The immigration, visa and travel restrictions introduced by the Trump Administration would have international ramifications, a top Republican Senator and a former Defence Secretary said today. “I think there will be a negative reaction among many countries,” former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who was also the CIA Director, told ABC News. His views were also echoed by Senator John McCain. “I do worry about the impact of this executive order in terms of the way it’s received around the world,” Gates said.
Gates, who has served under eight different presidents in various capacities, said any effort to strengthen national security, to improve the vetting process, is all perfectly reasonable and totally legitimate. “In fact, we would expect that of the president. I think the key is doing it in a way that doesn’t risk creating more enemies than threats it deters. And that’s the balance that has to be weighed,” he said.
Gates said former senior commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan are very concerned about this order and the impact it will have on those that helped US in Iraq and Afghanistan, the interpreters, translators and so on, who were promised safe haven in the United States and now may not get it. “I spoke as recently as last night with General Petraeus and he and others, like General Chiarelli, are very concerned about this,” he said.
“I talked with General Petraeus last night. He’s very concerned about the special visas for those interpreters whose lives are literally in danger as we speak, that they would not be allowed to come into our country,” he said.
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“What about the Iraqi pilots that are training right now in Tucson, Arizona, learning to fly the F-16? And there will be more coming in. So, there is so much confusion out there,” McCain said. “And published reports are that neither the Department of Homeland Security or the Justice Department or others were consulted about this before this decision was made,” he said.
“Finally, lumping Iraq with Iran, right now, we have several thousand Americans who are fighting in Iraq against ISIS alongside Iraqi men and women. The battle of Mosul has taken an enormous toll on the Iraqi military,” McCain said. “Is Iraq the same as Iran is? Of course not. So, it’s been a very confusing process. I’m glad that it’s a pause. We have got to understand the ramifications of this kind of action,” McCain said.