The remark highlights a big problem not just with Trump’s scattershot orders but also with his tenure so far as commander in chief: He doesn’t seem to understand the political nature of war or the strategic consequences of politics.
The ban to which the officer was referring—another executive order that Trump signed, on Friday afternoon, barring entry to the United States from any citizen of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, or Somalia—gravely threatens not only American values but also U.S. security interests. (It’s a real trick for one policy to damage both our values and our interests.) American armed forces, after all, are conducting military operations of some sort—from ground combat and airstrikes to special-operations missions—in all but one of those seven countries (Iran). The local soldiers they’re fighting alongside or advising—and the local people who are tolerating their presence—are likely to turn distrustful, possibly hostile, if the American president is telling them that under no circumstances will they be allowed to come into our country because they might be terrorists.In other words, with this order—which has come under major protest from citizens, judges, and many legislators—Trump is making it harder to defeat ISIS by telling the allies and main forces in that fight that they aren’t good enough to set foot in America.
You can read the rest of Fred Kaplan's piece at Slate.