Patterico's Pontifications

12/21/2018

Trump Syrian Withdrawal Decision Made During Phone Call with Erdogan

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:52 am



You know how people were speculating that Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw troops from Syria was made due to his phone call with Erdogan? Looks like the speculation was right:

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily, without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved in the fight against the Islamic State group, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

Trump stunned his Cabinet, lawmakers and much of the world with the move by rejecting the advice of his top aides and agreeing to a withdrawal in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, two officials briefed on the matter told The Associated Press.

The Dec. 14 call, described by officials who were not authorized to discuss the decision-making process publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, provides insight into a consequential Trump decision that prompted the resignation of widely respected Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. It also set off a frantic, four-day scramble to convince the president either to reverse or delay the decision.

Even Erdogan was surprised:

Trump was not dissuaded, according to the officials, who said the president quickly capitulated by pledging to withdraw, shocking both Bolton and Erdogan.

Caught off guard, Erdogan cautioned Trump against a hasty withdrawal, according to one official. While Turkey has made incursions into Syria in the past, it does not have the necessary forces mobilized on the border to move in and hold the large swaths of northeastern Syria where U.S. troops are positioned, the official said.

My view is that if we’re going to be fighting a war, Congress needs to authorize that war.

But suddenly making a decision like this, without consulting anyone in advance, is reckless. Of course, recklessness is a hallmark of the man occupying the Oval Office.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

145 Responses to “Trump Syrian Withdrawal Decision Made During Phone Call with Erdogan”

  1. He’s obviously mentally deranged and should be removed from office on that basis. Immediately.

    Dave (1bb933)

  2. It had already been reported that Trump tried to pull out of Syria in March, but Mattis and Pompeo convinced him to stay a while longer to tidy some things up. Not a surprise that he would return to the decision after they’d had their time.

    The only people ‘stunned’ would be the press.

    Ingot9455 (01eb06)

  3. i don’t buy this

    President Trump has wanted our hapless tatters out of that poophole for a long time now

    but every time he tried the sleazy mattis military faked a chemical attack

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  4. Trump’s actions are exposing some covert positions even as overt positions are made clearer. Trump is not behaving as a “normal” POTUS is expected to behave. Watch as foreign powers adapt their calculus, in dealing with Trump, further. We are truly living in interesting times.

    felipe (023cc9)

  5. Ingot9455 (01eb06) — 12/21/2018 @ 9:06 am

    I agree. Those paying attention should not be surprised.

    felipe (023cc9)

  6. Trump is convinced by people Putin, Erdogan and bin Salman, and not convinced by people like Mattis and other good Americans who have American interests at heart. That kind of judgment and disloyalty to this country speaks for itself.

    Paul Montagu (e20d45)

  7. mattis is a longtime pentagon greaseball all he cares about is slopping the pentagon piggies

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  8. Joni Ernst condemns Cadet Bonespur’s surrender.

    “Our mission there is to defeat ISIS, and that is yet to be accomplished,” Ernst, Iowa’s junior Republican senator, said in a statement Thursday. “Our departure will only serve to encourage a reemergence of ISIS, embolden Russia, encourage Iran’s malign activity, and deter partners in the Middle East from cooperating with the United States.”

    Dave (1bb933)

  9. lol maybe bread bags could explain how the same hapless tatters what are still losing a war in afghanistan after 17 humiliating years are gonna defeat ISIS

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  10. Paul Montagu (e20d45) — 12/21/2018 @ 9:23 am

    Well said!

    Dave (1bb933)

  11. oh and check this out

    the head pentagon piggy who was by far the biggest pom pom waving cheerleader for having our hapless tatters fecklessly prance around syria just quit

    quit like a sniveling quitty quitter

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  12. footsies why does trump keep appointing such terrible people to important jobs

    he must hate america is all i can figure

    Dave (1bb933)

  13. If only Trump hadn’t gotten us into that reckless Iraq war ….

    Munroe (1c1251)

  14. We are safer thanks to the Iraq war.

    Dave (1bb933)

  15. Sampson in the temple, pulling down the last few columns.

    Kevin M (cb624b)

  16. With the Weekly Standard gone who will goad the government into another pointless war?

    bates (dddb3b)

  17. Trump was, in part, elected by people who hated the directions that the US had taken, both foreign and domestic. To the degree that Trump has upended those things, he’s answered the call. But making changes of that magnitude, with nothing to follow, is terribly disruptive.

    Not that his supporters care. The destruction is good enough. But, come Jan 2021 another president is going to have to build on these ashes. And it might be a Democrat.

    Kevin M (cb624b)

  18. With the Weekly Standard gone who will goad the government into another pointless war?

    Oh, I’m sure that someone is trying to goad him into attacking Mexico. Maybe Canada.

    Kevin M (cb624b)

  19. We are safer thanks to the Iraq war.

    We’d be safer still if Obama hadn’t been so reckless.

    Kevin M (cb624b)

  20. We’d be safer still if Obama hadn’t been so reckless.

    Truth.

