U.S. troops would be pulled from Syria, political establishment types on the left and right promptly rebuked him for being insufficiently committed to Forever War in the Middle East.Bringing troops home from Syria angers conservative and liberal leaders. Following President Donald Trump's Wednesday announcement that all
Policing the world's politics and bombing brown people is one of the few things that mainstream Republicans and Democrats can come together on, and now here's Trump, the big meanie, spoiling their fun! Quick, cue rampant paranoia and a lot of Henny-Penny huffing...
But Trump isn't backing down in the face of criticism from his usual allies as well as Democrats. This morning, he tweeted that it was Russia, Iran, and Syria's job to take care of ISIS now.
"Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing?" Trump tweeted. "Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight....."
Loathe to let up on world-policing even a little, Democrats and Republicans have been flinging around words like "reckless" and "premature," even though none of them can make a coherent case for why we're still in Syria or what it's accomplishing. Meanwhile, "reasonable" centrist pundits took the tack that sure, Syria withdrawal would be good someday—just not now. First, first...well, there's always something else that comes first isn't there?
Trump's announcement also presented a prime opportunity for attention-seeking politicos to call attention to their pet Boogeymen. Hence, we've heard all about how bringing American men and women home from Syria is a "gift" to Iran, or Russia, or Islamic militants. How it's a sign Trump is beholden to Vladimir Putin. Or that he's acting too much like President Barack Obama—a point that in this case makes no sense. As my colleague Robby Soave wrote yesterday:
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.
Soave adds that, "every now and then, the fact that Trump feels unconstrained by conventional politics" is a good thing:
Norm-smashing is good if the norm in question—perpetual war—violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and democratic principle.
Alas, not ones to be outdone in paranoid warmongering by their conservative counterparts, liberals like "information warfare expert" Molly McKew insist that "the president is lying about ISIS" being debilitated as part of "backchannel deals" with Turkey and Russia. This was a common refrain in left-of-center crowds online.
I swear everyone was against the US troops being in Syria until Trump said he's pulling them out.— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) December 20, 2018
The mainstream liberal response to Trump's Syria announcement was so overwhelmingly negative that it suggests any anti-war wing of the Democratic Party is clearly dead. This shift was of course already underway during the Obama years, when policies that would have provoked outrage under President George W. Bush drew soft sighs at best.
Now, it seems abundantly clear that a lot of the left's anti-war momentum under Bush was actually just rooted in anti-Bush or anti-Republican sentiment. And with a Republican president that is ever-so-slightly opposed to endless war, Democrats are emboldened to openly embrace their own ignorant, authoritarian, world-policing ways in full form. (A pox on all their goddamn glass houses.)
Among the few members of Congress to comment positively about the president's decision was Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who declared he was "proud of the president today to hear that he is declaring victory in Syria."
Massie's revenge. Hell yeah:
Last week, House leadership suspended the 1973 War Powers Act, using the Farm Bill. I've asked them to reconsider that dangerous precedent. In the mean time, I'm objecting to voice votes in the House.— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 20, 2018
Surprisingly, some of my colleagues were annoyed to record their position on 10 bills tonight, mainly because doing their jobs made them late to dinners and parties. It takes 5 minutes per vote.— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 20, 2018
This is progress. Most of these bills were going to go by unanimous consent without knowledge of 99% of Congress - not even a voice vote! Now we will vote and members know a few hours in advance. Always amazes me how mad some get when asked to do their jobs - voting! pic.twitter.com/RcPpMPc7gH— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 20, 2018
• Federal judges dismissed all 83 ethics complaints against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
• A pill could revolutionize alcoholism treatment without requiring alcoholics to totally abstain.
• Salon suggests that mean tweets are a "global humanitarian crisis."
• The Trump 2020 campaign is already facing a corruption scandal.
• Prostitution arrests are surging in New York City:
While experts are considering lots of factors behind this NYC surge, it's worth noting that Backpage went down this spring. One woman told me, "A lot of girls, they can't work online anymore and that was an easy way to work. Now they have to go outside." https://t.co/woLCoo54fw pic.twitter.com/PvpPsdmWxR— Emma Whitford (@emma_a_whitford) December 19, 2018
• Teenagers in Washington state are smoking less pot since it was legalized.
• Government shutdown has once again been averted.
Photo Credit: RODI SAID/REUTERS/Newscom