Military experts are questioning Donald Trump's grasp of military strategy, blasting his snap judgment that the operation to retake Mosul from ISIS in Iraq lacked the "element of surprise" and was a "disaster."
In a conference call last week hosted by Hillary Clinton's campaign, Gen. John Allen, a retired four-star Marine general and former special envoy to the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition, said he has "agonized" over the rhetoric he's heard from Trump, Business Insider reported.
"While [Trump] appears not to understand basic military activities, it's not clear to me that he's interested in learning them either because there's a number of experts who I think … would advise him otherwise, but he seems to be confident in that knowledge," Allen said, Business Insider reported.
On Oct. 23, Trump tweeted: "The attack on Mosul is turning out to be a total disaster. We gave them months of notice. U.S. is looking so dumb."
And last Thursday, the GOP nominee bragged he could teach "a couple of things" to retired Army colonel and former dean of the Army War College, Jeff McCausland, who rebuked Trump's "element of surprise" strategy.
"He was trying to play up surprise, but he doesn't understand the reasons at all why we've been forecasting this, which is to get as many civilians out as possible and to push for as many defections from ISIS as possible," Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and former Army officer, told Business Insider.
"[ISIS] just lost [the symbolic Syrian town] Dabiq, so if you take Dabiq first, then maybe you get a lot of defections and people running for the hills," he said.
"That's why they kept saying 'We're starting now.' When you have the Iraqi army and a lot of these units that aren't the American army, you want to thin the herd as much as possible before you send them in."
It wasn't a secret that the Iraqi army was moving in on Mosul , he added, Business Insider reported.
"There is no surprise when you're taking Mosul after two years," Watts said. "[ISIS] can see the Iraqi army surrounding them on the periphery."
"Really this comes down to his advisers," he told the news outlet. "He's got, in my opinion, horrible counterterrorism and national security advisers."
Robert Gates, a former defense secretary who served under both George W. Bush and President Barack Obama told Politico "most folks on active duty don't take seriously what he has to say."
Former spokesman for the CIA and Defense Department George Little called Trump's assessment "shameful."
Business Insider notes the Mosul operation hasn't yet begun to liberate the city itself and is still focused on the outskirts.
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