Retired Marine Gen. John Allen, a former U.S. envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS and a top Hillary Clinton supporter, rejected Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s assertion that U.S. generals "have been reduced to rubble” under the Obama administration.
"I just shake my head. I don't feel much like rubble," Allen said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "As I look around at my peers ... They're some of the finest leaders that America has ever put under stars, whether they are admirals or generals. They are spectacular leaders and they have not been reduced to rubble."
Republican presidential nominee Trump’s comments came during last week’s “Commander in Chief” forum. Allen, a key figure in the Obama administration's fight against ISIS who spoke in support of Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, said that under a Clinton presidency, the military will continue to be strengthened.
He defended Clinton’s comments that she would not commit ground troops to current conflicts in the Middle East, arguing the strategy of supporting indigenous Syrian and Iraqi forces is the best way to realize long-term stability in the region.
“She's implying that she's not intending to have the United States be committed into another large ground war in that part of the world,” Allen said. “And knowing her, as the potential and, hopefully, commander in chief, I know that she'll consult with her leadership and the commanders and will give them the resources necessary to be successful.”
Allen also dismissed Trump’s comments that the United States should have seized Iraqi oil fields during the war and that failing to do so led to the rise of ISIS.
“The presence of Iraqi oil has had very little to do with the emergence of ISIL,” Allen said, using another name for ISIS. “Now ISIL did, in fact, exploit the oil enterprise. But it did so largely in Syria and very little Iraq, if at all.”
The retired general said the problems in the region stem from longstanding “social, economic and political issues across that region and the world which has created such a widespread radicalization that one group after another has sprung up over the years.”
“It’s not about the oil in Iraq and the oil in Syria,” Allen said.
Former New York City Mayor and top Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani earlier Sunday on "This Week" defended Trump’s comments, arguing it would have been legal to seize Iraq’s oil fields.
Allen dismissed this idea, saying that taking a nation's resources is not the way a modern, civilized nation should act.
“With respect to taking the oil, I seem to remember that the term, ‘To the victor goes the spoils,’ is the justification,” he said. “You know, we, as a community of civilized nations, stopped saying that and stopped doing that years ago.”