Published On: Tue, Feb 28th, 2017

120 retired generals rebel against Trump’s budget

Former senior commanders warn of risk to global security that means leaving funds to diplomacy

Donald Trump has met with an unexpected critic. The cut ordered by the president of the United States to pay for his gigantic military budget has been criticized by 120 generals and retired admirals, including such prominent figures as former CIA director David Petraeus, or former military chief George Casey. In a letter to congressional leaders and key government secretaries, this group of former high commanders warned of the risk of reducing, as Trump claims, the spending of the State Department and its foreign aid programs.

“We know from our intelligence service that many of the crises facing our nation do not have a single military solution. And this includes addressing the extremist violence of groups like ISIS in North Africa or the Middle East, to preventing pandemics such as Ebola, or stabilizing weak and fragile states that can trigger instability, “the letter said.

For the retired generals, the diplomatic service and its cooperation agencies, like Usaid, are absolutely necessary for the maintenance of order and peace. “They are critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to send our men and women to the front,” they say.

Trump’s goal, released on Monday, is to increase military spending by $ 54 billion (9.3 percent). This is the largest increase in a decade, and it returns the United States to the Bush era, when the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were in full swing. To achieve this increase, the president has ordered a general cut that basically affects the State Department and foreign aid.

In this context, the military recalls that reducing State Department funding involves dangerously depending on weapons: “The military can lead the fight against terrorism on the battlefield; But they need strong civil partners in the fight against the inciters of extremism. ” For all these reasons, they demand that the resources be secured so that diplomacy can continue its work against the global threats that threaten the United States. “Now is not the time to retreat.” the letter concludes.

You can download here the full letter.