If You Support Democracy and the Rule of Law, You Should Applaud Trump Getting the Hell Out of Syria

Rep. Justin Amash: "U.S. forces should not be engaged in Syria...without legitimate military justification AND proper congressional authorization."


Chris Kleponis/SIPA/Newscom

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, which would bring a sudden and welcome end to American involvement in this particular open-ended Middle Eastern conflict. Everyone who values the rule of law and democratic governance should cheer this decision.

My colleague Nick Gillespie rightly praised Trump for "bringing soldiers home from unconstitutional wars that have no clear connection to national security." Libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash (R­–Mich.) tweeted his support as well, writing, "U.S. forces should not be engaged in Syria—or any country—without legitimate military justification AND proper congressional authorization."

Not everyone is pleased. A predictable chorus of hawkish Republicans assailed Trump for making, in the words of perpetually bloodthirsty Sen. Lindsey Graham (R­–S.C.), a "huge Obama-like mistake." (Barack Obama made many mistakes; one of the costliest, of course, was his disastrous intervention in Libya, which quickly became a haven for terrorists.) Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) lamented that pulling out too early would "haunt this administration and America for years to come." But as Iraq and Afghanistan have shown, America is also haunted by doubling and tripling and quadrupling down on open-ended commitments that cost innocent lives and billions of dollars while doing nothing to fundamentally improve the war-torn Middle East.

But it's not just hawkish Republicans who are uneasy about the drawdown; technocratic liberals, too, are wary. Thus this piece from Vox, "Trump is pulling all ground troops from Syria," which is sub-headlined: "That could be a boon to Iran, ISIS, and Russia." The article eventually gets around to conceding that "in a sense, Trump's withdrawal move—if it happens—is somewhat defensible," before immediately pivoting to "some experts, though, aren't as sure." That experts like war is unsurprising; the Washington, D.C. political establishment is relentlessly hawkish, and no doubt most of Trump's advisers are attempting to talk him out of the withdrawal.

Many of Trump's critics have been especially worried about the lasting damage he could inflict upon democracy and constitutional governance. These are legitimate fears—a president who tweets with some frequency about his desire to demolish cherished First Amendment norms is certainly a serious threat. But every now and then, the fact that Trump feels unconstrained by conventional politics is a boon for the rule of law. Norm-smashing is good if the norm in question—perpetual war—violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and democratic principle.

Open-ended military involvement in Syria is just such an example of a smash-worthy norm. U.S. troops arguably have justification to battle ISIS as part of the Bush-era war on terror, but Congress has not authorized regime change in Syria, or proxy battles with Iran, or any of the other objectives a permanent Syrian military presence is intended to achieve.

If such objectives are desirable, Congress can debate them, and vote to authorize military intervention. Importantly, the American people can hold their representatives accountable for these votes. To battle everyone, everywhere, without congressional authorization, in defiance of what the Constitution requires and what a war-weary public might desire, is foolhardy. It represents the worst of the bipartisan Bush-Obama elite foreign policy consensus. Trump should end it immediately, and all who fear capricious and unconstrained federal authority should—in this one specific case—applaud him.

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  1. I’m sure his reasons are wrong.

    1. The title should read- If You Support Democracy and the Rule of Law, You Should Applaud the US Getting the Hell Out of Syria.

    2. The title should read- If You Support Democracy and the Rule of Law, You Should Applaud the US Getting the Hell Out of Syria.

    3. Irrelevant.

  2. Trumps doing it so it must be bad.

    1. I wonder how Shikha and Setyon will spin this into some kind of anti-libertarian move. They must be shaking with rage right now.

      1. They’re just sick sad assholes, aren’t they?

  3. Yup, democracy and the Rule of Law involves 3 dictatorships deciding on divying up a client state run by another dictator.

    Screw the Kurds! They don’t need a homeland or democracy or freedom!

    1. Well, they can always come to American and start a food truck…

    2. I thought the same thing reading it.

    3. Yes, the Rule of Law in America does require us to allow 3 dictatorships to divy up a client state run by another dictator, unless congress follows the law and votes to declare war on those dictatorships. Your actual argument is that the government can violate the Constitution and it is ok because you have a good reason?

    4. How is the plight of the Kurds out responsibility?

      1. Because we’re America, dammit! We have to do something! Think of the Kurdish children!

    5. Screw the Kurds! They don’t need a homeland or democracy or freedom!

      Well what if some of those Kurds wanted to immigrate to the US? “Oh but wait they come from a shithole country and we can’t have that”

      1. Kurdistan wouldn’t be a shithole if it weren’t for the Turks and Iranians, but it is currently a shithole.
        But tell me Chemjeff, do you think the Kurds are brown people?

