Several senior military leaders advising President Barack Obama on how to navigate the crisis in Iraq are more "beholden" to the political policies of the White House than in defending the nation, retired Cmdr. Kirk Lippold told "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday.
Lippold commanded the USS Cole when the guided-missile destroyer was attacked in 2000 by al-Qaida terrorists in a port in Yemen. Seventeen U.S. soldiers died in the attack.
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"These days, we're seeing so many political senior leaders in the military that are beholden to the White House rather than in defense of the nation, that I think we're in jeopardy," Lippold said.
Military leaders need to voice their concerns about developing a strategy to repel the advances of terrorist group the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, Lippold said.
"They need to start speaking out and speaking out loudly," he said. "They may work for the commander-in-chief, but they also work for the American people."
It was "unfortunate" that Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was careful "with every word he says," Lippold said.
"I have yet to see him take on the president. And, while many people say, 'Oh, you just can't do that,' the reality of it is he has a larger obligation to the defense of this nation than to the commander-in-chief's political policies," he said.
It was a "big mistake" to underestimate the threat that ISIS posed to the Middle East and the United States, Lippold said. The targeted airstrikes U.S. forces have launched against ISIS are allowing the militants "to adapt and adjust to a strategy that has no direction right now."
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