Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said Donald Trump’s strategy to “bomb the shit out of” ISIS, is “not only immoral but illegal,” and said it would lead to “mass resignations” across the military.
Hertling criticized Trump on “CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello” Friday.
“I’m trying to remain apolitical in this, but it’s increasingly difficult to do that when you hear these kind of statements of individuals who have not been there, who don’t know more than the generals do, and in many cases, don’t know more than the privates do,” he said.
Thursday, Trump said, “I know more ISIS than the generals do, believe me. I would bomb the shit out of them. I would just bomb those suckers. And, that’s right, I’d blow up the pipes. I’d blow up the refineries. I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left. And you know what? You’ll get Exxon to come in there, and in two months — have you ever seen these guys how good they are, the great oil companies? They’ll rebuild that sucker brand new. It’ll be beautiful. And I’d ring it, and I’d take the oil.”
Hertling, a CNN military analyst, suggested that Trump “might want to take a visit to Iraq or some of the combat areas and see how things work on the ground. It’s now getting into the scary category.”
“He is talking about things that he knows very little about. It’s not only a little bit scary, but it’s also dangerous, and it’s also immoral. You just don’t do that. Americans don’t fight wars by carpet-bombing nations,” explained Hertling. “And I think if he were on the ground in Iraq or Syria, and he would see the population that is in dire fear of ISIS and how they are intermingling with the population, I think he would have a better perspective. I think it might also be interesting to get him into that country when other organizations like Mobil or Exxon have attempted to try and repair some of the oil works. Because I was there when that occurred, and it’s very challenging, truthfully.”
“I’d remind folks that less than one percent of the American population has served in the military,” he continued. “And even a fewer percentage of the population has served in these kind of areas, so you just don’t know what it’s like. When other countries are under conflict, under siege like this, it’s hard, extremely hard, to re-establish both their economic and their industrial capacity once they are bombed.”
“There are people living there. There are 11 million people in Iraq where the oil fields are, and not all of them are ISIS supporters. In fact, very few are,” said Hertling. “When you’re talking about dropping bombs, first of all, have got to have targets to drop bombs on. It’s an applause line for people who have never been there and have never see what it’s like.”
Costello later asked Hertling what he would do if Trump came to him with this strategy.
“I would react by first of all trying to inform him of the laws of land warfare and Geneva Conventions that are involved in this and how it’s not only immoral but illegal to do that,” Hertling insisted.
He continued, “I would not be a partner to these kind of things, because it would put me as a commander before the Hague Courts.”
“And if he persisted in saying ‘bomb it,’ I think what you would eventually have in the military across the board is mass resignations. And that’s a tough stance to take, Carol, but truthfully, that’s what would occur,” explained Hertling.
“Because the American military studies these kinds of things. They know the moral and the values implications associated with these kind of decisions. They will attempt to persuade their leaders the right approaches to take and the various options available. But they won’t do things illegally or immorally.”