the policy, “the rise of radical Islamism and ISIS, you know, it exponentially grew”, Flynn said last week on a Fox News programme.
With rhetoric of the former generals threatening to make the US military an unprecedented factor in the election campaign, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Generral Martin Dempsey, crticised both for getting involved in the campaigns, and the two political parties for dragging them in.
“It was a mistake for them to participate as they did. It was a mistake for our presidential candidates to ask them to do so,” he wrote in the Washington Post.
“As generals, they have an obligation to uphold our apolitical traditions,” he
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])