    Dave (1bb933)

  21. We’d be safer still if Obama hadn’t been so reckless.

    You understand that Iraq wasn’t an Obama war, right?

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (b75b44)

  22. You understand that Iraq wasn’t an Obama war, right?

    Obama snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Dave (1bb933)

  23. On notable fruit of the Iraq war is Obamacare.

    The Democrats don’t get to 60 Senators in 2009-10 without Iraq. George Allen, Conrad Burns, and Jim Talent don’t lose in 2006 without Iraq.

    bates (dddb3b)

  24. we lost a ton of money on Bush’s Iraq fiasco and it ushered in george soros’s dirty buttboy barack obama and his blank check

    nothing good came out of Iraq

    just a tremendous loss of money prestige and people

    just a hugely embarrassing fiasco for america and her once-respectable military

    on a positive note it created ISIS

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  25. but it took franken’s vote fraud, and the phony stevens indictment,

    https://www.nysun.com/editorials/mattis-was-always-on-borrowed-time/90507/

    allen was torpedoed by his friend larry sabato, and burns was burned by the Abramoff business,

    narciso (d1f714)

  26. Oh, I’m sure that someone is trying to goad him into attacking Mexico. Maybe Canada.

    Interesting trivia. When Wilson was praised with “he kept us out of war” the war in question was with Mexico.

    kishnevi (d764f4)

  27. Good move. Next, Afghanistan.

    As a ‘globalist’ and as distasteful as it may be to agree, Trump’s decision, abrupt as it appears, is the right one. W/o any direct oil interests, a pox on all their houses. Let’em pound their homes into rubble. It’s a regional issue for regional powers to manage. Not America. It’s not our backyard. Trump made his position known through the campaign and since the election as noted in comments #3 and #5. Besides, a sub or two off shore can always lob a few cruise missiles in if a stern and noisy message needs sent.

    It is a waste of American blood and treasure to perpetually meddle and try to extinguish these Middle Eastern wildfires. They’ve been squabbling there for centuries and picking the right ‘fight’ is not a decision to leave to the generals. We simply can’t afford this anymore.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  28. Obama snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    If the original sin is the Iraq invasion, that’s not Obama. If the secondary sin is the first partial withdrawal under Obama, remember, that withdrawal still had more than 10k “support” troops in Iraq (most of the original Syrian conflict troops from the US, drove from Iraq, since ISIS’s caliphate was in Northen Iraq and Eastern Syria) before the second surge.

    Obama campaigned on pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, then did it, then had to go back in. So now Trump is following the exact model of Obama. The problem is Trump did this against all policy that he’s been promoting until literally last week. And now we find out that he did it against the advice of all the American people in the room, while chatting with Erdogan. To the point that even Erodogan told him he needed to slow the F down. So that was a stupid thing to do as a whim, he decided to do the same thing in Afganistan. Trump ran on he wouldn’t telegraph what he was going to do, well, we’re in the middle of negotiations in Afganistan, but we’re leaving, so why not just wait it out. This is exactly the complaint that we had when Obama was doing the same things.

    It’s not like anyone didn’t know this.

    “Take a look at Iraq,” Trump said. “She gave us ISIS because her and Obama created this huge vacuum. And a small group came out of that huge vacuum because, we should have never been in Iraq, but once we were there we should have never gotten out the way they want to get out. She gave us ISIS as sure as you are sitting there.”

    Good lord, I sound like a broken record, but he’s a 12 year old, he only cares about what he wants…NOW…but 10 minutes later I want this other contradictory thing…NOW, planning, nah, not needed. Kewl.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ffba1f)

  29. no, klink, they canceled the surge, even they knew it was working, not the same thing, 2,000 men is a very thin tripwire, not likely to stop anyone,

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2018/12/appeals-court-delays-emoluments-lawsuit-against-trump/

    narciso (d1f714)

  30. no, klink, they canceled the surge, even they knew it was working, not the same thing, 2,000 men is a very thin tripwire, not likely to stop anyone

    It stops the Turks from overrunning the Kurds, it keeps the Iranians in check, not just in Iraq and Syria, but from Israel as well. It keeps the Russians in check. It keeps Assad from slaughtering our allies. Oh, and there’s the whole ISIS thing too.

    Those 2k troops are an infinite force multiplier for the Kurds and other groups that we support in the region. They are our special forces, forward air controllers for CAS missions, attack helicopter force, intelligence, etc. Without them, ISIS wouldn’t have been pushed back, airpower is the deciding factor, then our allies can be the infantry to re-occupy the ground.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ffba1f)

  31. does it really, the turks struck targets in Kurdistan, when the fourth infantry division was active there,

    narciso (d1f714)

  32. Well, three guys if you don’t count the webmaster…

    Dave (1bb933)

  33. Well, three guys if you don’t count the webmaster…

    And those guys, with their almost year old consulting company, have a huge reputation in international policy./SARC

    I read the whole report, juvenile is a good description. The “newly released” full version is not what the press release says it is. There is no plan, there is barely a rundown of the current conflict. If these guys were paid by someone, that person got ripped off.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ffba1f)

  34. And those guys, with their almost year old consulting company, have a huge reputation in international policy./SARC

    On the other hand, if I were looking to pitch a low-budget reboot of The A-Team to somebody in Hollywood, I’d definitely give them a call…

    Dave (1bb933)

  35. a caller on mark levin show asked him since he was so gung ho about military intervention what branch of the military did he serve in? the great one hung up on him.

    lany (ed8964)

  36. I always find it “interesting” as mr spock says when super patriotic vietnam war draft dodger chick hawks who didn’t serve in the military want to send others to do their fighting for them.

    lany (ed8964)

  37. Spock’s tag-line was “fascinating”, not “interesting”.

    Sheesh.

