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Who is Gen. John Kelly?
General John Kelly, nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security, is a retired U.S. General and former head of the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in Central and South America, including Guantanamo Bay. Gen. Kelly has served with distinction for four decades and no one can question the sacrifices he and his family have made in service to this country. However, his history of military service raises serious questions about his nomination for Secretary of Homeland Security, especially under a President Elect who has promised hard-line and reckless national security and immigration policies.
Top 3 Reasons to Resist Gen. John Kelly’s Nomination
1. Trump naming 3 generals for top national security spots threatens the bedrock principle of civilian control of the military. [TWEET THIS]
Donald Trump — the only person ever to become president with no previous government, military, or national security experience — has now nominated three recently retired generals to oversee America’s national security policy. This unprecedented number of recently retired generals potentially serving in top national security posts in the Trump administration threatens to undermine the bedrock democratic principle of civilian control over national security. And in the case of DHS, an over reliance on military decision makers could easily mean an excess of hawkish and militaristic policies coming from the primary domestic security agency of the U.S. government.
2. Gen. Kelly strongly opposed Obama’s efforts to close GITMO & defended questionable tactics used against detainees. [TWEET THIS]
Gen. Kelly’s hawkish past is especially on display especially when it comes to his record as head of U.S. Southern Command, during which he oversaw operations at Guantanamo Bay. Gen. Kelly publicly clashed with the Obama administration over closure of the prison, and he’s staunchly defended of the questionable military tactics taken against detainees. He brushed off criticism of Guantanamo interrogation tactics by human rights groups as “foolishness’ in 2014. This attitude is especially concerning given his boss’s inflammatory rhetoric on torture and interrogation.
3. Gen. Kelly, a border hawk, would likely play a role in implementing Trump’s signature plan to build a wall. [TWEET THIS]
Don’t expect Gen. Kelly to be the voice of reason on Trump’s most extreme immigration proposals, such as the border wall. Gen. Kelly has previously expressed support for building a wall or a fence to increase security on the southern border. Kelly caught the eye of the Trump team in 2015 after he delivered a hawkish testimony to the Senate Armed Services committee in which he warned of the potential threat of terrorist networks crossing the southern border and expressed deep concern that smuggling networks in the southern hemisphere “are a vulnerability that terrorists could seek to exploit.” A friendly reminder that Trump’s border wall plan has a price tag of somewhere between $15–25 billion.