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Admiral William McRaven Reflects On Military Career In Lecture, Raises Concerns About Trump

Bri Hunter

  A retired four-star navy admiral who led the operation killing Osama bin Laden among other military accomplishments, reflected on his career and raised concerns about President Donald Trump while on Murray State University’s campus Thursday to give a lecture.


Admiral William McRaven is the former commander of the United States Special Operations Command, a combined military force often specializing in covert missions. McRaven has seen combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, has led troops capturing Saddam Hussein, and is credited for leading the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. 

Throughout his lecture on campus Thursday night, McRaven promoted his book “Sea Stories: My Life In Special Operations” detailing his early life experiences and time in the military, including his training to be a Navy SEAL.

“Everything in SEAL training had a lesson, and the lesson here was about hope. This one guy -- in fact, he wasn’t an officer. If he could sing when he was miserable, then we could too,” McRaven said.

The lecture also celebrated McRaven’s personal connections to Murray State. Claude McRaven, William’s father, was inducted into Murray State’s athletics hall of fame in 1975 for accomplishments in football and for leading the university’s first track team. Admiral McRaven received his father’s jersey as a thank you gift at the end of the lecture of his speech. 

Credit Liam Niemeyer / WKMS
McRaven at a press conference prior to the lecture.

  In a press conference prior to the speech, McRaven also raised concerns about President Trump’s foriegn policy and showed support for a U.S. Senate resolution limiting Trump’s war powers.

The U.S. Senate resolution passed Thursday would require the President to cease hostilities with Iran within 30 days unless approved by Congress. The resolution follows a U.S. military strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, which received backlash from both Republican and Democratic Congressmen. The resolution received votes from Democractic senators and eight Republican senators, including Rand Paul of Bowling Green.

“Sometimes, you don’t have the time to go to Congress to ask for their permission or to brief the American public. But when you do, I think the President has an obligation to do that. And this is probably the right step to take at this time,” McRaven said of the resolution.

McRaven also repeated previous concerns he’s held regarding Trump’s foriegn policy. In October, McRaven in a New York Timeseditorial said he was concerned about what he sees are attacks by Trump on American institutions, including the press. He said he’s also concerned Trump isn’t upholding American values, like keeping promises with foriegn allies.

“We do good because it’s the right thing to do. My concern with this president is that the only time we’re prepared to do good is if it is good for us,” McRaven said. “When the world no longer believes that we no longer think we’re the ‘good guys,’ that everything has to be transactional, that we’re only going to do good if we think it’s good for ourselves, that’s not who we are as a country.”

McRaven appeared on campus as a part of the university’s Presidential Lecture series.


"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
Bri Hunter is a senior at Calloway County High School. She is mentoring and learning broadcast journalism at WKMS. Bri aspires to become a broadcast reporter and will attend Murray State University to pursue a major in broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish.
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