At The Federalist, Daniel DePetris explains that “the usual suspects,” and the “national security blob,” are fighting the attempt by President Trump to exit Syria. DePetris writes that further involvement in Syria is “unnecessary, costly, and dangerous for the United States since it prevents us from focusing on higher priorities.” He writes (abridged):
At the height of its power in 2014, ISIS was filthy rich, scoring hundreds of millions of dollars in bank heists and hundreds of millions more in oil sales, kidnapping-for-ransom, extortion, and even artifact sales. In June 2014, ISIS fighters all but demolished the Iraqi army in northern Iraq, an embarrassing rout for a military that U.S. taxpayers built and financed at a cost of $25 billion.
Today, ISIS is anything but a triumphant force. After four years of combat, the group’s militants are tired, dirty, smelly, hemmed into smaller and smaller patches of territory in the remote Syrian countryside, and increasingly trying to escape inevitable death by blending into the civilian population. At the time of writing, ISIS is down to its last square mile of territory. Sooner or later, 100 percent of the fake caliphate will be retaken.
Seeing these gains, President Donald Trump wants out. If reports are true, U.S. troops will leave eastern Syria by April. This has predictably caused heart palpitations among military officials, the national security blob, and the usual suspects who have never seen a U.S. intervention they wanted to end.
As we continue to hear the naysayers in Washington vocally oppose a U.S. departure from Syria, we would all be wise to remember that ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States. If U.S. intelligence discovers a credible and imminent ISIS plot against Americans, the Trump administration should not (and would not) hesitate to interdict it. But maintaining an American military presence in the eastern Syrian desert for the next 50 years (or more) is more likely to delay the security handover to local partners than it is to eradicate terrorism.
It also happens to be unnecessary, costly, and dangerous for the United States since it prevents us from focusing on higher priorities, like deterring great power conflict.
Read more here.