      2. That comment alone indicates your ignorance of Kurdish history.

      3. Another Little Jeffy strawman. In reality we could let some of,them immigrate here. But you throw a childish tantrum if anyone selects any option other than total open borders.

        This is why no one can have an adult discussion with you.

    6. JeremyR is a neocon.

  4. If You Support Democracy and the Rule of Law

    Does that mean being ruled by whatever law comes out of democracy? No thanks.

    1. It means submit to the majority or else.

  5. My question is, did Trump actually announce a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria or is this one of his Twitter-style “announcements” that he seems to think works just as well as a thy-will-be-done in answer to process and procedure? Trump does know, doesn’t he, that he can’t just say on Twitter “Bring all the troops back home” like he’s ordering a Coke from room service and everybody rushes off to do his bidding, right?

    1. According to reports, non-combat personnel are already packing up to depart within 24 hours of the announcement.

      We’ll see how long it takes for the 99% it takes to be “completely” out of there, but it certainly does seem to be a real thing.

    2. Well, he is the commander-in-chief, so yes, this is one area where he has the authority to say “make it so” and it can get done.

  6. My colleague Nick Gillespie rightly praised Trump for “bringing soldiers home from unconstitutional wars that have no clear connection to national security.” Libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash (R??Mich.) tweeted his support as well, writing, “U.S. forces should not be engaged in Syria?or any country?without legitimate military justification AND proper congressional authorization.”

    Oh, now I get it. To think the troops were pulled out because of respect for the Constitution is quite delusional.

    1. This is the galling part of the piece. As laudable as they may be, no part of Trump’s actions had anything whatever to do with democracy OR rule of law.

      1. Doing the right thing for solipsistic reasons is still doing the right thing.

      2. Dang, I’m glad you’re here to,read his mind for us. I happen to lack telepathy.

  7. If withdrawing is the smart move then why aren’t the Russians, Iranians and Turks withdrawing?

    1. National interest? Something we don’t have there.

      Russia has a naval base, Turkey has a border, and Iran has enormous cultural/religious and geopolitical stakes

      1. If the US does withdraw, of the nations (or other forces) that remain, which is likely to be able to kill the most people and ultimately control the region?

        1. Which is likely or which is most likely? None of those listed is particularly likely to do what you state given that any would have to navigate several conflicting conditions that any of those nations mentioned would only have limited ability to influence. Turkey would probably be the most likely to overcome those conditions, but not especially likely to be able to do so.

    2. You mean why would we do something different than 3 governments that are among the most evil, historically speaking, in the history of the planet?



    1. On this issue, yes.

  9. I don’t really care for democracy or the rule of law, but I’m a-okay with pulling American troops out of Syria.

    1. I am sure don’t care about the rule of law or democracy. That is because you are an idiot Hugh. But we already knew that

      1. Democracy is mob rule. That’s why the founders created a republic and had the senators selected by the state governments. That got all fuckered up by the 17A. Rule of law is a great theory, except that it doesn’t exist. Ten different judges will interpret the same piece of legislation ten different ways. What about jury nullification? You oppose that because it means peasants can overrule rule of law, or can rule of law be a bad thing when the law itself is unjust?

        1. You’re putting way too much thought into this bro. Try thinking like a thirstyass troll and then you will realize that the response to any comment P is not-P plus a lame insult. It’s really not more complicated than that.

          1. I miss the days when I could come here, have an interesting debate, and learn something.

            1. No you don’t, you no business, born insecure, rat-soup-eating, junkyard madafaka!

      2. You can tell when John is losing an argument when he starts calling everyone else an idiot.

        1. So like every thread ever?

          1. John crushes you fags in pretty much every disagreement you’ve ever had with him. You’re just too flicking stupid to understand that.

            FFS, you line up in agreement with Jeffy. Jeffy! Who is widely egarded as a retarded toddler in a twelve year olds body.

  10. Give this man a Peace Prize!

  11. I’m adamantly against democracy, but glad we are done with one pointless intervention.

  12. Importantly, the American people can hold their representatives accountable for these votes.


  13. However, they’ll be redeployed to Afghanistan, right? RIGHT?!

    1. Trump’s going to pull us out of there too.

      1. Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, Syria, and now Afghanistan is next!

