Not Going to Cut It

At the Pentagon, interviews with more than a dozen top generals revealed alarm over many of Mr. Trump's proposals for the use of American power, even among officers who said privately that they lean Republican. While no serving officer interviewed was willing to speak publicly about Mr. Trump — reasons ranged from wanting to maintain a distance between the military and politics to not wanting to criticize a potential commander in chief — a number of top-ranking admirals and generals said the military is governed by laws and rules of engagement that are far stricter than politicians may realize.

And justifications that troops would be “following orders” are unlikely to sway war-crimes courts, they said.

“We remember the Nuremberg trials,” said Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, now retired, who was in charge of training the Iraqi Army in 2003. “Just following orders is not going to cut it.”

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