Syria

Trump Said Leaving Syria Was About Bringing Our Troops Home. Why Is He Sending Them to Iraq?

The mishandling of the Syrian withdrawal appears to have created less stability in Syria and considerably weakened Trump's ability to dictate foreign policy—a situation where actually bringing the troops home now seems even more farfetched.

|

In a Sunday morning tweet that was, at first glance, most notable for how President Donald Trump had misspelled his defense secretary's last name, the president proclaimed that "USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones. We have secured the Oil. Bringing soldiers home!"

About two hours later, that tweet was deleted and replaced with a new tweet that corrected the secretary's name—Mark Esper, not Mark Esperanto—and also made another, less noticed change. Trump removed the original last three words and replaced them with "ending endless wars!"

A noble goal, to be sure. But that change is noteworthy, since it seemingly reveals how the strategy behind Trump's hasty and haphazard withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria is evolving in real-time, even within the president's own mind. Trump has spent the past two weeks facing down intense criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over his decision—announced on Twitter, naturally—to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria and to give a green light to a Turkish military assault. In the face of that criticism, Trump has steadfastly argued that there is no compelling reason to have U.S. troops on the ground in Syria and that he withdrew those forces in order to bring them home.

The first part of that argument is true. The second part is absolutely false.

In fact, Esper's Sunday morning press conference—the one that seems to have prompted Trump's tweets—confirmed that U.S. troops aren't coming home. Instead, Esper said, the roughly 1,000 U.S. troops that have pulled back from northern Syria in recent weeks will be re-positioned across the border in Iraq to protect oil fields and monitor the situation in Syria. The Associated Press reported that the troops moved out of Syria will be used to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State, amid concerns that Turkey's attack on Kurdistan may have resulted in the release of imprisoned ISIS fighters.

"It's pretty clear that he's not bringing home the troops. He's moving troops back into Iraq. He's moving other troops into Saudi Arabia," Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) said Sunday during an appearance on NBC's Meet The Press. The former Republican and frequent Trump critic said he did not think American troops should have been deployed in Syria to begin with and believes Trump should have brought them home along ago. Still, this isn't that, Amash said.

"When you withdraw troops," observed Amash, "you have to plan in advance how to handle it."

That's been a common criticism of Trump's actions in Syria. Withdrawing from Syria was always going to spark bipartisan outrage from pro-intervention members of Congress and foreign policy advisors, but Trump's fumbling of the Syrian situation has triggered criticism even from policymakers, like Amash, who might have otherwise agreed that withdrawing from the Middle East is the correct goal.

"Withdrawal from foreign entanglements will usually be difficult, and always entails trade-offs," says Chris Preble, vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute and author of a forthcoming book about how Trump has harmed American foreign policy. "Understanding these tradeoffs, and being honest about them, can help mitigate some of the worst effects."

The past two weeks have exposed just how much of Trump's Syria strategy is being made up on the fly. It wasn't until after he'd given the green light to a Turkish invasion of Kurd-held territory that Trump tried to put the brakes on the assault. As the situation unraveled and thousands of Kurds fled their homes, the White House eventually brokered a cease-fire while the provisional Kurdish government sought protection from Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. And then U.S. forces had to bomb their own military facilities in order to stop invading Turkish and nearby Russian troops from seizing supplies and weapons stored there.

At home, Trump's actions have triggered condemnation from both chambers of Congress and from leaders of both parties.

In short, the mishandling of the Syrian withdrawal appears to have created a situation where actually bringing the troops home now seems even more farfetched—whether due to congressional opposition or increased chaos in the Middle East that will prompt calls for greater American involvement.

"By attempting to extricate U.S. forces from Syria, and by doing so in such a ham-fisted manner," says Preble, "Trump has needlessly exposed innocent people to harm, and also might have done the impossible—created a bipartisan coalition open to the idea of a long-term military presence in Syria where one didn't before exist."

NEXT: Gavin Newsom, Supporter of Massive Gas Tax Hike, Demands Investigation of $4 per Gallon CA Gas Prices

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

Please to post comments

153 responses to “Trump Said Leaving Syria Was About Bringing Our Troops Home. Why Is He Sending Them to Iraq?

  1. This is the dumbest talking point. The troops had been there for years. Their mission was done. When were they supposed to leave if not now? This criticism could have been made no matter what. So the people making it are just lying and either want the troops to stay there forever or are just criticizing Trump no matter what he does.

    I guess only those writing in the media are dumb enough to think everyone doesn’t see that.

    1. The troops had been there for years. Their mission was done. When were they supposed to leave if not now?

      Are you talking about Iraq? Because they’re not leaving Iraq.

      1. I am talking about Syria. If you want to criticize Trump for not leaving Iraq, do so. You would have a point. But having a point about that just makes you whining about him leaving Syria look that much more stupid.

        How many times do you have to be made to look stupid on here before you learn how to make better arguments? I guess that low IQ of yours really does make a difference.

        1. How many times do you have to be made to look stupid on here before you learn how to make better arguments? I guess that low IQ of yours really does make a difference.

          You know what? I don’t know why I bother.

          Go fuck yourself, John.

          1. I don’t know why you bother either. You never learn. You never get any better or smarter. You make the same stupid mistakes and fallacies over and over again. Pointing them out to you never seems to do any good.

            1. Blah blah blah go fuck yourself. You don’t even know who you’re talking to.

              1. Cry some more. Making stupid people whine is my only real vice.

        2. The government of Iraq has stated that new American troops, ARE NOT welcome in the country.

    2. You are insane if you think we couldn’t have played “leaving” (obviously we haven’t left) NE Syria better than this shitshow. People were killed because Trump is a terrible president.
      It didn’t have to be like this. Trump unleashed death. Those highway executions are his fault. What good is our power if we can’t broker a deal in NE Syria? Why did it require Russia to do it? And Trump got nothing from Turkey not even their gratitude. And Trump didn’t just abandon the Kurds. He fucking backstabbed them and they know it. The depots in this world are laughing at you John. You’re a buffoon. A useful idiot.

      1. What good is our power if we can’t broker a deal in NE Syria?

        What power are you talking about? The only power we have is the threat to go to war with Turkey or Syria, which we are not going to do.

