According to a new book about President Trump’s foreign policy, the president held a number of private meetings with U.S. servicemembers to talk about what was going wrong with the Afghanistan War, Business Insider reports.
The book, “Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos,” is written by national security expert Peter Bergen. According to Bergen’s account, these meetings began shortly after President Trump took office in January 2017, and consisted of multiple servicemembers who had been deployed to Afghanistan, including Navy SEALs.
The move was largely unprecedented, since presidents usually discuss the workings of war with high-ranking officers rather than enlisted members. However, President Trump specifically said that when it came to these meetings, he didn’t want “any generals” or “any officers…I just want enlisted guys.”
As such, those he met with were free to speak of the war in much more critical terms, as did several SEALs who, in one meeting, called the war “unwinnable,” and described NATO as “a joke,” also adding that “nobody knows what they’re doing.”
These meetings most likely contributed to President Trump’s continued promises to reduce American involvement in Afghanistan, reinforcing a skepticism that Donald Trump has long held since he was only a candidate for president. Most recently, he has taken steps to withdraw approximately 4,000 U.S. troops from the war-torn country, where the U.S. has been for 18 years in what is by far the longest war in American history.