    But yes, it’s a disgrace that Donald Trump has authority over the brave men and women of our military, whose latrines he is unworthy to clean.

    Dave (1bb933)

  38. i love how it’s reckless to move our hapless tatters out of a war zome

    while leaving the southern border wholly undefended

    america’s military lol

    what an effing joke

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  39. Mr. Spock wasn’t a Vietnam War draft dodger, he was a 23rd century alien from the planet Vulcan. That was a fictional TV show. Leonard Nimoy (Zachary Quinto, etc) is an actor who played a fictional character on said TV show. One is fantasy land, the other is reality land.

    Like Trump plays a character who is manly and tough but in reality is a giant coward, with a tiny tiny…glove size. Donald Trump is attempting to play the character of President, but he’s really bad at it. He should go back and play the fictional version of a good businessman, he’s good at that, better at that than anything else he’s ever been or done, real businessman especially.

    What I’m saying is at least Nimoy could act well enough, obfuscating being a mildly distasteful person. Trump is terrible at playing the role of president, and he’s a terrible human man.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (2924b4)

  40. Caught off guard, Erdogan cautioned Trump against a hasty withdrawal,

    It looks like Erdogan was too successful in his lobbying.

    Moral: Be careful what you ask for – you might get it. Or maybe more than you ask for.

    BTW, Trump even promised second look at Gulen on other charges.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  41. Of course Trump never changes his mind on anything.

    DarrenM (a4eb00)

  42. Enough of my family and friends going to fight wars we won’t win. Come on home fellas and lock and load for our land – screw the sand.

    mg (8cbc69)

  43. there’s no reason to continue to flush good money down the sewer of america’s dysfunctional and corrupt military

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  44. Good move. Next, Afghanistan.

    As a ‘globalist’ and as distasteful as it may be to agree, Trump’s decision, abrupt as it appears, is the right one. W/o any direct oil interests, a pox on all their houses. Let’em pound their homes into rubble. It’s a regional issue for regional powers to manage. Not America. It’s not our backyard. Trump made his position known through the campaign and since the election as noted in comments #3 and #5. Besides, a sub or two off shore can always lob a few cruise missiles in if a stern and noisy message needs sent.

    It is a waste of American blood and treasure to perpetually meddle and try to extinguish these Middle Eastern wildfires. They’ve been squabbling there for centuries and picking the right ‘fight’ is not a decision to leave to the generals. We simply can’t afford this anymore.

    DCSCA (797bc0) — 12/21/2018 @ 11:13 am

    I wholeheartedly agree, and I don’t even know what a ‘globalist’ is.

    nk (dbc370)

  45. well spock was based on chief William parker, who gene Roddenberry worked under at the lapd, who he considered too cerebral, perhaps a little too coldblooded, ellroy seemed to have him in mind for his protagonist through out the la quartet even exley, played by guy pearce, in la confidential,

    narciso (d1f714)

  46. McConnell is not happy with Trump:

    I am particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America’s global leadership…I urge him to select a leader who shares Secretary Mattis’s understanding of these vital principles.

    Dana (023079)

  47. mitch mcconnell’s bought and paid for by the dirty chinesers

    or as he calls them, “my retirement plan”

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  48. Does the Senate have a mandate for forever war, now the Jordanians and Saudis are filling the gap

    https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/ours-to-reason-why/?fbclid=IwAR2gQXCyDZSKAY5Yg548Km5NXD7qWeYU2mVtt7uMHOETfzeR6KFFOzKr7N4

    Narciso (d1f714)

  49. Moscow rejoices: “Trump is ours again.” Indeed.

    State TV host Olga Skabeeva surmised that Americans are “losers, since Putin has defeated them in every way.” With a theatrical sigh, her co-host, Evgeny Popov, added: “Trump is ours again—what are you going to do?” Every member of the sizeable audience enthusiastically clapped. While these statements are decidedly sarcastic, Russian opinion makers recount the Kremlin’s victories with unmistakable glee. Popov smirked: “It seems to Americans that we won on every front: the U.S. Secretary of Defense has been removed, we unquestionably secured a complete, unconditional victory in Syria.” Skabeeva chimed in: “They’re also planning to leave Afghanistan.”

    Sigh. This week, Trump has been more loyal to a couple of dictators than America.

    Paul Montagu (3ccbc4)

  50. This week, Trump has been more loyal to a couple of dictators than America.

    In other news: Dog Bites Man

    Dave (1bb933)

  51. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t this site take strong exception to continuing the Afghan operation back in 2017, and even stronger to the two modest strikes on Syrian targets in the last two years?