        You are a fucking moron who lives in a fantasy world where we could somehow magically stabilize Syria if only we had stayed longer. The bottom line is the Turks and the Kurds are going to fight it out. If you don’t want to go to war with Turkey and likely Russia, there is nothing you can do to stop that.

        So either join up and go fight the damn war or shut the fuck up. No one died here that wasn’t going to die in the inevitable fight anyway.

        Go you are a fucking retard.

        1. “”If you don’t want to go to war with Turkey and likely Russia, there is nothing you can do to stop that. “”

          Yep. Once Russia got their foothold in Syria, it was a no win situation for us.

        2. Syria and Turkey would not have dared attack us. We had that territory on lockdown. We could have brokered a deal between Turkey and the Kurds — as Russia is now doing. Instead we alienated the Kurds and got nothing from Turkey for our duplicity. Trump even threatened Turkey. Trump is going down in history as a total fucking clown.

          1. a deal between Turkey and the Kurds

            lol!

          2. “We could have brokered a deal between Turkey and the Kurds”

            How? By asking them real nice and saying please?

            “— as Russia is now doing.”

            You say that like it’s a forgone conclusion. If Russia does manage to broker a deal, then what’s the problem? Who gives a shit who does it so long as there’s a deal?

            1. We’re supposed to empower our allies and diminish the power of our foes. Those Kurds were very useful to us. They were willing to fight and required very little from us. There was no reason to hurt them like this. We could have at least gotten something from Turkey for allowing them to take something from our friends. Not that I would have traded on the Kurds like that. It’s just stupid on so many levels. It’s also hard for me to believe that Trump was not motivated by something nefarious then this abstract bs “we’re bringing the troops home” when he’s so clearly not bringing the troops home.

              1. So about that deal that John Kerry worked out with the Russians, er, the deal that the Russians worked out that Kerry scurried behind, I mean. Thumbs up or thumbs down? Remind me how well that worked out. Remind me of the source of our involvement in Syria to begin with. It wasn’t so long ago. Even you can remember who got us into that mess.

                1. Even you can remember who got us into that mess.

                  Are you kidding? Before last week, this shitlib probably thought the MERV was some kind of ethnic hairstyle.

                  1. It’s actually MIRV… 😛

              2. Those Kurds were very useful to us. They were willing to fight and required very little from us.

                LOL, bullshit. They’ve been complaining about not getting enough air support going all the way back to the siege of Kobani. Every engagement they acted as if every CCT in Syria needed to be lining up bombers and CAS like the Pacific Coast Highway.

                You know literally nothing about this conflict that you didn’t find out about last week.

              3. Turkey was supposed to be our ally also. We allied with a Kurdish group because they were fighting a terrorist group called ISIS. But at least according to Turkey, this Kurdish group is ALSO a terrrorist group that Turkey has had problems with for years. Turkey considers BOTH ISIS and the Kurdish group to be terrorist gangs and considers that now that ISIS isn’t so much a problem but Kurdish group still IS a problem that the US needs to either butt out or back them up. Because the original “stab in the back” to an ally here was to Turkey.

              4. We’re supposed to empower our allies and diminish the power of our foes.

                Turkey is an actual, on-paper NATO ally. Not a good one, but a formal one. The Kurds are “allies” in an unofficial way because, as Paloma notes, helping out this particular group of Kurds was a pretty massive “fuck you” to our NATO ally, Turkey.

                Those Kurds were very useful to us.

                We we very useful to them. ISIS was in their country, kidnapping their children, burning down their villages, raping their wives, daughters and mothers.

                They saw this very much as their fight, and it was. They were glad for the help, but to suggest that they were helping the US toward some goal they were only marginally involved in is just bizarre.

                Once IS was gone, their remaining enemies (i.e. Turkey) were people we couldn’t help them with. The execution seemed a bit haphazard, but the decision itself was a good one, and applies to Iraq and Afghanistan just as well.

          3. “We could have brokered a deal between Turkey and the Kurds — as Russia is now doing.”

            Russia is doing it by brokering a deal between Assad and the Kurds, bringing themselves and the Syrian army into Eastern Syria, and most importantly, launching airstrikes on the Turks.

            America really didn’t have any of those options.

            1. “launching airstrikes on the Turks.”

              Russia is launching airstrikes on a country that’s buying air defense systems from them? That’s some hard-core salesmanship.

              1. Technically they’re bombing the Turkish-backed militias, while the Syrians are the ones supposedly hitting the actual Turkish artillery back the militias up.

                1. So “Technically”, Russia isn’t really launching airstrikes on Turkey. You just said they were and then contraindicated yourself because you always have to be right. Even if you’re not “Technically” right.

          4. “Syria and Turkey would not have dared attack us. We had that territory on lockdown.”

            Actually, Turkey killed a US soldier a few weeks ago. ‘We’ have no legal nor moral right to be there. Nor any ‘practical’ reason other than to stop Syria from regaining its territories and meager oil supplies.

            1. I pointed this out last week to him and he chose to ignore it. Turkey did she’ll American positions in September. He is choosing to ignore this in his ever deepening TDS.

          5. Irritating Turkey is probably one of the worst moves that America can pull. If they decide to go 100% against us, the United States CANNOT win against Turkey. I fought with a couple of Turkish platoons in Vietnam and have seen them in action. I would have gone AWOL within 24 hours if word came out that we would have to fight Turks. Albanians are another group we DON’T want to mess with because we WILL lose.

        3. There is such a thing as a graceful exit.

          This weren’t it.

      2. “Those highway executions are his fault.”

        Those highway executions were committed by the same Pentagon/CIA-armed, FSA head-chopping jihadist groups that Trump’s predecessors praised when they wanted to oust Assad.

        1. Maybe, but currently they’re working for the Turkish government.

          1. “Maybe, but currently they’re working for the Turkish government.”

            Tel me why I should care.

            1. Didn’t say you should. Wasn’t even talking to you, actually.

      3. Here’s an idea – why don’t you go do it? Go to Syria. Suit up and go to the front lines and broker your deal. Go on. I dare you.

        For the men who get stationed in crap holes like Syria defending shit that isn’t of any interest to most Americas, getting out is important. Getting out without being mangled is nearly as important.

