Four-star Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, used a speaking engagement at the Brookings Institute on Tuesday to deliver a stinging rebuke of the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq.
“I have a hard time believing that had we been there, and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don’t think we’d be in the same shape we’re in today,” Gen. Amos said, the Fiscal Times reported Wednesday.
It is rare for an active-duty serviceman to give such blunt public criticism of a sitting president. While Gen. Amos was careful not to mention the president by name, The Fiscal Times reported that the top general’s upcoming retirement this fall may have played a role in his decision.
“We may think we’re done with all of these nasty, thorny, tacky little things that are going on around the world — and I’d argue that if you’re in that nation, it’s not a tacky, little thing for you. We may think we’re done with them, but they’re not done with us,” the commandant of the Marine Corps added, the paper reported. “We’re probably the only country in the world that has the resources and the capability to be able to do some of this that others can’t.”
The decorated officer added that it is breaking the hearts of Marines to see many of the gains made before U.S. troops pulled out in 2011 squandered. Sunni radicals with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have taken over large swathes of Iraq since June.
Roughly 852 Marines were killed and 8,500 injured during deployments to Iraq, The Fiscal Times reported.