  14. Can reason just admit that trump is better than Obama and Bush, or would that break them irreparably?

    1. What are you asking for exactly? How would reason admit anything?

      1. He wants a heavily dressed Soave to visit his home and give (Remember: gift is not a verb!) him a box of heart-shaped chocolates.
        He wants Soave to strip his clothes starting from his boots all the way to the beanie covering his luxurious his hair.
        He wants Soave to relax his cool, naked body by his fireplace.
        He wants Soave to masturbate and ejaculate his man juice all over his body.
        He wants Soave to lather his awesome hair with the freshly squeezed seed.
        He wants Soave to crawl over to him and put his face on his lap and say “I’m sorry, DenverJ. I and Reason have been bad boys and girls.”
        He wants Soave to marry him.
        He wants Soave to carry his child in his anal womb.
        He wants Soave to help him raise the ass baby.
        He wants Soave’s body to be buried next to his.

          1. Creepers

        1. I knew you had a romantic streak, Yellow Tony.

        2. I’m sure you have experience with all of that, Tony. In your case however, the other person winds up with AIDS.

      2. I don’t know, Hugh, maybe they could start by not writing every article as if the default position is that Trump=Hitler, and that, if only Hillary had won, we’d be living in a country that was in any way freer.

        1. Seriously, let’s take 30 fucking seconds to consider this. If HRC was president, what do you think the chances are that she would order all troops out of Syria? During her campaign, she said she would order a no fly zone over Syria.
          Obama, despite the noises he made while campaigning, expanded the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and expanded into Yemen etc.
          Bush was completely in thrall to the neocons.
          But Trump, Trump is the antichrist.

          1. But Trump, Trump is the antichrist.

            Yeah. Reason gives him kudos for saying he’s gonna bring the troops home, and that means he’s the antichrist. Reason has previously given him kudos for cutting the regulatory state that strangles free markets, and that means he’s the antichrist. Stop being a Tony. Fuck.

            1. Fair enough.

        2. You people and your unhealthy fixation with Hillary. I understand being into weird shit. For example, I love scat. It’s great. But you know what’s worse than shit? Hillary. I hope you learned something from reading this, and that you will better yourself and find another fetish. (Might I suggest armpits?)

          1. Well, I voted for Johnson. The only other option was Hillary. So, if you argue that trump shouldn’t have won, that means you think somebody else should have. Johnson had zero chance, which means that you are advocating the position that Herself should have won.
            Throw in two years of lawfare dedicated to overthrowing the legitimately elected President, by any means necessary, and my conclusion is that you can go fuck yourself.

            1. Saying Trump is wrong about things like tariffs and xenophobic immigration policies does not equal saying Hillary would have done better and should have won the election. It’s saying that he’s not supporting free minds and free markets. Period. Stop. You can’t take any criticism of your dear leader without foaming at the mouth like the liberals did when Reason criticized their black jesus. It’s pathetic. Totally fucking pathetic.

              1. You’re right. Trump absolutely is not a libertarian, is horrible, and his mistakes should be pointed out.
                Maybe I’m just so tired of the knee- jerk anti trump viewpoint, that I encounter everywhere, that I am starting to develop a knee- jerk reaction into defending him.
                It’s probably not healthy either way.

                1. Trump’s more libertarian than GayJay and the whole Niskanen Center combined

                  1. I see your tertiary chicken syphilis is acting up.

            2. Just stop it. I know you’re better than this.

            3. It’s amazing what one can infer from nothing. Well, in any case, let me know if you want some resources on armpits. I can also give you the link to my website where I have uploaded some of my armpit collection. Be warned, it’s mostly Asian.

            4. So, if you argue that trump shouldn’t have won

              Now wait. “Shouldn’t have won” by what standard?

              By a legal/Constitutional standard, of course Trump “should have” won, he earned the most Electoral College votes, and from that point of view, that’s all that matters.

              By a moral/ethical standard, none of the candidates running “should have” won. And yes I include Gary Johnson on that list.

            5. From a pragmatic point of view, I think there are good arguments either way for Trump winning, or for HRC winning.

              If HRC had won, as you point out, we would be more deeply involved in the Middle East, and that’s a negative. At the same time, we would not have nearly as much this xenophobic anti-immigrant nonsense that we currently have. There are pluses and minuses either way.

              1. Yes. I apologize for my overreaction.

                1. Apology accepted. Now go say 10 NAPs in front of a picture of Mises and you are cleared.

              2. You’re confused. There is no significant anti immigrant xenophobia. There is a desire to enforce the rule of law and the sovereignty of our borders. There is also a desire to improve our legal immigration system.

              3. With HRC, personal and corporate and personal income tax rates would be higher

        3. When a Democrat is in the White House, Reason is accused of being a conservative rag because they dare to run articles criticizing the president when his policies go against the spirit of free minds and free markets.

          When a Republican is in the White House, Reason is accused of being a liberal rag because they dare to run articles criticizing the president when his policies go against the spirit of free minds and free markets.