        If you can’t even articulate what vital American interest is being served by America’s presence in Syria – go stuff yourself. You’re just another bitch who wants American soldiers to die for no reason.

    3. John,

      Didn’t you go to Iraq to fight against Iraqi Nationalists? Talk about dumb.

    4. John….I figure POTUS Trump is just the clean up guy, vis a vis Syria. He is just cleaning the mess left behind by POTUS Obama. And Syria was (and remains) a mess. Thanks POTUS Obama.

      I really don’t see what the Congress is all upset about. Did they vote to intervene in Syria? Nope. Did they protest? Nope. Did the Congress just ‘suddenly’ grow a constitutional conscience? Unlikely, given all the authority they have ceded to the Executive.

      There is no vital US interest in Syria.

    5. John, the man who complained about obama’s Fake pull outs. Reason should really consider deleting their comment section, it’s embarrassing.

      1. Reason should really consider deleting their comment section, it’s embarrassing.

        Talk about a self-own.

      2. “Reason should really consider deleting their comment section, it’s embarrassing.”
        So long as you post here ohlookatLeftyfuckingignoramuses, that’s true.

    6. So… you’re cool with ISIS re-establishing itself? Is that what you’re getting at?

      The point of the US troop presence in Syria was a kind of de facto “peacekeeping” force to prevent Turkey from invading and distracting the Kurds from thanklessly tending to thousands of ISIS prisoners.

      Turkey’s invasion of Kurdish territory was by no means inevitable – or at least, it wouldn’t have been had our president not been such a transparent amateur. Erdogan no doubt told Trump that the invasion was coming one way or the other, and so it was up to Trump whether he wanted American troops to be caught in the crossfire. Trump, being the witless coward that he is, turned tail and pulled the troops out. A stronger and more trustworthy president would have called Erdogan’s bluff. But Erdogan clearly got a good read on Trump, knew that Trump acted impulsively on the last advice he hears, and played to Trump’s racist ignorance.

      It was a masterstroke of geopolitical savvy. Erdogan got everything he wanted, plus a voluntary surrender of at least part of the “buffer zone” he wanted in Syria – at no charge! All he had to do was give Trump some face-saving cover, and Trump dropped even the weak sanctions he had been threatening.

      Trump’s the laughingstock of the world’s authoritarian rulers. He has voluntarily squashed the American hegemony and ushered in the multipolar world we’d been worried about.

      1. SimonP
        October.22.2019 at 11:12 pm
        “So… you’re cool with ISIS re-establishing itself? Is that what you’re getting at?”

        So you’re cool with endless commitment of US lives and treasure?
        It’s amusing how fucking lefty ignoramuses are now pro-war.
        Fuck off and die where we can’t smell you.

      2. Simon…Turkey is an ally by treaty. I am not thrilled with that, but that is the objective reality.

        Are you seriously suggesting US Troops just hold in place and take on the Turkish Army with 1K troops? Dude, we are good – but we are not superheros. That aside, there is the matter of Turkey being an ally and asking us for help. Daesh is a regional problem. The region, and the Euro-ingrates can deal with it.

        1. The best example of deep TDS is when a progressive argues for perpetual military occupation.

          1. +10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

      3. So… you’re cool with ISIS re-establishing itself? Is that what you’re getting at?

        I’m cool with it if they throw you off a building.

        1. Red Rocks…I’m cool with letting Russia, Turkey and Syria deal with ISIS. Our job there is done. And if the Euro-ingrates want to make noises about it, they are welcome to take in ISIS to their countries.

    7. Propagandists, like Boehm, in the media think Americans still care what they think.

      I bet Boehm does not even know how those American troops even got into Syria.

      Trump did the right thing by removing troops from Syria.

  2. “that he withdrew those forces in order to bring them home.”

    He did not say they would come home immediately as @Reason assumes.
    The U.S. already has troops in Iraq.

    1. We are no longer involved in the war in Syria. The fact that we still have troops other places doesn’t change that or somehow make us no longer being involved less desirable.

      Reason can’t seem to grasp that fact because Orange Man Bad or something.

      1. “The fact that we still have troops other places doesn’t change that or somehow make us no longer being involved less desirable.”

        It doesn’t, but it makes a perfect place for U.S. troops to go temporarily as opposed to fly directly to the U.S.

      2. I think it’s fair game to call someone out who says bring the troops home, and doesn’t. Doesn’t matter what is going on in Iraq.

        Now if he said troops no longer needed there, we are going to send them were they are needed, that would be different.

        1. It is fair game to say you want them out of Iraq. It is not fair game to complain about them leaving Syria and pretend that isn’t a good thing. They are two different questions.

          1. It is not fair game to complain about them leaving Syria and pretend that isn’t a good thing.

            Which no one did, but you’re a freaking moron, so there’s that.

            1. You are all doing it. You are bitching about iraq like it fucking matters to the question at hand.

              1. You are all doing it. You are bitching about iraq like it fucking matters to the question at hand.

                Nope.

                I understand that’s what you want to believe, because it’s the only thing that would justify what an insufferable dick you’re being, but it just ain’t true man, it just ain’t.

                1. LOL – John is a Republican – he refuses to accept that few people here give a shit about the Team Red/Team Blue nonsense. Trump said he was bringing the troops home, many times. He hasn’t brought the troops home. He doesn’t appear to actually have any intention of bringing the troops home. Why is that? Because Trump’s a liar? Or because Trump doesn’t actually have the courage of his convictions (assuming he actually has any) and just tends to listen to whoever he talked to last and therefore tends to just make random decisions with no over-arching principles underlying the decisions? When you look at all the shit Trump has said and all the various stances he’s taken on just about every issue, I’m going with the second – you never know what Trump’s going to do or say next because Trump himself has no idea what he’s going to do or say next.

                  Now, as I’ve said before, the fact that Trump kept Hillary out of the White House (and you’re crazy if you think anybody other than Trump could have done the same thing) makes Trump arguably the greatest president since Reagan and certainly means Trump has done a greater service to this country than the entire Republican Party has done for the last 30 years, but not lying your ass off about your principles and stabbing your constituency in the back is a pretty damn low bar for “greatest Republican since Reagan”. (And Reagan picked that fuckhead Bush for his VP so I’m not convinced Reagan was all that great, either.) With that being said, Trump has done plenty of things worth criticizing and “but Hillary” only goes so far. Plus, he’s a colossal douchebag, but he was born and raised in New York City so you can’t really blame him for not knowing any better, it’s just the way those people are – pig-ignorant and proud of it.