    Narciso (d1f714)

  52. The Taliban loves Trump’s cut-and-run in Afghanistan, just as Putin and Erdogan and Assad and the Iranian mullahs love Trump’s cut-and-run in Syria.

    “I believe the Taliban will see this as a reason to stall, and therefore it disincentivizes the Taliban to actually talk to the Afghan government, which it has refused to do,” said Bill Roggio, an Afghanistan analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
    Afghanistan’s security forces rely heavily on U.S. airpower against both Taliban and an upstart Islamic State affiliate, and Afghan military officials note the announcement by the Trump administration comes as the country’s security is at its worst since 2014, when more than 100,000 NATO troops pulled out of the country and handed off security to Afghans. The U.S. and NATO retreated into a training and advising role.
    “A complete withdrawal of U.S. forces would very likely cause the Taliban to make gains in key areas throughout Afghanistan,” Roggio said. “This likely would cause the general collapse of the (Afghan National Security and Defense Force) as a cohesive fighting force and lead to the return of the warlords.”

    I’m sure that Trump didn’t think that far ahead. Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are allied with the Taliban, and there’s no reason to believe they would govern any differently than before 9/11.

    Paul Montagu (e41231)

  53. Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are allied with the Taliban, and there’s no reason to believe they would govern any differently than before 9/11.

    Like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, though, the ones who have survived almost twenty years being continuously hunted like animals are probably a lot more dangerous than version 1.0.

    Dave (1bb933)

  54. I can’t disagree with Ms. Wheeler

    Effectively, it seems, Mattis told Trump, “it’s me or Vladimir Putin” … and Trump chose Putin.

    Paul Montagu (e41231)

  55. Like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, though, the ones who have survived almost twenty years being continuously hunted like animals are probably a lot more dangerous than version 1.0.

    That, and there’s good reason to believe that their insurgency is financed by the opium trade, not to mention help from the ISI in Pakistan, which continues to play a double game with us, i.e., allying with us in the War Against Militant Islamism while at the same giving the Taliban safe harbor and support.

    Paul Montagu (e41231)

  56. I’d gotten a little tired of reading LongWarJournal over the years, but I came back to it just now, and Joscelyn/Roggio have solid takes. First, on Trump’s cut-and-run from Afghanistan:

    Many are celebrating the move, pointing to the length of the conflict (17 years), the enormous sunk cost and the inability of the Afghan government to stand on its own. Careful readers of this website will note that we have been critical of the war effort, and especially the rosy rhetoric employed by US military officials. We could easily pen another biting critique of the US-led war.
    More troubling to us than a so-called “endless war,” however, is an outright jihadist victory. And that’s what Trump’s withdrawal of the small American force in country all but guarantees.
    For years, the Taliban and al Qaeda have told their followers that victory is on the horizon. “Verily, Allah has promised us victory and America has promised us defeat, so we shall see which of the two promises will be fulfilled,” Mullah Omar has been quoted as saying.
    More recently, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri claimed that the Taliban’s resurrected Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will be the “nucleus” of a new caliphate. Such is the importance that Osama bin Laden’s successor has placed on the Afghan jihad. Similarly, the leader of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Asim Umar, predicted in 2017 that Trump’s “America First” policy meant that America would retreat from Afghanistan, thereby signaling the loss of its global leadership position.
    Today, their predictions look prophetic. The precipitous withdrawal of US forces will grant the Taliban and al Qaeda a victory. Just as the mujahideen vanquished one superpower in Afghanistan, they will now claim to have defeated a second. The boost this gives to the global jihadist movement will be felt in the years to come. Trump’s withdrawal will have other costs as well, from undercutting his diplomats’ already weak negotiating position to validating Pakistani duplicity. And the Islamic State hasn’t been defeated in Afghanistan either.

    And on Trump’s cut-and-run from Syria:
    But has the Islamic State (ISIS) been “defeated” in Syria? The short answer is no.
    An unknown number of the group’s top leaders, including presumably Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and middle managers remain alive. It is highly likely that thousands of fighters remain in both Syria and Iraq. They continue to fight as insurgents, biding their time for opportunities to surge. And the Islamic State’s media machine, which is assumed to be headquartered in the region, remains prolific, pumping out messages in multiple languages on a daily basis.
    […]
    Russia and Iran remain in the country, backing Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The Iranians have imported various extremist proxies. And Israel, an American ally, has already taken action against Iranian assets dozens of times since the war began.
    And then there’s the issue of al Qaeda and related actors. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is led by the group once known as Al Nusrah Front, has been the strongest player in the northwestern Idlib province. Al Nusrah was an official branch of al Qaeda until July 2016, when it ostensibly broke away from al Qaeda’s command. HTS claims to be an independent group, and there’s no question that it has been at the center of heated disputes within the jihadist community. Some al Qaeda veterans have fiercely criticized HTS. Both the US and the United Nations, as well as other countries, still consider HTS to be affiliated with al Qaeda and say there is evidence of ongoing ties between the two. The situation is a bit murky, but other al Qaeda actors, such as the “Guardians of Religion,” have arisen as well. HTS has struck a deal with Turkey to stave off an invasion of Idlib province by the Assad-Iran-Russia axis for now. Whatever HTS’s current status with respect to al Qaeda, it is clear that al Qaeda loyalists are still camped in Idlib.
    In sum, the Islamic State isn’t dead in Syria, or elsewhere. And several other thorny issues are influenced by America’s presence.
    This is really no different from Obama, who dishonestly said that “…I ended the war in Iraq” when the reality was that he disengaged and withdrew from an ongoing conflict before the work was done, all so that could claim victory on the run-up to an election, which was both highly pathetic and extremely cynical. And now history is repeating.