          It’s kinda funny to watch.

          1. Nearly the entire portion of the american left who are aware of the existence of reason think of it as a “right wing rag”. The staff and the billionaire backers probably like to think of it as “center-right”

          2. “Reason is accused of being a conservative rag because they dare to run articles criticizing the president”
            Hahahahaha… whew lad. Have you ever read their presidential endorsements?

              1. Shouldn’t you read the links before you admit you’re an imbecile?

          3. Extremist liberals and conservatives have single-digit IQs and limited congnitive ability. What do you expect?

          4. Extremist liberals and conservatives have single-digit IQs and limited congnitive ability. What do you expect?

    2. Hey now, at least Bush got congressional approval for his bullshit.

    3. or would that break them irreparably?

      Like Humpty Dumpty

  15. “Rep. Justin Amash: “U.S. forces should not be engaged in Syria…without legitimate military justification AND proper congressional authorization.””

    I couldn’t agree more, but I think Taft lost that argument to Truman along about 1950 or so.

  16. Police action…that would be awesome. Send in the LAPD to lock down Aleppo. We probably couldnt afford the fucking overtime I reckon.

  17. I don’t understand. Wanna be President Pantsuit insisted we needed “boots on the ground”.

    1. Amd multiple acts of war against Russia.

  18. Good for Trump for not fucking something up for a change.

  19. Practically every president in my lifetime at some point got a hardon to bomb somebody somewhere going back to JFK. The only exceptions would be Ford, Carter and an honorable mention for Reagan. Hilary already had a raging war erection as SoS. One can only imagine the resulting carnage had she been elected. If Trump wanted to improve his approval ratings he’d shock and awe some 3rd world shithole claiming he was saving some disadvantaged group from terrorists or rape rooms because there’s nothing Americans like better than killing people in some place they’ve never heard of for reasons they don’t care to understand. Sure worked for HWB. But I really don’t think he’s interested in continuing these wars or starting new ones. He’s been convinced by the generals to continue fucking around in Afghanistan and Yemen but I don’t think he really wants to manage this shit. Peace prize winner Obama gave us a banker’s economy and 8 years of expanding war. So far Trump has given us a main street economy and maybe, just maybe, some light at the end of the tunnel of endless war.

    1. Trump is turning out to be the ultimate outsider President willing to do shit career politicians wouldn’t do because it wasn’t politically expedient to do so. Be it tax, immigration or prison reform and now possibly a slow down in the war state. He’s hammering at stuff American politicians have been yapping on about as far as I can remember but did precious little when they had a chance. He’s got nothing to lose and this may start a trend.

      Obama was false hope.

      Trump may help usher in real change.

      1. I’ll give Trump props for appointments, at least slowing regulations, repeal of the O-care mandate, the de-escalation of NK’s nuke bluster, (I hope) prison reform (and if it comes via the Kardashians, that’s better than what ever was whispering in Obo’s ear). Yes, lower taxes.
        Dumps for tariffs.
        Reagan talked a good line, but the budget was a mess when he left. Carter de-regg’d trucking and airlines. None of the others in my experience have gotten close.
        Yeah, he’s a loud-mouthed blowhard. He just lies a bit more transparently than the others; he’s yet to tell me I can keep my doctor.

        1. I agree on tariffs.

          No one is perfect. Trump has his weaknesses for sure.

          But there are tangible and substantial successes (economy included).

      2. Signing legislation driven and passed by Congress is renegade outsider behavior?

        1. Unlabelable MJGreen|12.19.18 @ 11:21PM|#
          “Signing legislation driven and passed by Congress is renegade outsider behavior?”

          Got cites, or did you just pull that out of your ass?
          I’m guessing the later.

  20. Good move.

    Which means the left will hate it.

    Will Obama be mailing or personally handing his ill-deserved Nobel peace hunk of shit to Trump?

  21. The right wing neocons are in a frenzy over this. It will be interesting to see how the progressives attack this withdrawal without revealing that they too are neocons. More proof that Trump is Putin’s puppet I’m guessing.

    1. Wow. I did not think of that.

      Pelosi said in a statement. “All Americans should be concerned that this hasty announcement was made on the day after sentencing in criminal proceedings began against the President’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who admitted that he was a registered foreign agent for a country with clear interests in the Syrian conflict.”

      1. How is a guy who was hired by the Turks to write a few nice articles about Turkey’s foreign policy in the New York Times, a traitorous Russian bot?
        99% of Washington DC are traitors by that metric.

        This is all just part of the slow coupe by the overclass. If your American clerisy doesn’t smarten up they may all end up enjoying a danse avec Mam’zelle Guillotine when the plebs have had enough.

