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Former Army War College dean tangles with Trump over Mosul

Written by Tim Lambert, WITF Multimedia News Director | Oct 27, 2016 12:56 PM
Jeff_ McCausland.jpg

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Jeff McCausland (Photo courtesy of Dickinson College)

(Carlisle) -- A Carlisle man, who served as a former dean at the U.S. Army War College, is in a war of words with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Jeff McCausland, a visiting professor of international security studies at Dickinson College, drew Trump's ire after telling the New York Times, "Mr. Trump doesn't know a damn thing about military strategy," in referrence for how the Iraqi Army was handling its offensive to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS.

In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump responded to the midstate man's statement, saying, "You can tell your military expert that I'll sit down and I'll teach him a couple of things."

Trump has been critical of the advance notice given by Iraqi military officials ahead of the attack. He says all of the ISIS leaders left the city as a result.

"I've been hearing about Mosul now for three months. 'We're going to attack. We're going to attack.' Meaning Iraq's going to attack but with us. OK? We're going to attack. Why do they have to talk about it?" he asked during the ABC appearance.

McCausland remains steadfast in his criticism of Trump's stance.

"I can't wait to sit down with Mr. Trump and hear what he has to teach me about military strategy. I'm happy to compare my record of over 45 years working in national security affairs with his any time," he said. "When it comes to the question of the Mosul offensive, Mr. Trump doesn't understand that 99.9 percent of the troops involved are Iraqi. The Iraqi government has had a political imperative to publicly state that they would liberate Mosul since it was occupied by ISIS over two years ago."

"In preparation for the offensive, the coalition dropped millions of leaflets over Mosul. This was done to reassure the civilian population that they would be liberated, hopefully serve to reduce collateral damage and provide them guidance on how to best protect themselves and their families," he added. "It is clearly the desire of the U.S. and Iraqi governments to eliminate collateral damage to the civilian population of Mosul. We do not want Mosul to look like Aleppo."

McCausland, who commanded a battalion during the Gulf War, served in Bosnia and Kosovo and spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan, also noted the GOP candidate never served in the military or the government.

According to the Associated Press, Iraqi commanders say their forces have pushed Islamic State militants out of a small town south of Mosul and are now 20 miles from the city center.  

Major General Najim al-Jabori says Iraqi army forces retook the town of Staff al-Tut in the Tigris River valley the day before.

He says local tribal and militia forces have been deployed to protect the gains while his troops regroup for their next push toward Iraq's second largest city.  

Iraqi special forces dug in east of Mosul say they are awaiting further progress on the southern front before pressing forward.

They have pushed to within 5.5 miles of the city. 

Iraqi commanders say ISIS militants south of Mosul have been withdrawing north toward the city, taking hundreds of civilians with them to use as human shields.      

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