    Paul Montagu (e41231)

  57. Only criminally insane imbeciles believe that a permanent foreign army of occupation will ever pacify Afghanistan and the Middle East for any appreciable length of time (and I mean months, not years).

    Let them fight among themselves to their hearts’ content. If they move against us, let’s be prepared to cut off the hand before it touches us and, if necessary, surgically go after the current Hydra’s head, and always remain aware that a new hand and a new head will grow again.

    nk (dbc370)

  58. These are the recent US military fatalities in Afghanistan that I could find:

    2016: 14
    2017: 17
    2018: 11 (as of November 27)

    Every life lost is tragic, but if we can’t accept this level of casualties to go after the people who are actively plotting mass murder against us (and eager to carry it out at their first opportunity) and kill them first, I fear we are beyond hope.

    At these rates we could fight in Afghanistan for the next 200 years, and still come out ahead in American lives if it prevents ONE 9/11 scale attack.

    Dave (1bb933)

  59. Or we could just make sure that Jamie Gorelicks never again forbid our spy agencies to share information with our law enforcement agencies.

    nk (dbc370)

  60. Only criminally insane imbeciles believe that a permanent foreign army of occupation…

    I reject both “permanent” and “occupation”. By that standard, our military presence in Germany is more permanent and more of an occupation than Afghanistan or Syria. The War Against Militant Islamism is a long war, not an endless war, not if we’re smart about it. Granted, we weren’t smart about it in 2003, 2009 and now 2018. And it’s not an occupation, not when we’re there with the permission of the government that agreed to have us there. Syria is a grayer area because it’s a civil war, but our real allies, the Kurds, want us.

    Paul Montagu (e41231)

  61. What have the Kurds accomplished in life?

    mg (94bd83)

  62. Do they grow corn?

    mg (94bd83)

  63. Dave – How many crimaleins do you need to come to the U.S.A.? 1 million, 1 billion, 1 trillion?

    mg (8cbc69)

  64. If they did, the ethanolistas Grassley and Breadbags and Joe the Lawyer (Whitaker) would have never let us be there in the first place.

    urbanleftbehind (e20a20)

  65. Yes they are operating in Idlib province the home of nusra front, the Russians ironically have been suppressing then and we’ve been giving them lee ways

    Narciso (d1f714)

  66. Actually was against the ethanol giveaway, that’s why he lost the primary to ernst

    Narciso (d1f714)

  67. No Obama cut McChrystal off at the knees, in 2009-10, because the solon of scranton had a better plan, snorfle

    Narciso (d1f714)

  68. What have the Kurds accomplished in life?

    In Rojava, create a gem of a society despite being surrounded by s**tholes.
    http://theforvm*dot*org/rojava

    Paul Montagu (e20d45)

  69. Half the country in Afghanistan is in the galds of the Taliban, as long as Pakistan provides sanctuary it’s a fruitless exercise.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  70. the craven sleazy military owns afghanistan now

    it’s clear they could have gotten out but they chose to stay

    all they’re doing is getting our own people killed and making fools of themselves

    what a slimy military, shameful and so sleazy

    an embarrassment to us all

    plastic turkeys all around

    you earned them

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  71. Half the country in Afghanistan is in the galds of the Taliban, as long as Pakistan provides sanctuary it’s a fruitless exercise.

    There’s an important difference between “half the country” (even if it were true, which it isn’t) and “half the population”.

    Defeatists doing the Taliban and Al Qaeda’s bidding like to distort the facts.

    Dave (1bb933)

  72. you can tell just from reading the internet that President Trump is right about Syria and Afghanistan and his critics are wrong

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  73. So much for the theory that Bolton was whispering in his ear, so it looks like he’s just listening to his Dictators Club and Inner Xenophobe.

    Paul Montagu (e20d45)

  74. If you read Jocelyn well, you’d know I meant the provinces, then you look at what is done to major golsteyn

    Narciso (d1f714)

  75. The next domino falls:

    McGurk submitted his resignation on Friday, just one day after Defense Secretary James Mattis quit his post citing fundamental disagreements with the commander-in-chief — including one over the importance of honoring U.S. alliances.
    The special envoy was publicly left in the lurch by the president’s sudden declaration on Wednesday that he was pulling U.S. forces out of Syria, against the advice of his top national security advisers and without consulting U.S. allies.

