By Craig Hastings
I have a mixed bag of thoughts and opinions as to whether President Trump should have ordered American troops out of Syria two weeks ago. What I try to remember to do when a president makes a move pertaining to foreign policy is to remember that the president, whoever it may have been, knows much more than any of the rest of us. He/She will have made their decision based on intelligence collection that you and I will never get a chance to see. So in all fairness I will wait in order for more information to be released to the general public.
That time for me is tonight. The first report we heard was that “about” one hundred U.S. military personnel were in the area Turkey forces would be invading in Syria. Several days later that number was changed to “about” fifty troops. Finally tonight Senator Lindsey Graham reported to us the exact number was just twenty-seven troops. What!? Where in the heck did the one hundred come from? Was this an inflated number so Americans might be more concerned that by pulling back our troops the whole Syrian border was at risk!? And why didn’t President Trump just come out and say; “Today I’ve ordered the twenty-seven American troops in Syria out of harm’s way because Turkey plans to invade Syria in forty-eight hours. Negotiations have not worked out with Turkey President Erdogan, so until we can get this figured out I’m moving our people to safety.”
Nope. Instead the President told the press that he pledged to remove the United
States out of foreign wars and he ordered American forces out of Syria because Turkey forces are on the move to invade Syria and he wants no part of it. Well of course this had Washington up in arms. Both Republicans and Democrats freaked at the thought. What about the Turks that have fought ISIS along side of American troops? What about the ten thousand ISIS combatants currently being held under the watch of the Turks who will surely have to abandon their positions which will lead to the escape of all of these fighters? Well all of this lead me to believe America must have a few thousand combat ready troops in the area and they’re all leaving and leaving with a moments notice. I too thought to myself; Mr. President you’re wrong this time for sure. Bad decision.
Fast forward seven days. We learn of the 100-50-27 troop count. Well of course they were ordered out. What could twenty-seven troops do to stop the Turkey army? Nothing. “Yeah but if Trump would leave them there Turkey wouldn’t dare risk killing an American soldier,” the media and Democrats screamed and stomped. Or would they I thought? “Yeah but even if Turkey did accidentally or intentionally kill Americans we only have a few in the area,” same media and Democrats. And this wasn’t the first time I heard commentary referral of the few, or the only, or just, as these idiots spoke of American military personnel. It’s infuriating to hear young men and women reduced to expendable objects. Expendable unless one of them is one of your own.
Twice I heard a “military expert” defending reasons why American troops needed to stay with the Turks in Syria. He argued that the Turks lost ten thousand fighters and “we” lost only eight in the offense to defeat ISIS. How does anyone say such a thing?! “We?” Who’s we? He didn’t lose any of those eight and he spoke as though losing eight Americans wasn’t such a big deal since the Turks lost ten thousand. One dead American is a big deal and eight dead Americans is eight times a bigger deal than the one. It’s time someone shows me the benefit here in America as to why our government continues to send American troops all over the world to serve as a police force in places we have no business. “Gotta be there or ISIS will return.” “ Gotta be there or Putin will move in.” “Gotta be there or the Taliban will take over.” “Gotta be there or Iran will expand their territory.” Sorry I’m no longer part of the “Gotta be there” movement.
Here’s where I’m at and I’m admittedly not a military strategist. Constantly we read and hear about America’s ability to launch pinpoint rocket attacks anywhere in the world. America has the ability to watch every country in the world and what they’re up to via satellite viewing and partner ground intelligence. We’ve proved we can do these things. So, two weeks ago why didn’t President Trump tell President Erdogan; “Here’s my deal. You go ahead and move your little foot soldiers and tanks into area A but not area B. And if you do move any of your simpletons into area B there won’t be anyone or anything left to retreat back to Turkey. We clear on this?”
At the end of the week I agreed with President Trump that America doesn’t need boots on the ground all over the world. I don’t agree with how the President haphazardly accomplishes this. I want to hear that the President has consulted with his military cabinet and they collectively made these decisions and it wasn’t a decision he made because on a certain day this was the way he felt he should handle some world crisis. Lastly I learned President Trump intentionally haphazardly did what he did because he knew it would cause a backlash by both Democrats and Republicans. And after all of his critics aired their blistering criticism live and on the air, President Trump showed his hand of how he was handling Turkey. Today it appears all is well as can be. Moving Americans out of harm’s way was the right call and he’s made fools out of the media yet once again.