                  1. Proper analysis.

                    Trump 2020! Keep America Great ( by keeping any of those moronic clowns out of the White House) !!

                2. Your selective pragmatism is amusing. Which is preferable, the US involved in Syria and Iraq or just Iraq? And no made up third option, those are the choices on the table. Which is better? Or will you pout and refuse to choose?

                  No, we must have everyone brought back to US soil now! And next you will say that isn’t good enough because we have too many troops period! And the purity test will be adjusted ever tighter.

                  Do you oppose arms sales from the US to Saudi Arabia? Can you reconcile your supposed free mind for free markets with government dictating whom private US corporations can associate?

                  The feigned principles get old.

                  1. Which is preferable, the US involved in Syria and Iraq or just Iraq?

                    The latter. Um, praise Trump?

                    Which is better, saying you’re going to bring the troops home and bringing them home, or saying you’re going to bring the troops home and having them withdraw to just the other side of the border to “monitor the situation?”

                    Only two choices now! Since I guess we’re back to Manichean dualism being good today.

                    Do you oppose arms sales from the US to Saudi Arabia?

                    That depends. Are we going to actually free up the international arms market, or are we granting a special privilege to Saudi Arabia? Are we going to sell arms to Iran also?

                    Or is that not a valid argument this week?

                    The feigned principles get old.

                    lol

                    Physician, heal thyself.

                    1. Only two choices now! Since I guess we’re back to Manichean dualism being good today.

                      Well it was perfectly good when it came to the Iran deal. After all the only two choices were war or capitulation, right? Or are you going to deny that that was Reason’s position as well?

                      That depends. Are we going to actually free up the international arms market, or are we granting a special privilege to Saudi Arabia? Are we going to sell arms to Iran also?

                      Look at how quickly the pragmatism morphs back into purity. What a shocker! Would you honestly be OK with US corps arming both, or are you pretending to hold to some principle again?

                      Physician, heal thyself.

                      I can’t. You’re hogging all the medicine.

                    2. Well it was perfectly good when it came to the Iran deal.

                      So you’re not actually going to answer my question, but would rather talk about the Iran deal all of a sudden. Got it.

                      After all the only two choices were war or capitulation, right? Or are you going to deny that that was Reason’s position as well?

                      I’m sure you’re making some kind of point here, but I think it’s only clear to you what it is. Unless it’s that you’re incapable of seeing things in any but the most starkly dualistic terms, which is becoming increasingly apparent.

                      Look at how quickly the pragmatism morphs back into purity. What a shocker!

                      Mmkay, so you’re not going answer that question, either.

                      Your obsession with catching me in some kind of “gotcha” is flattering, but you’re failing here, big time.

                      Would you honestly be OK with US corps arming both, or are you pretending to hold to some principle again?

                      Hey, buddy – you were the one saying the principled position is to arm Saudi Arabia. I was merely asking whether your principles dictate that we arm Saudi Arabia specifically or whether we have a global free market in arms trade.

                      If we were to have a global free market in arms trade, I would be okay with that (like I said, quite clearly and unambiguously), but that’s really one of those “only possible in the most abstract theory” things.

                      Would you be okay with selling weapons to Iran alongside Saudi Arabia?

                      Oh wait – you already said you didn’t want to answer that question.

                  2. “Your selective pragmatism is amusing.”

                    How’s about a pull-quote so I don’t have to scroll up half a page to discover to whom you are replying?

        2. For the record. All Presidents BS about this sort of thing. Obama took credit for ending the Afghan and Iraq wars, but we are still there.

          But when someone says troops are coming home, wake me up when the troops’ feet hit US soil.

      3. You should still be embarrassed to engage in conversation. I’d ask you to read your comment again, but I doubt you can engAge in self reflection

        1. ohlookMarketthugs
          October.22.2019 at 8:35 pm
          “You should still be embarrassed to engage in conversation….”

          Your mom should be embarrassed she didn’t opt for an abortion. Fuck off and die where we can’t smell you.

      4. Tell us how Obama invaded Iraq, John.

        1. LeaveTrumpAloneLibertarian
          October.22.2019 at 10:37 pm
          “Tell us how Obama invaded Iraq, John.”

          Tell us what you paid U-Haul to drag that strawman with you, fucking socialist scumbag.

    2. “USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones. We have secured the Oil. Bringing soldiers home!”

  3. Make Iraq the 51st state. He can backtrack on immigration and foreign wars all at once.

    36DD chess FTW!

  4. It wasn’t just immigration and abortion access that motivated me to vote for Hillary Clinton. Her foreign policy record in the Senate and as Secretary of State proved she’d make the superior Commander in Chief.

    Instead, Russian hacking gave us Drumpf. Predictably, his illegitimate Putin puppet regime has made one disastrous blunder after another.

    #StillWithHer

    1. Hillary Clinton is a fascist authoritarian with a bad foreign policy where she said “we came, we saw, he died”

      That is whom you voted for.

      1. Remember when Trump had the Syria airbase bombed? Hillary thought Trump didn’t go far enough.

      2. Right over your pointed head!

  5. Trump has steadfastly argued that there is no compelling reason to have U.S. troops on the ground in Syria and that he withdrew those forces in order to bring them home.

    The first part of that argument is true. The second part is absolutely false.

    Now watch the Trumpalos declare this to be advocacy of continued occupation of Syria.

    1. See there you go again. You say something stupid like Trumpeloes and you make yourself look like a retard. And no one here is advocating we occupy Syria. If Trump decides to do that, get back to me and I will be the first person to criticize him for it. Until he does, you are just as you often do making shit up and listening to the voices in your head rather than thinking.

      1. Holy shit you’re being a fucking idiot today.

        I’m saying the Trumpalos will claim this is what Reason is arguing.</i.

        Which is exactly what you're doing.

        If the shoe fits, man.