    McGurk is a non-rat who fleeing Trump’s sinking ship. He clerked for Rehnquist, was instrumental in formulating and executing the surge strategy in Iraq.

    Paul Montagu (e20d45)

  76. @61. 200 years?!

    Visa? Mastercard or American Express? Per Forbes magazine, the cost to the United States of just 16 years of war in Afghanistan has tallied to over a trillion dollars.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  77. @61. Postscript. You can’t kill ideas and ideologies with a hammer, Dave. They have to go extinct on their own. The world fought fascism at great cost in blood and treasure, defeated Germany, but Nazism still survives.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  78. McGurk’s not a domino he’s a deep state sleazy sloopy

    he was on buttboy obama’s team that worked the iran deal designed to nuke the holy hell out of israel

    he’s dirty trash through and through

    maybe he found a job with the military

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  79. Pence canceled North Korea human rights speech, with Trump administration concerned about state of nuclear talks

    Vice President Mike Pence was expected to give a speech on North Korea’s human rights abuses last week, adding firepower to an announcement of new sanctions and the release of a report on dictator Kim Jong Un’s brutal rule. But the speech was scrapped amid tensions in U.S.-North Korean talks over the regime’s nuclear weapons program.

    Just another day at Donnie’s Day-Spa for Dictators…

    Dave (1bb933)

  80. You can’t kill ideas and ideologies with a hammer, Dave.

    No, but you can exterminate every adherent who dares to venture out of their reeking, frozen cave.

    It’s not about ending an ideology, it’s about preventing that ideology from affecting the nice parts of the world where we live.

    Rep-elect (and former Navy SEAL) Dan Crenshaw explained it pretty clearly:

    Why guys like me go to places like Syria

    Voters have consistently brought up the topic of “endless wars” and demands to “bring the troops home” to me since I ran for office. It’s not a left-right issue, either: Both sides question our military presence abroad. I could answer the question in a variety of ways. I could discuss the need to promote American values, prevent the Afghan heroin trade, disrupt the influence of Iran, destroy the Islamic State, defend allies such as Israel, etc.

    But in the end, I settle on one very simple reason: We go there so that they don’t come here.

    It really is that simple. We bring the fight to the enemy so that they don’t bring it to us. There is a common misconception that if we just let them fight their own wars they will leave us alone. This is wildly untrue for two main reasons. First, groups such as the Islamic State will always try to attack the homeland. And second, even if we manage to prevent them from attacking the homeland, we cannot stop the cascade effect of instability and chaos that ensues when the United States leaves a power vacuum.

    Read the whole thing.

    Dave (1bb933)

  81. …but Nazism still survives.

    It survives, but they were marginalized in insignificance through blunt military force. We confronted Soviet communism with a combination of force, propaganda, alliances and commerce, and we’ll kill militant Islamism the same way if our leaders have the will to do it. Trump doesn’t have that will. He’s a cut-and-run xenophobe.

    Paul Montagu (b578b6)

  82. Dan Crenshaw = Cool Ted Cruz 2.0?

    urbanleftbehind (335b02)

  83. @83. The hammer doesn’t tell the architect how to build the house, Dave. Could care less what ‘guys like him’ opine; they go where they’re ordered. And his former comrades are being ordered home– by civilian authority.

    This ‘we go there so they don’t come here’ crap is just that. In this instance it is simply not cost-effective.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  84. Dan Crenshaw = Cool Ted Cruz 2.0?

    I don’t know much about him, but his editorial was lucid and clear-sighted.

    It would be amusing to watch Cadet Bonespurs try to debate a wounded combat vet not afraid to call his BS what it is.

    Crenshaw is currently only 34, though. While he’d be technically old enough to run in 2020, his age and political inexperience would have to be liabilities.

    Dave (1bb933)

  85. @84. But at a very great cost.

    And it still simmers. You’re never going to kill off an idea with hammer.

    As a globalist by life experience I view Trump’s decision as quite sound and long overdue. Perpetual war may be lucrative for some businesses it’ll drive the country into the poor house.

    When people project a position -as Crenshaw does- by implying ‘it’s as simple as–‘ watch out. Nothing on an international scale is ‘that simple.’ Communist regimes survive– they can even thrive – and lend capitalist countries lots and lots of money to prop up their economies– and assemble your smartphones. Nothing is ‘that simple.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  86. @87. No. Dan Crenshaw = drop-forged, Channel Lock tool; hammers that sell for about $10.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  87. Could care less what ‘guys like him’ opine; they go where they’re ordered.

    I don’t believe he was suggesting his former comrades should disobey orders.

    And his former comrades are being ordered home– by civilian authority.

    I hope you didn’t type that with a straight face.

    How would you rate Cadet Bonespurs’ grasp of the nuances of counter-insurgency operations compared to a guy who participated in them for ten years and served three tours of duty?

    That doesn’t make Crenshaw automatically right, but it makes his opinion a lot more worth paying attention to than that of a syphilitic libertine who takes pride in his own ignorance of all things.

