Please tell me that General Hayden – who knows about military intelligence and the intelligence community seeing he was Deputy Director at the DNI, among many other key postings – never used actionable information produced as a result of, for example, waterboarding. This would have been during the Iraq War a little over 10 years ago. Of course he has. And of course he has defended the utility of such practices, calling some of his critics interrogation deniers.

But the retired General is part of the Anti-Trump brigade, the Hawks battalion let’s call them. Trump is a loose cannon and cannot be trusted with the position of commander in chief is their story, although those in charge of telling this story are either retired, about to retire, or not currently running the defense and intelligence community. Aside from upsetting the structure of the defense establishment with his comments on Putin and Israel, for example, could it be that Trump has committed the sin of saying out loud what many politicians and soldiers say in private?

Dick Armitage and Colin Powell did not give press conferences before their one on one with Pakistan’s Musharraf. The supposed threat – leaked by Musharraf – that the U.S. would bomb his country back to the stone age seemed to produce Pakistan’s collaboration in Afghanistan, and arguably helped lead to the eventual capture and killing of Bin Laden several years later. But in public they were impeccably mannered men. Of course, an electoral campaign and a war on terror are two very different contexts.

So the charges against Trump – and suggested disobedience by Hayden – seem to be several. He’s not militaristic enough: he doesn’t understand international affairs and the lobbies that surround each issue; both economic and ideological lobbies. He doesn’t have the temper to oversee any substantial military operation. He’s too militaristic – as Cruz backer Mark Sanford suggests – and his militarism will breed more terrorism. He wouldn’t follow the Geneva Convention, as Arizona Democrat Ruben Gallego accusingly states. That’s a rather broad, even mutually exclusive, set of criticisms.

Just a guess. If you put this collection of critics together and tried to get them to cobble together a strategy for the situation in Syria, say, you might be disappointed with the result. But in one sense, they are right. America’s defense policy in the Middle East is like walking through a minefield with a copy of Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior as your guide. Winning is almost impossible in the short and medium term. Sometimes never. What you can do is contain the damage from any given disaster. And plan how to anticipate and thus contain the next disaster. So a Trump administration would have to sing a less reckless tune and sooth a few frayed nerves at the Pentagon and the DNI, and elsewhere.

But some of those assailing Trump’s supposed ignorance are the same who insisted that Iraq should be invaded. The consequences of that advice is still being sorted out in 2016, and will still have to be sorted out by whoever is the 45th president. Maybe Hayden has it backwards, and it’s Trump who should ignore them. That is, unless Hillary Clinton becomes the next president. If Benghazi is any guide, that should worry Hayden far more.