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The roster of retired military officers endorsing Hillary Clinton in September g

littered with decoration and rank. One former general led the American surge in
Anbar, one of the most violent provinces in Iraq. Another commanded American-led
allied forces battling the Taliban in Afghanistan. Yet another trained the firs
t Iraqis to combat Islamic insurgents in their own country.
But as Election Day approaches, many veterans are instead turning to Donald J. T
rump, a businessman who avoided the Vietnam draft and has boasted of gathering f
oreign policy wisdom by watching television shows.
Even as other voters abandon Mr. Trump, veterans remain among his most loyal sup
porters, an unlikely connection forged by the widening gulf they feel from other
After 15 years at war, many who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are proud of their
service but exhausted by its burdens. They distrust the political class that re
shaped their lives and are frustrated by how little their fellow citizens seem t
o understand about their experience.
Continue reading the main story
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Perhaps most strikingly, they welcome Mr. Trumps blunt attacks on Americas entangl
ements overseas.
When we jump into wars without having a real plan, things like Vietnam and things
like Iraq and Afghanistan happen, said William Hansen, a former Marine who serve
d two National Guard tours in Iraq. This is 16 years. This is longer than Vietnam
In small military towns in California and North Carolina, veterans of all eras c
heer Mr. Trumps promises to fire officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
His attacks on political correctness evoke their frustrations with tortured rul
es of engagement crafted to serve political, not military, ends. In Mr. Trumps fo
rceful assertion of strength, they find a balm for wounds that left them broken
and torn.
He calls it out, said Joshua Macias, a former Navy petty officer and fifth-generat
ion veteran who lives in the Tidewater region of Virginia, where he organized a V
eterans for Trump group last year. We have intense emotion connected to these wars
. The way it was politicized, the way they changed the way we fight in a war set
ting its horrible how they did that.