    Dave (1bb933)

  88. oddly mcguirk’s tenure was characterized by the giving the Iranian directed militias, free reign, in sunni holdouts,

    narciso (d1f714)

  89. DCSCA, would that be >,<, or = Harbor Freight?

    urbanleftbehind (335b02)

  90. except china is more capitalist, then America is currently old school robber baron, although this one of xi’s objections,

    narciso (d1f714)

  91. Trump’s lack of boots-on-the-ground-military service is irrelevant. A civilian authority assessment of the cost-effectiveness and ROI over 20, 30 even 40 years of policy in this particular instance w/regard to Middle East meddling in regional matters best left to regional powers to manage is valid.

    As distasteful as it may be to agree w/our Captain, it is a sound decision– and long overdue, particularly w/no direct oil interests in play. They’ve been squabbling there over sand castles and dirt piles for centuries. Screw ’em; let’em pound their homes into rubble. In another era, the Brits learned this the hard way.

    We can’t afford this any more. The ‘post war world’ has long since passed; chapters closing and thank you notes sent. ‘Bout time 21st century America began to look ahead– and look out, for itself.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  92. peoples militia units, is how it transliterates from Arabic, a little like red army commissars in eastern Europe,

    narciso (d1f714)

  93. @93. Except they’re not; it is a communist state; ‘one step back, two steps forward,’…“1066 And All That…’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  94. You didn’t understand the cold war disco, they way mao’s disemboweled china, in a way that only honqquing of the Taipei rebellion managed to do,

    narciso (d1f714)

  95. @97. ROFLMAOPIP

    “You may very well think that. I could not possibly comment.” – Francis Urquhart [Ian Richardson] ‘House Of Cards’ BBC TV, 1990

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  96. yes because you don’t have anything consequential to say, iran has supported anti western militias from the Taliban to Hezbollah and the houthis being the latest,

    narciso (d1f714)

  97. Bailing out precipitously to gratify political supporters worked so well when Obama did it…

    Trying to reduce national security to the bottom line of a financial balance sheet is a mistake *your* captain (not mine) makes constantly, but to pretend his decision is based on any rational long-term sustainability analysis is a joke – Cadet Bonespurs cares nothing about bills that come due after he’s out of office.

    Somebody should tell him that Mohammed Atta’s son will be aiming for Trump Tower next time; I predict that will make him considerably more circumspect.

    Dave (1bb933)

  98. @99. Now, now, narciso, personal ‘attacks’ break the rules.

    @100. Not really, Dave; policies resulting in $14 billion aircraft carriers and talk of a ‘space force’ deserve to be questioned.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  99. But in the end, I settle on one very simple reason: We go there so that they don’t come here.

    oh please to delude yourself more

    you go there cause you’re told

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  100. Well disco if you evinced even the most minimal understanding of things I would reconsider.

    The cold war interest in space was about the high fromtier.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  101. Dan Crenshaw will just have to get his jollies by dressing up in black face paint and sneaking around in the dark looking to backshoot some teenager right here in the good old US of A, that’s all. I’m sick of people parlaying these military psycho losers into some kind of Solons that we should let tell the rest of us what to do just because the Army or Navy gave them a job when nobody else would.

    nk (dbc370)

  102. hrm this is an early example of the style of dance called a pavane

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  103. I’m sick of people parlaying these military psycho losers into some kind of Solons that we should let tell the rest of us what to do just because the Army or Navy gave them a job when nobody else would.

    you said this SO well thank you Mr. nk brb i have a question

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  104. @101. ROFLMAO. Yes, nk. In Crenshaw-speak: ‘…it’s that simple.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  105. ^for nk’s #104

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  106. @103. Keep tryin’, Narciso; the Earth-English is improving.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  107. here’s a wholly unremarkable monument to some communist pansy named sammy gomp gomp

    they say this monument was dedicated in 2007

    so my question is what was there before

    i asked the googles and they said they had no idea

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  108. @102. Yes, Mr. Feet; my late father had only one eye as well; but his depth perception was much, much better.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  109. my dad had all his eyes so did mom

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  110. @112. It’s a gift, Mr. Feet.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  111. yes yes they were very blessed except they both ended up dying kinda young

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  112. @114. Pop made it to 70. r. Feet; could drive a car w/no problem; a golf ball, not so much.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  113. Indeed, nk.
    I would prefer private contractors doing our dirty work, none of those pros would ever run for office.

    mg (8cbc69)

  114. It was Gompers Park, named after Samuel Gompers who but for whom you would be working for a dollar a day and three plates of beans, when I was in high school, and that was almost half a century ago. I am guessing that what’s new (from 2007) is the statue.

    nk (dbc370)

  115. @116. Just like oil companies, the mob, the Trump Organization… and popes.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  116. Yes he founded what became the afl, right:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Nervana_1/status/1076514820583841793

    Narciso (d1f714)

  117. I also see differently than other people from my right eye. But there are ways to compensate. Here’s how I can thread a needle.

    nk (dbc370)

  118. From 1900, that would be almost $30.00 put it another way the dollar is only 3% of the earlier value

    Narciso (d1f714)