        1. Can you explain why Reason thinks we have an obligation to the Kurds?

          since it seemingly reveals how the strategy behind Trump’s hasty and haphazard withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria is evolving in real-time

          Sure seems like Reason isn’t happy with the withdrawal, but perhaps “hasty and haphazard” are compliments in California these days.

          And of course Turkey never would have advanced into Syria if the US had just had a “better planned” complete withdrawal. All the best minds told me so. So if you truly care about the Kurds in Syria and think the US has an obligation to protect them then you are willing to stay there indefinitely.

          If Turkey had done exactly the same thing after Trump had brought every single one of our troops home from Syria, do you think you and Reason would not be just as critical about his “bungling?”

          Answer honestly.

          1. Can you explain why Reason thinks we have an obligation to the Kurds?

            Pointing out that the withdrawal seemed, at least from a distance, hasty and haphazard is not the same thing as saying that the US has an obligation to defend the Kurds.

            And of course Turkey never would have advanced into Syria if the US had just had a “better planned” complete withdrawal. All the best minds told me so.

            Well I don’t know who’s arguing that, but that’s silly.

            If Turkey had done exactly the same thing after Trump had brought every single one of our troops home from Syria, do you think you and Reason would not be just as critical about his “bungling?”

            You’re conflating two criticisms. One is that he’s not actually bringing the troops home, he’s just pulling them back to just across the border.

            The other is that given the confusion of his officials and the sudden change from the way Trump and his people were talking back at the beginning of August it seemed, and part of this is watching Trump’s personality, like he had made promises to the SDF that we wasn’t keeping.

            OTOH, they had no right to rely on him, and probably weren’t anyway, because they’re not fools.

            If Trump had done everything the same, but brought the troops back to the US instead of re-positioning them in Iraq? Yes, I would still be complaining about the haphazard withdrawal.

            If it had been well planned and he had left the SDF well prepared to face the Turks but only pulled back to Iraq? I would have criticized not returning the troops home, but would have been okay with his treatment of the SDF.

            1. Really, you don’t know who’s arguing that?

              Furthermore, the reported lack of advance warning to the Kurdish forces for whom Trump previously expressed strong support means more bloodshed is likely than we might have seen with a better-planned, full U.S. exit. And the narrowness of this shift—explicitly cast by the White House as getting out of Turkey’s way instead of leaving Syria altogether—manages to function more as pulling the rug out from under the Kurds than a meaningful strategy change in service to U.S. interests.

              So precisely how would warning the Kurds affect Turkey’s actions? Or are you and Bonnie suggesting that the preparing the Kurds to fight back is what we should be doing. Strange, you seem to oppose that in other regions as interventionism… So that doesn’t work.

              That leaves us with “better planned” “full exit.” See how that fixes everything? You just need better planning and a full withdrawal because nothing says “Turkey stay away” more than removing even more troops. The logic is inescapable.

              If it had been well planned and he had left the SDF well prepared to face the Turks but only pulled back to Iraq? I would have criticized not returning the troops home, but would have been okay with his treatment of the SDF.

              Oh, so now the problem is you think he betrayed a promise to the Kurds. So you seem to be saying that there is a price that we are obligated to pay because of that. What is that price? Is it a specific quantity of arms? A particular duration of troops to act as a tripwire?

              I expect you will be silent if he brings the troops home and will focus entirely on abandoning the Kurds.

              As Ken noted below the Motte and Bailey game just gets played over and over.

              1. Okay, so you’re saying that Reason was saying that the withdrawal caused the Turkish invasion, which wouldn’t have ever happened without it, and then you pick those goalposts right up and run off to

                So precisely how would warning the Kurds affect Turkey’s actions?

                ignoring the fact that the passage you quoted doesn’t actually say what you say it says.

                It’s another instance of you hearing any criticism of Trump as support for the exact opposite of everything you believe.

                This is not a rational way of looking at the world.

                That leaves us with “better planned” “full exit.” See how that fixes everything?

                Now do Iraq and Afghanistan.

                Oh, so now the problem is you think he betrayed a promise to the Kurds. So you seem to be saying that there is a price that we are obligated to pay because of that. What is that price? Is it a specific quantity of arms? A particular duration of troops to act as a tripwire?

                Holy shit, dude, calm yourself.

                Are you really claiming that this whole situation was perfectly planned by Trump? That this was part of some coherent strategy for disengaging from the Middle East? What evidence is there of that?

                You’re saying that any criticism of how Trump went about this is support for eternal interventionism, but then when it comes to leaving troops in Iraq and continuing to negotiate with the Taliban to make sure their transition is seamless, you lose your shit at anyone pointing out the contradictions and suggesting that maybe not everything Trump says is true.

                And you’re running around acting like you’re catching me in some sort of contradiction that you can’t articulate without sputtering incoherence.

                I expect you will be silent if he brings the troops home and will focus entirely on abandoning the Kurds.

                Yeah – all over this thread you’re telling me what you just know I must think about all kinds of things.

                *eyeroll*

            2. Follow up question:

              Trump announces immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan with no agreement with the Taliban leaving the Kabul government vulnerable again. Good or bad? Keep in mind when the Taliban assaults there will be deaths… Is that bungling? Do we have to delay until we can ensure that won’t happen? How “well planned” must that be? Can you or Bonnie or Reason offer any details beyond vapid adjectives?

              Enquiring principles want to know.

              1. All those who oppose foreign military activity under Obo will immediately claim ‘Trump isn’t doing it right!’
                Personally, I’d suggest marching them to the nearest safe airport, loading them on transports and sending them back to the US. We’re at nearly full employment; they can get off the plane, end their military careers and get good-paying jobs right now.
                Materiel is another question, but it’s already sunk costs. Probably better to destroy it in place; cheaper than dragging it home.

              2. I want to point out that unlike you, I’m actually going to respond to your questions.

                Trump announces immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan with no agreement with the Taliban leaving the Kabul government vulnerable again. Good or bad?

                Again with the dualism. A bit of a curse with you, no? Are the troops just stepping across the border for a moment, or are they actually coming home? Is Trump saying “hey, we’ve got your back, don’t worry” and then announcing withdrawal the following week?

                Leaving Afghanistan would be good thing. Doing so without rolling out the red carpet to the Taliban would be better.

