Donald Trump, speaking at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stepped up his criticism of the joint Iraqi-Kurdish military operation to liberate Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, back from ISIS occupation.
Trump has previously slammed the planning of the operation for, he says, sacrificing the element of surprise — an assertion the military experts have dismissed as “absurd.”
Trump has dismissed the criticism of such experts, however, stating that he knows more about military operations than they do.
“You can tell your military expert that I’ll sit down, and I’ll teach him a couple of things,” Trump told ABC anchor George Stephanopolous in a Good Morning America interview Thursday.
But on Wednesday, Trump broadened his verbal assault in the Mosul operation, attacking the troops themselves, a contingent that includes more than 100 United States soldiers on the ground as “advisors” with the Iraqi-Kurdish forces, as well as air support from U.S. and coalition warplanes.
“Boy, oh boy,” Trump declared. “What a bunch of amateurs.”
Watch Trump make the remarks in the CBS News video report at the top of this page.
“The element of surprise. I’ve been hearing about Mosul now for three months. ‘We’re going to attack, we’re going to attack,’ meaning Iraq’s going to attack, but with us, OK?” Trump said in the Thursday interview. “Why do they have to talk about it? Don’t talk about it. Element of surprise.”
Trump has also called the Mosul operation “a disaster” saying at a Monday campaign event that “we’re bogged down in Mosul, the enemy is much tougher than they thought. It’s a horrible, horrible situation.”
He stated similar views during the final presidential debate on October 19.
But Pentagon leaders say that they and their Iraqi and Kurdish counterparts always expected a tough battle, and the the operation to retake Mosul in proceeding on schedule as planned.
“Given the basic geography, it is impossible to mount an assault on Mosul by surprise,” wrote Slate Online military expert Fred Kaplan. “There is no way to assemble 40,000 troops and suddenly mad-dash into a city of 2 million people, with no advance, and—unavoidably—visible preparation.”