  22. “It represents the worst of the bipartisan Bush-Obama elite foreign policy consensus.”

    The same people attacking Trump from within


    Meet America’s biggest douche bag. Of course he is a skinny, glasses wearing beardo with a permanent smug look on his face. Watch the video of him saying “I am a communist mother fucker” and marvel at the world’s most punchable face.

    1. But lets demonize and ban non-violent groups Proud Boys, McInness, Peterson, Southern, Sargon, Alex Jones etc. each of whom NEVER called for violence or racism.

      I bet Antifa is safe on Twitter, Paypal and Twitter.

      They all have that shitty, evil, wiry, Che look.

    2. “Joseph “Jose” Alcoff works with congressional Democrats as part of his day job as a manager with a DC-based advocacy group. But he spreads socialist and communist propaganda when going by the name “Jose Martin.” ”

      So the worthless scumbag is paid with taxpayer money?

      1. He’s a lobbyist, so he’s bribing the Democrats for taxpayer gibs.

    3. Bad, horrible things need to happen to Mr. Alcoff.

    4. White Lefties trying to relate to non-white Americans is always funny.

      This douche has a ways to go before he can pull off a Karl Marx look.

  24. This Libertarian Moment brought to you by Orange Man and the Deplorables who supported him over the hysterical pants shitting fits of Reason.

    You’re welcome.

    1. reason really gonna lose their shit when Trump deschedules teh weed

      1. Shikha will write an article about how poor Mexican narcos are being deprived of their sustenance.

        1. Yeah, she is roetty ridiculous. How they keep publishing her shit is beyond me.

      2. Orange Man just legalized industrial hemp.


  25. Next ….. withdraw US troops from Afghanistan then Europe.

    1. I think it’s very unrealistic that we don’t maintain some bases around the world. Although withdrawing from Afghanistan would be nice.

  26. When you’re so batshit crazy that you’ll support continued conflict just to be opposed to Trump, you might be Vox.

  27. The media’s all out pants-shitting on this is hilarious.

    The fat fuck finally does something good (besides taxes) without tripping all over his dick, please leave him alone and maybe even give him a kudos to encourage further good behavior. This is a good thing give him some cred.

  28. Don’t any of you wonderful people out there fret.
    There’s plenty of countries left America can invade.

    1. If you’re into invading, too bad that the your drunken, corrupt, warmongering old shrew wasn’t elected.

      1. Hitlery?
        Please no more porn!

  29. I think Trump is right to withdraw American troops from Syria. As they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  30. Why in the world would anybody support democracy?

  31. Hell yea, I support Trump! Should been outta there ages ago! Hope we get outta Afghanistan to! Screw those country’s, they don’t like us anyway!

  32. I am against the habitual use of executive action to conduct war where there has been no declaration of war by Congress. Without a declaration of war, the Constitution does not allow us to take warlike military action (I would recognize an exception for extreme emergency, but the war would have to be ratified by Congress as soon as possible). It was wrong when Harry Truman did it in Korea, and it continued to be wrong through several Democratic and Republican presidents. We have had virtually endless war since World War II, without a single declaration of war. As far as I can see, the only presidents in my lifetime not to conduct war without a congressional declaration of war were Ford and Carter. I do not believe Trump is withdrawing from Syria out of respect for the constitution, which he has shown little respect for. I also do not believe that Trump is doing this out of respect for truth, which he has shown little respect for. His stated reason for withdrawal is that ISIS has been defeated, which is untrue. It is unclear what his real reason is, because Trump is the least honest president we have ever had, though all presidents have engaged in lying to the American people. If the case for war is compelling, Congress will vote for war. If the case for war is not compelling, Congress will not vote for war This comment has NOTHING to do with whether the war in Syria is a good idea. It is based on the belief that following the Constitution is a good idea.

  33. I gotta give it to Trump. He is correct here. The neocons are seething.

  34. This is also the first time Trump has shown some backbone with regards to foreign policy.

  35. Nobel Peace Prize time.

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  37. If we stopped pretending that Saudi Arabia was a good ally, closed our base in Saudi Arabia and offered an escape hatch to the Kurds, then I would be happy to withdraw from Syria. Something tell me we won’t see fast-track amnesty immigration for the Kurds. Turkey will slaughter them.

  38. I’m not a big fan of the Trump dude, but I’ll tell you what the pathetic complaints against this from those that supported Obama’s drone wars make me vomit. I’m actually fine with destroying ISIS but I don’t see how a handful of troops in Syria helps achieve that. The outrage over this decision is pathetic.

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