Words Matter, Mr. President

Leaving aside the inane use of adjectives and qualifiers [both verbally and tweet based], one would think that by now, POTUS would either have a grasp or keep somebody close at hand, to avoid making empty, false or confusing statements.

Donald Trump said he has given the military “total authorization.” That may sound great, but “total authorization” has no meaning. The military’s dictionary, (yes, it has its very own) includes “diplomatic authorization” and “letters of authorization,” but does not include “total authorization.” Perhaps Mr. Trump chose a non-existent term when he actually meant to say that he, as the commander in chief, had issued an order giving the military specific authorization to conduct operations limited in time and space.

Alternatively, perhaps Mr. Trump simply wanted Americans to know that he will exercise less oversight and control of the U.S. military as compared to his predecessors. Without clarification, we cannot be sure. There are at least fifteen different types of orders that the President, Secretary of Defense and military commanders can issue to those under their charge. They cannot, however, issue “total authorization.”

In the same vein, Mr. Trump’s characterization of recent military operations as “so successful” reveals that he has little idea what military success looks like. Trump’s crowing over a single missile strike against Syria or the use of the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan suggests that he equates action and aggression with success. As history has made clear, nothing could be further from the truth.

President Trump owes the nation – and the world – more careful language. Trump’s empty words may thrill his supporters, but they will not defeat the Islamic State or bring peace to a troubled region. If the American public is to trust him and intelligently support his foreign policies, especially with lives on the line, he must communicate coherently. The president should weigh his words before he speaks, provide clear explanations for his actions and measured assessments of progress. In short, Trump’s words need to mean exactly what they seem to mean.

Why Trump’s Words Matter, RealClear Defense – http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/04/20/why_trumps_words_matter_111211.html

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