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Veteran U.S. Army officer: Donald Trump is morally unfit to lead | READER COMMENTARY

American troops at Camp Shorabak in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Sept. 26, 2019. American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan -- including targeting American troops -- amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.
American troops at Camp Shorabak in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Sept. 26, 2019. American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan -- including targeting American troops -- amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter. (Jim Huylebroek/The New York Times)

As a graduate of West Point and veteran Army officer, I know for a fact oaths have real meaning. When those oaths lose their meaning, I also know for a fact that we are in trouble.

We are in trouble.

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When Donald J. Trump took the presidential oath of office on Jan. 21, 2016 with his right hand raised, his left hand on a bible and in front of the Supreme Court’s chief justice, he said, “I will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” His actions since have revealed those words have no meaning for him.

For months, the commander-in-chief knew a Russian military intelligence unit was paying Taliban militants to assassinate American soldiers (”NYT: Suspicions of Russian Bounties Were Bolstered by Data on Financial Transfers,” June 30). Militants who killed our service members were given cash rewards by Russia. Despite being offered a menu of responses by U.S. officials, Commander-in-Chief Trump did nothing. “The best of his ability to preserve, protect and defend” was to do nothing. The ramifications of his decision are manifest and an abrogation of his oath. His deliberate inaction threatens our national security and significantly damages our country and our armed forces.

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President Trump now also wants to pull thousands of U.S. troops out of Germany and invite Russia back into the G7. Russia was kicked out of the G8 for invading a neighboring country, Crimea, and taking part of it for themselves. All of this enables Vladimir Putin’s dream of undermining NATO. Sadly, the words of Russia’s Nikita Khrushchev are being realized: “We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within.”

Just as disappointing is that the secretaries of state and defense, both West Point graduates, took the same oath, served in the U.S. Army and were trained to fight the Russians. Both apparently also did nothing.

There are 20 American families grieving over the loss of their loved ones while their assassins live, enriched by an enemy nation. To stand by without protest is a confirmation that this administration is morally unable to lead. As citizens, we must vote. For the 100 million people who sat out last election, we need you to cast a vote in this election. This cannot continue. The sovereignty of our nation is at stake.

Lisa L. Steptoe, Ellicott City

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