Concerns about politicians looking to dramatically erode civil liberties and concerns about military interference in politics are running up against each other today, as Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook publicly lashed Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump for his call to ban Muslims from the country.
In comments yesterday, Trump demanded a full ban on all Muslims entering the United States for an indefinite amount of time, a call that has fueled condemnation the world over, and from all across the political spectrum. Trump has since rolled back the suggestion that Muslim citizens who go abroad for vacation wouldn’t be allowed back in, but is standing firm on the ban beyond that.
Cook warned that Trump’s comments are bolstering the ISIS narrative that the US war is not against them but against Islam as a whole, warning that the comments are “contrary to our values and contrary to our national security.”
It is virtually unheard of for the Pentagon to issue a statement criticizing a politician during election season, particularly a front-runner for president, and even though the statement mostly just echoes what everyone else is saying, it raises concerns about whether the Pentagon is going to be more proactive in defining the acceptable limits of civilian political discourse during the 2016 campaign.