Orders from a President Trump Would Demoralize Troops, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman says

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford (Getty Images)
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford (Getty Images)

Being ordered to waterboard during interrogations or target terrorists’ families — two ideas floated by Donald Trump — would hurt the morale of U.S. troops, the nation’s top military officer said Thursday.

“Our men and women — and I’m proud of them — when they go to war, they go to war with the values of our nation,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services. “Those kinds of activities that you described are inconsistent with the values of our nation, and quite frankly I think it would have an adverse effect, many adverse effects. One of them would be the morale of the force.

“And frankly, what you’re suggesting are things that actually aren’t legal for them to do anyway,” he added.

Dunford was responding to a question from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who previously wrote Dunford a letter asking whether the military would carry out such orders.

Graham, who put national security at the center of his failed White House bid, has pressed the issue after comments on the presidential campaign trail by GOP front-runner Trump.

During a debate, Trump said he would bring back waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse,” though he later walked those comments back.

He’s also suggested killing the family members of terrorists.

Trump’s comments have garnered a sizable opposition from the defense community.

In the letter Graham sent earlier this month, he asked whether those orders such as the ones Trump suggested would be lawful and what advice Dunford would give troops if those orders were issued.

Dunford responded to his letter, Graham said Thursday, adding that he would publicly release Dunford’s response “later.”

SOURCE: Rebecca Kheel
The Hill