Civilians Should Control Our Military

Woman Writing Letter

Civilian control of the military is an American value our president doesn’t appear to share.

A report last Friday from the American-led military coalition in Iraq indicated scores of non-combatant civilians huddled in basements for protection had been killed in U.S. bombing raids with as many as 200 casualties.

During a 2015 interview on NBC, candidate Trump made his intentions regarding Islamic State and their assets clear.

“With ISIS, you kill them at the head. You take the oil,” he said. “That’s where they’re getting their money. If you bomb the hell out of it, you bomb the hell out of it. You’ve got to stop their wealth. They have tremendous wealth.”

It is one thing to destroy the economic assets of the Islamic State and quite another to kill civilians as coalition forces attempt to drive them from Mosul.

The official government position is that rules of engagement with enemy combatants have not changed with the new administration. At the same time, coalition partners indicate the rules have been relaxed. In the fog of military explanations the truth is obscured.

If the report is true, we know why. It’s because the president turned our wars over to his generals and shouldn’t have. The president’s disregard for civilian control of the military is evidenced by the fact the Congress had to pass a law to enable former Marine Corps General James Mattis to become Secretary of Defense.

Our president should be hands-on when it comes to our wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. There is little evidence he is and innocent people are paying the price.

~ A letter to the editor of the Solon Economist