                Keep in mind when the Taliban assaults there will be deaths… Is that bungling?

                That would depend on a lot of factors, the situation being not nearly so simple as you’re pretending in order to defend your precious Leader.

                Do we have to delay until we can ensure that won’t happen? How “well planned” must that be?

                As someone who has the ability to see the secret wisdom in everything that Trump does, maybe you can share his strategy behind our ongoing presence there. I would be fine leaving there today.

                If you actually paid as close attention to my posts as you pretend to, you would have noticed that my main complaint about Syria was choosing the SDF as the first people we abandon in our sudden spasm of anti-interventionism while we continue to defend Saudi Arabia, enable the war in Yemen, and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan.

                The one group we were defending that was pro-democracy, multi-ethnic and secular was the first one we abandoned.

                Abandoning the feuding tribes of Afghanistan to continue feuding with one another doesn’t bother me nearly as much.

                Can you or Bonnie or Reason offer any details beyond vapid adjectives?

                Enquiring principles want to know.

                Oooh, you’re precious principals! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!

        2. “I’m saying the Trumpalos”

          It’s a shame that the scumbag victims of TDS spend so much of their time inventing nicknames which 1st-grade kids find embarrassing.
          Wanna be taken seriously? Act like an adult.

          1. Wanna be taken seriously? Act like an adult.

            This coming from the senile shit-flinger?

            lol

  6. …or leaving the troops in Iraq to monitor the situation is hos way of appeasing all the idiots, including reason writers, who lost their shit over his initial withdrawal a few weeks ago. Remember all those people claiming we abandoned the kurds, Boehm? Well this is his attempt to mitigate that and acknowledge those concerns.

    Too bad you wasted all these words just to to miss that simple point.

    1. Trump just ran away and left things a mess. Okay, so Trump stays in iraq and uses economic pressure to try and control the situation and gets a ceasefire and we are told Trump didn’t bring the troops home.

      It would be nice if they would bother to even try and be consisted rather than emoting talking points like they mean anything.

  7. Trump Said Leaving Syria Was About Bringing Our Troops Home. Why Is He Sending Them to Iraq?

    Why do you think those two things are in any way connected? Are you still operating under the delusion that what Trump says has anything at all to do with anything at all? Trump opens his face and random sounds fall out but you’re a fool if you think they actually have any meaning.

    I caught a clip of Trump backing out of the Doral deal, despite the fact that it was one of the most incredibly fantastic amazing greatest most powerful deals in the history of the universe and I heard him say these words – it’s right next to the Miami airport, one of the biggest, some people say the biggest, airport in the world. What the actual fuck? Nobody, nobody, has ever said the Miami airport is the biggest airport in the world, it’s not even the biggest airport in Florida, for fuck’s sake. But Trump has that Tourette’s thing where he can’t help himself, he just has to throw some sort of utter bullshit like that into the conversation, he can’t keep his mouth shut, a thought enters his head and it has to pop out of his mouth.

    And I fully expect somebody to come along and explain why the Miami airport is in fact the largest airport in the world.

    1. We need more bigness in this world.

      1. We certainly could use more intelligence.
        Fuck off and die; improve the world’s intelligence.

  8. >>”When you withdraw troops,” observed Amash, “you have to plan in advance how to handle it.”

    When you’re president Justin …

  9. There seem to be an unusual amount of simultaneous protests/riots/unrest going on around the world for various reasons. They seem to come in two varieties. One is saying, “government, get off our backs,” while the other seems to be saying, “government, plz more gibs.” It’s interesting that I see some people commenting about the protests as if they were all saying the same thing, “government, be good not bad.”

    1. The common thing here… COMMON GROUND, people! What is in common between ALL of the supposedly at-odds approaches or mentalities, here… OK, yes, “government, be good not bad” is a good first approximation… But what we REALLY all need to do, is PULL TOGETHER and PRAY HARDER, to Government Almighty!

      I am doing my part, how about YOU?!?!

      Forthwith, then…

      “Government Almighty, giveth, and Government Almighty taketh away; blessed be the name of Government Almighty.”

      Let’s give it up for Government Almighty!!!

      Dearest Government Almighty:
      Our Nannies, who art in D.C.,
      Hallowed by Thy Names!
      Thy Wokeness come,
      Thy Will be done,
      Everywhere, as it is in D.C.
      Give us permission to be,
      And forgive us our 3 felonies per day,
      As we bake cakes for those who are gay.
      Lead us not into incorrectness,
      But deliver us from un-wokeness.
      For Thine is the Empire and the power and the glory,
      Forever and ever and ever! Amen!

      1. If you ever really have a point, you might try offering it in other than 1st-grade doggerel.

        1. Since you’re handicapped, I’ll give you a REALLY broad hint: For better or worse, “Government Almighty” has replaced “God”.

    1. Are these the pro-American guys?

  10. Well, golly! It’s almost as if reason, judgment, and planned execution matter more than satisfying, cathartic ‘endorsements’ of a non-intervenionist foreign policy. Haven’t Reason and Rand Paul been praising Trump’s ‘bold non-intervenionist moves’ with respect to the Kurdish-controlled territory? Maybe you guys should reconsider the impact of Trump’s corruption on his decision-making – maybe even dedicate a real reporter to the issue.

  11. The mishandling of the Syrian withdrawal appears to have created less stability in Syria and considerably weakened Trump’s ability to dictate foreign policy

    Perhaps a more Clintonian intervention like what we did in Libya is in order.

    1. “Better planned” == the same really smart people who got us into Syria and out of Iraq would magically get it right this time.

      1. Alerting the Kurds, and helping them bolster their defenses and prepare for an onslaught would have been the right way to get out,

        So, yes, it could have been done well.

        1. You think that would have prevented all attacks?

          1. You really don’t see the difference between being prepared for an attack and not being prepared for an attack?

            1. “You really don’t see the difference between being prepared for an attack and not being prepared for an attack?”

              And I’m sure you have inside information on why the US should never re-deploy military forces, right?
              Well, let’s see it.
              Or you could admit you are full of shit and STFU.

              1. I’m really enjoying this whole “US needs to get out of X now! Wait, I didn’t mean now, now. I meant better now. More goodly now.”