  119. But it another way the loan to the savings and loan in 46, 25 k would be more 319 k today.

    Narciso (d1f714)

  120. It depends on what you bought. A beer was a nickel, a blue plate special at the diner was a quarter, a horse was $10.00, but a Colt Peacemaker was $30.00, and a saddle was $40.00.

    nk (dbc370)

  121. ok cause you can see how sammy’s statue doesn’t really fill that space – for sure something was there before (you can tell when you’re there cause there’s these steps leading down to the river and whatever function they once had they’re very very vintage)

    if you look at the satellite view in 110 you can also see that there may have been a companion piece in the SE corner of the intersection – they’ve worked what’s left of that older circular plaza into the odd little park (silly, useless) that’s there now

    that makes sense it was gompers park i guess cause everything there is gompy gompy gompy

    he even has his own lagoon

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  122. @123. FWIW, working Colt Peacemakers were still selling for about $150 in London flea markets back in the early 1970’s. Family passed on getting one; fear was old metal in pistol would shatter if it was fired.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  123. And on cue, Erdogan is amassing troops near the Syrian border, where betrayed-by-Trump Kurdish-led forces are situated.

    Paul Montagu (8476d1)

  124. maybe they should situate somewhere safer

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  125. maybe they should situate somewhere safer

    Indeed. And how quickly Erdogan dispelled the pretense that he was going after the Islamic State. I wonder what kind of betrayal Trump has to do for his most loyal defenders to turn against him. Probably genocide, I imagine, involving white people.

    Paul Montagu (8476d1)

  126. No, only a hot-mic wizard of oz like convo projecting utter contempt for parts of the base would suffice.

    urbanleftbehind (335b02)

  127. Thus far that has been Detroit and Nashville, happy.

    urbanleftbehind (335b02)

  128. I wonder what kind of betrayal Trump has to do for his most loyal defenders to turn against him. Probably genocide, I imagine, involving white people.

    this right here is what we call a triumph of optimism over experience

    Dave (1bb933)

  129. Trump threw his sippy-cup again and now Mattis is gone at the end of the year:

    Aides said that the president was furious that Mr. Mattis’s resignation letter — in which he rebuked the president’s rejection of international allies and his failure to check authoritarian governments — had led to days of negative news coverage. Mr. Mattis resigned in large part over Mr. Trump’s hasty decision to withdraw American forces from Syria.

    When Mr. Trump first announced that Mr. Mattis was leaving, effective Feb. 28, he praised the defense secretary on Twitter, saying he was retiring “with distinction.” One aide said that although Mr. Trump had already seen the resignation letter when he praised Mr. Mattis, the president did not understand just how forceful a rejection of his strategy Mr. Mattis had issued.
    (emphasis added)

    He just skims and looks for his own name, I think.

    Dave (1bb933)

  130. “I wonder what kind of betrayal Trump has to do for his most loyal defenders to turn against him. Probably genocide, I imagine, involving white people.”
    Paul Montagu (8476d1) — 12/23/2018 @ 10:31 am

    A high bar was set by Bush supporters — because the genocide wrought by bogus WMD was totally worth it.

    Munroe (61bbd7)

  131. It’s got nothing to do with loyalty to Trump. Particularly in foreign affairs. It’s got to do with loyalty to America. Wanting Trump to fail on the Wall, and on stupid, irresponsible, overseas troop deployments by a Hyde Park sissy-boy, is to want America to fail.

    nk (dbc370)

  132. For Munroe.

    DRJ (15874d)

  133. Or this, from a Trump fan.

    DRJ (15874d)

  134. …because the genocide wrought by bogus WMD was totally worth it.

    Checking if there was a “genocide wrought by bogus WMD” and…nope, no genocide, just a badly botched US-led operation post-Saddam. I do recall the Islamic State attempted a genocide against Yezidis.

    Paul Montagu (63dc5f)

  135. clearly it wasn’t that, halabja was real, as were subsequent incidents, against coalition forces, as with islamist terrorism, also a real factor in Iraq, but neither was handled very well,

    in another front, the Washington post admits that khashoggi was strongly influenced by Qatari elements who are in league with turkey and iran, note every time this story came up,

    narciso (d1f714)

  136. mattis is a pansy but i love the wall and sometimes you have to take the good with the bad

    but not this time

    buh-bye mattis lol

    don’t cry for dirty jimmy though

    he’s gonna go cash in for big bucks

    selling military secrets to people (consulting)

    that’s how they do

    not unlike how they do it in russia really, just way sneakier

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  137. @133. The ol’heave ho, ho, ho!

    Here’s your footlocker, and the boot- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Mad-Dog!

    “Salut-tay!” – Lurcio [Frankie Howerd] ‘Up Pompeii!’ BBC TV – 1969-1970

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  138. It’s official: Mattis signs Trump ‘declare-victory-and-leave’ troop withdrawal from Syria. Where the hell were you in 1968, Mad-Dog.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  139. as pointed out above it’s not as simple, but you are like Robert Downey’s character in tropic thunder,

    narciso (d1f714)


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