A top US Navy admiral hailed as the architect of the Osama bin Laden raid has denounced Donald Trump, writing in a scathing editorial on Friday that the president was seeking to “destroy” the country.
William H McRaven, a retired admiral who served as the commander of the United States Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, condemned Mr Trump in the New York Times article titled “Our Republic Is Under Attack From The President”.
The former admiral described two military events he attended last week along with current service members where, “beneath the outward sense of hope and duty,” he said “there was an underlying current of frustration, humiliation, anger and fear.”
“The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within,” Mr Mcraven wrote.
“These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions: on the intelligence and law enforcement community, the State Department and the press,” he continued. “They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield.”
The former admiral said he was attending one of the events at Fort Bragg, North Carolina when he said a retired four-star general grabbed his arm and said “I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!”
He said the words that general told him “echoed with me throughout the week.”
“It is easy to destroy an organisation if you have no appreciation for what makes that organisation great,” Mr Mcraven wrote. “We are the most powerful nation in the world because we try to be the good guys. We are the most powerful nation in the world because our ideals of universal freedom and equality have been backed up by our belief that we were champions of justice, the protectors of the less fortunate.”
Not one to often comment on the latest controversies surrounding the president, Mr McCraven has come out against Mr Trump after his administration announced a withdrawal of US troops in northeastern Syria, which led to Turkey launching a major offence in the region.
The US effectively abandoned its Kurdish allied forces by pulling out of Syria, despite the Kurds having fought alongside US troops in the fight against Isis.
US veterans who fought alongside the Kurds previously told The Independent the decision as an “abandonment of trust” that would lead to the “wholesale slaughter” of US allies.
Mr McRaven said Mr Trump “obviously left our allies the Kurds on the battlefield” in an interview with CNN discussing his Op-Ed.
“We feel like we’ve betrayed them,” he said. “He's undermined our NATO allies, he's taken us out of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran nuclear agreement) and the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal) and really the international community has lost faith in America.”
The former admiral added: “Throughout the course of all of this, he's convinced us he's doing it for all the right reasons, and I think that is really what is troubling."