                1. Or:
                  “We really wanted to get out of the Near East if Obo did so, and please ignore that small issue in Libya; there’s nothing behind the curtain!”

                2. I’m really enjoying this whole “US needs to get out of X now! Wait, I didn’t mean now, now. I meant better now. More goodly now.”

                  Now do Iraq and Afghanistan.

              2. And I’m sure you have inside information on why the US should never re-deploy military forces, right?

                Which doesn’t actually have anything to do with anything I said, but thanks for playing.

                And you forgot to say “fuck off and die in a fire, shitstain proggie.”

            2. So the US is obligated to prepare the Kurds? What is the limit for that? It isn’t troops because your principles say the US shouldn’t intervene. Air strikes? Intervention again. No Fly Zone? Damn, still intervention…

              It can’t be arms because you approve of blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia because they’re unsavory, but then again so are the Kurds… So it’s a 30 day notice? OK, that changes everything.

              1. So the US is obligated to prepare the Kurds?

                You really have a hard time not framing everything in the most starkly black-and-white terms, don’t you? Must be an engineer.

                It can’t be arms because you approve of blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia because they’re unsavory, but then again so are the Kurds

                Do you actually know what you’re talking about?

                Didn’t think so.

          2. And BT assumes it was not done. Must’a been there, right BT?
            Or are you bullshitting?
            (my guess: 2nd option)

  12. Retreat Position 1: President Trump is withdrawing our troops from northern Syria, but he isn’t withdrawing them from Syria entirely–and that makes him a warmonger.

    Retreat Position 2: President Trump is withdrawing our troops from Syria pretty much entirely, but he isn’t withdrawing our troops from Iraq–and that makes him a warmonger.

    Retreat Position 3: President Trump is negotiating with the Taliban to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, but he isn’t withdrawing our troops from our airbases in the UK–and that makes him a warmonger.

    Retreat Position 4: President Trump is withdrawing our troops from the UK, but he isn’t withdrawing our troops from Atlanta, GA or Montana–so he’s a warmonger.

    Reality: There hasn’t been a more peace-seeking president than Trump since at least before Reagan–maybe as far back as before Herbert Hoover. If any of us live long enough to see a president more committed to peace than President Donald Trump has been over the course of his first term, it will be amazing. Anyone who objectively believes otherwise is delusional at best. At worst, they’re being willfully dishonest, and if Trump is punished at the ballot box specifically for his efforts at peace, it will make future presidents even more reluctant to seek it as Trump has done.

    1. I love seeing big insanity take its toll. From the man who says Obama started the herion, fentanol crisis, to children shouldn’t have healthcare. Let’s not forget, a warmonger when Obama was around, how sad. Big Sad lol

      1. So Trump said to get into Syria? Strange, I can’t seem to find that anywhere. I can find Obama and Kerry completely bungling the Arab Spring and practically inviting Russia into Syria. Hope and Change, because after the change all you’ve got is hope.

      2. He also told me that buying a health care policy from Prudential was socialist. Crazy. LOOLOOOLOOO!

        1. LeaveTrumpAloneLibertarian
          October.22.2019 at 10:39 pm
          “He also told me that buying a health care policy from Prudential was socialist. Crazy. LOOLOOOLOOO!”

          To a fucking socialist ignoramus, I’m sure that makes sense.
          To adults, it suggests you ask you mommy for your meds.

        2. ObamaCare also increased the Medicaid rolls by 10 million.

          The ObamaCare exchanges also let you buy insurance policies that are subsidized at taxpayer expense–even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid.

          If you don’t understand why both of those things are socialist, then you don’t understand the meaning of the word.

          Capitalism is industry controlled by private owners, prices set by markets, and wealth distributed by markets.

          Socialism is government control of industry, prices set by bureaucrats, and wealth distributed by government.

          Hospitals are prohibited from excluding patients because they’re on Medicaid, the prices Medicaid pays for services are set by CMS (AKA bureaucrats), and the program is funded by income taxes, corporate taxes (taxes on profits), and capital gains taxes. Meanwhile, eligibility for Medicaid is generally only available to individuals who make less than $20,000 a year (more if you have children).

          In other words, it’s a socialist program in every way.

          Like I said, there’s no shame in being ignorant, for the most part, but if you persist in pretending to be ignorant, even after all thsi has been spelled out for you, people won’t be wrong to assume you must be stupid. You have this information now. Try to remember it for the next thread. Just because you read somewhere that pretending not to know what socialism is makes you look smart doesn’t make it so.

      3. ohlookMarketthugs
        October.22.2019 at 8:47 pm
        “I love seeing big insanity take its toll….”

        I don’t.
        It typically includes the blatherings of ohlookatFuckingleftyighnoramuses, ohlookatFuckingleftyighnoramuses.

      4. “I love seeing big insanity take its toll. From the man who says Obama started the herion, fentanol crisis, to children shouldn’t have healthcare.”

        I’m on board with cutting Medicaid–and able bodied parents who neglect their children’s medical care should probably be arrested with or without Medicaid. Incidentally, without Medicaid, care providers would compete more on price. Have you seen hospitals advertise their rates as being lower than the competition’s anytime recently?

        I vaguely remember making the argument that the opioid crisis accelerated when ObamaCare added 10 million people to the Medicaid rolls. That thread was from two years ago! You remembered it longer than I did.

        Anyway, why wouldn’t adding 10 million people to the Medicaid rolls translate into more opioid addicts? The stats I showed in that old thread certainly supported that theory.

        Here’s the outline of that argument:

        Point 1

        More than 75% of opioid addicts get their drugs either from a prescription themselves or–for free–from a family member or friend who has a prescription.

        Only about 4% of opioid addicts buy their drugs from a dealer.

        Link to the data in Point 1:

        http://tinyurl.com/ybhy8d94

        1. Point 2

          People who make less than $20,000 a year are 3.4 times more likely to become addicted to opioids than someone who earns $50,000 per year.

          Data from Point 2:

          http://tinyurl.com/y7r8rto5

          Put those stats together, and what do you get?

          Point 1: More than 75% of opioid addicts are getting their opioids with a prescription.

          +

          Point 2: People who qualify for Medicaid are 3.4 times as likely to become opioid addicts

          = The uptick in opioid addiction is almost certainly a function of the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion.

