“There is nothing for America in Syria. We haven’t defeated ISIS by taking its territory, and it wouldn’t matter if we did because sharia-supremacist culture guarantees that a new ISIS will replace the current one. The names change, but the enemy remains the same. And if you want to fight that enemy in an elective war, the Constitution demands that the people give their consent through their representatives in Congress.”
Spoiler alert here, the above is the last paragraph in a must-read Andrew C. McCarthy piece, The Syria Fairy Tale Lives!.
Like McCarthy, I was against going into Syria for the very reasons he lays out about the nature of the Syrian opposition. The “Syrian Moderate” myth still persists among way too many inside the Beltway and punditry smart set. The only area McCarthy didn’t dig into in this piece is our Iraq mess serves as a prequel to this Syrian mess. We were propping up the Iraqi government in Baghdad, since its inception, after the demise of Saddam Hussein. Over the years the Baghdad government fell increasingly under the influence of Iranian-backed militias. In our zeal to defeat ISIS, our mission became hopelessly ensnared in being on the side of bolstering Iranian-backed militias, in our fight against ISIS in Iraq.
The enemy of my enemy was assuredly not our friend, in this Iranian-backed militias situation. No one hardly mentions Iraq among the polite American foreign policy set in Washington these days. And assuredly, it’s rare to hear mention of our unintended alliance fighting on the same side as Iranian-backed militias against ISIS in Iraq. The American people seem to prefer to stick to sound bites and catchphrase strategy, so it’s a sure bet most Americans didn’t pay any attention to the details.
There’s an American cultural preference to invest their trust in celebrities and “big name experts”, rather than facts or studying issues. This behavior led to the Steele dossier being embraced by the media and top Obama officials, based solely on Steele’s reputation. The same behavior led to hordes of FOX News viewers and Republicans buying the “Syrian moderate” snake oil, based solely on people, like a popular retired general turned FOX pundit, selling it.
McCarthy covers all the bases in this defense of Trump pulling US troops out of Syria and I do agree with him on the facts, the history of the region and most especially with his analysis of Sharia supremacism. Where I disagree is not about pulling out of Syria and lightening our footprint in Afghanistan, it’s about how we go about this process, how we manage our competing alliances and agreements and how we navigate the process with our allies, who have fought and bled with us on the ground in the ME for 17 years. We owe them more than them finding out about the decision to pull-out in a tweet.
Figuring out a way out of Syria, that included informing our allies of the decision privately and ironing out some timelines, framework and coordination, rather than blindsiding them, by announcing the decision in a tweet to the world, should not have been too much to expect. He didn’t give his own top commanders a heads up before tweeting his decision and that speaks to a totally unfit commander-in-chief. He left his own military commanders out in the cold, creating unnecessary chaos and confusion about the mission. The ramifications from how Trump went about handling his Syria decision will reverberate way beyond Syria. Just as with most of Trump’s actions that cause massive blowback, it’s the “how” Trump went about this that will burn more bridges than the actual decision itself.
Decided to add this thought, which I mentioned in a comment on my previous blog post about the Trump decision-making process. Those cheering Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria should be aware that in the blink of an eye, Trump could as easily choose the above mentioned “Syrian moderate” cheerleader retired general as his next Secretary of Defense, as he could choose someone who aligns with the Rand Paul foreign policy school of thought. The retired general is a popular FOX news pundit, afterall. With Trump, there’s no telling.