Matt Purple, managing editor of The American Conservative explains how Donald Trump, by exiting the Syrian conflict has avoided further involving America in a Muslim sectarian civil war, and also left the cleanup of Syria to Russia, a country with an economy the size of Italy’s. He writes:
Washington melts down over Trump’s Syria withdrawal. Their obsession with Vladimir Putin misses the point and obscures the hard costs of our military misadventures.
On and on the elite freak-out goes, deaf to any message that contradicts its line.
“Why didn’t Trump listen to the generals?!” they wail.
Because we have a civilian executive, for one, not a military junta. But let’s re-ask that same question, only slightly expanded: “Why doesn’t Trump listen to the military men and women who have fought the wars of the past 17 years?” Were he to, he would find disdain for overseas nation building—55 percent of active duty troops oppose more of it, according to a Military Times poll from 2016. He would hear stories of disillusionment and confusion. He would read laments like that of Dan Grazier, who served in both Fallujah and Afghanistan: “Looking back after more than a decade, it is hard to convince even myself that my platoon helped achieve any lasting contribution in a strategic sense.”
The same, surely, applies to Syria. Yet according to the war pamphleteers, all this must all be swallowed so we can blunt a Russia/Iran/Assad axis, which isn’t much of an axis to begin with and which amounts to taking sides in a Muslim sectarian struggle that isn’t any of our business. Also we need to maintain that “credibility” with our allies—funny how that was never an issue when Trump was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Looming above it all, like Andross, is Vladimir Putin. Such a menace is his Italy-sized economy and osteoporotic aircraft carrier that we can’t ever withdraw from Syria, as we did from Vietnam and Iraq the first time around. We must stay put, as Winston Churchill would have intended, forever and ever, amen. I am glad Trump rejected this nonsense and hope he will continue to.
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