          Persecuting addicts may or may not do anything about people who are already addicted, but if you want to shut the system down that’s creating more and more opioid addicts everyday, shutting down the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion is the way to solve that part of the problem.

          1. Accusing me of blaming ObamaCare for increasing the magnitude of the opioid crisis is completely off base^2 if the data suggests that ObamaCare increased the magnitude of the opioid crisis.

            https://reason.com/2017/08/12/the-justice-department-wants-to-put-smal/#comment-6928982

    2. ” If any of us live long enough to see a president more committed to peace than President Donald Trump ”

      A commitment to peace is not enough. Trump doesn’t seem able to get beyond his shallow commitment to peace and actually end any of the conflicts that are entangling America. That’s what counts in the end. Trump can stick his commitments up his orange ass.

      1. I expect you’re the perfect tour guide for that.

        1. I’m the perfect tour guide. And one of the biggest, some would say the biggest, tour guide. In the world.

          1. “I’m the perfect tour guide. And one of the biggest, some would say the biggest, tour guide. In the world.”

            You are a fucking bullshit artist and sophist, pretending to some knowledge.
            Those of us who read your shit are not fooled.

            1. “Those of us who read your shit are not fooled.”

              Hats off to the non fooled.

    3. There you go expecting principles from Reason. The ends always justify the means.

      1. The ends always justify the means.

        Which you think is terrible in this specific context.

  13. “…pulled back from northern Syria in recent weeks will be re-positioned across the border in Iraq to protect oil fields…”

    Iraq says ‘no’ to more US troops in their country. The troops can pass through – and out.

    “Trump has spent the past two weeks facing down intense criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over his decision—announced on Twitter, naturally—to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria and to give a green light to a Turkish military assault.”

    The criticism has NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH GIVING TURKEY A ‘GREEN LIGHT’. Trump has been criticized by the rest the vile regime in Washington each time he has tried to pull troops out, while only getting praise from them for the times he bombed Syria. Turkey is using the same CIA/Pentagon-armed head-chopping militia groups against the Kurds that were supported by the Trump administration’s predecessors.

    These bastards (99% of Congressmen and Senator, the Pentagon, intelligence agencies) are nothing but liars and killers. I wouldn’t lift a finger to save them from anyone – North Korea, Iran, etc – because they are the most deceitful, murderous political/government bureaucrats leaders on the planet.

    Trump’s removal of troops from Syria is the best foreign policy decision he has made. And criticism from the rest of the government for that decision, is evidence for that.

    1. “Trump’s removal of troops from Syria ”

      They’re still in Syria, camped out around some oil fields. Making themselves a perfect target for mischief, no doubt.

      1. No, they are leaving. And they’re not participating in conflict. Stay tuned.

      2. “They’re still in Syria, camped out around some oil fields. Making themselves a perfect target for mischief, no doubt.”

        Noted bullshitter and sophist assumes troops are magically transported from one location to the US ports by levitation!

        1. Oil fields, Sevo. They are protecting oil fields. In Syria. US soldiers, Sevo.

          1. Bullshit, trueman. You are posting bullshit, trueman.

            1. If it comes out of the mouth of Trump, such as ‘the troops are coming home,’ it’s bullshit. You need more TDS, Not enough and you studpid.

              1. Funny how people like mtrueman say that Trump is a liar except when he says something they want to use to undermine his actions.

                At this point, its just sad .

  14. M.I.C. See ya real soon. KEY. Why, because we like you.

  15. > Trump Said Leaving Syria Was About Bringing Our Troops Home. Why Is He Sending Them to Iraq?

    Because he’s a liar?

    1. Or because they have to be moved to where they can be re-repatriated?
      TDS is such a difficult issue to those who suffer from it.

  16. Trump says he wants to get all his troops home. Why? What could they do there? Proceed to the Mexican border and take immigrants at the legs? The USA has traditionally consistently put soldiers in strategic areas round the world to keep the peace and protect the weak from invasion . That is what has given the United States its honour of becoming leader of the free world. He’s shunned the weak like the Kurds and the Ukraines. Doesn’t he recognize the Kurds were doing a job guarding the prisons full of terrorists? America is now isolationist. “You need to pay us we won’t protect you,” says Trump. Unless you’re Saudi Arabia with boatloads of petroleum. It will be a long time before the United States regains its location in the world. Four more years of the pioneer will surely ruin this great nation. And the whole world with his discount for climate change.

    1. Looks like we found the guy posting from Russia.

  17. I am making 10,000 Dollar at home own laptop .Just do work online 4 to 6 hour proparly . so i make my family happy and u can do

    …….. Read More

  18. The mishandling of the Syrian withdrawal appears to have created less stability in Syria and considerably weakened Trump’s ability to dictate foreign policy

    Boehm is going to spew garbage as an armchair general now too?

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    1. A=r h=l

      There are many variations on the one stroke role.

      The paradiddle and the many ways to play off that.

      Basic would be ahaa hahh

      Then there are others. The double best in 3/4 works this way.

      Ah ah aa ha ha hh

      Then triple. Ah ah ah aa ha ha ha hh.

  19. …. United States of America’s Armed-Forces Commander-In-Chief, President Donald John Trump, said leaving Syria is about bringing America’s soldiers home. Why, then, is he sending those who are leaving Syria to Iraq …?

    Perhaps because it’s on the way and via Baghdad is the most convenient and/or efficacious way home?

    The simplest explanation often being the best

    1. Flying out of Syria is risky. Flying out of Iraq is less risky.

      Americans dont control a port in Syria and those armored vehicles would need to be shipped by cargo ship if they are being sent back to the USA.

      The MSM is a bunch of liars.

      1. More zeros after the 1 makes a more convincing point.

    2. Perhaps because it’s on the way and via Baghdad is the most convenient and/or efficacious way home?

      You must have missed the part where they’re staying to monitor the situation and protect the oil wells. They’re not “on their way” anywhere.

  20. Spec operations.

    These are the finest soldiers in the world. They do not just walk away this easy.

    Mission was to support SDF in the fight to drive ISIS from their land. They did that. Ask them how they feel about it.

    I do not know what is right or wrong. Over the years I am more opposed to war.