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Retired Army Lt. General Mark Hertling watched Saturday's Republican debate. When Donald Trump smugly said that as a leader the armed forces would never refuse his orders, the tenor of Trump's ("They're not going to refuse me, believe me. If I say do it, they're going to do it. That's what leadership is all about.") just about drove General Hertling insane.
"Somebody needs to remind Mr. Trump that the military is not his palace guards," Hertling said. "They take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. They also abide by the rules -- not only of the uniform code of military justice, the UCMJ -- but they also abide by the U.N. mandate against torture and the Geneva Convention protocols against torture."
"We do not do this," he added. "It is not within our purview."
Hertling has felt Trump's rhetoric before and so it's not a surprise he's critical of the golden-haired Hitler doll.
"This is not the first time Hertling has tangled with Trump over foreign affairs and the billionaire businessman's leadership style. In July, Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper that he's 'a better general' than Hertling, during a conversation about keeping terrorists from infiltrating Iraq's oil fields.
"Hertling subsequently said Trump's 'simplistic analogies' show that he lacks a firm grasp of foreign affairs."
Retired military personnel, like any citizen in our country, are going to have a variety of opinions. There are military people who defend Trump. But what Hertling is pointing to is probably the single most important criticism (and fear) of a Trump administration, and that's the sneaking suspicion that Donald Trump sees being president as being the King of America. Humanity has fought wars for thousands of years to rid themselves of this despotism, and while we have all variety of battles raging for the civil rights and liberties of our citizens, losing the Head of our Executive Branch to dictatorship is exactly what the military in a democracy does not want.