[guest post by Dana]
The President ran on a campaign pledge to bring bring U.S. troops back home, and to end the “endless wars”. He has consistently maintained that it is still his still his goal. He tweeted this just four days ago:
I am the only person who can fight for the safety of our troops & bring them home from the ridiculous & costly Endless Wars, and be scorned. Democrats always liked that position, until I took it. Democrats always liked Walls, until I built them. Do you see what’s happening here?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019
However, we are learning today that the U.S. troops withdrawing from Syria are most definitely not headed home:
American forces continued their withdrawal from northern Syria Sunday and headed for Iraq, while efforts continued for a Kurdish evacuation from the area under the terms of the cease-fire agreed between the U.S. and Turkey.
Amid growing chaos after Turkey invaded the region earlier this month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said late Saturday that all of the nearly 1,000 U.S. troops pulling out of northern Syria will now head to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State militants.
With President Donald Trump facing continued criticism for his approach to the crisis, the news means his vow to bring the troops home will seemingly go unfulfilled.
Also, according to Esper, troops will have two missions in Iraq:
“One is to help defend Iraq and two is to perform a counter-ISIS mission as we sort through the next steps,” he said. “Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal, but that’s the game plan right now.”
Esper’s full comments can be read here.
This morning, President Trump tweeted:
“The ceasefire is holding up very nicely. There are some minor skirmishes that have ended quickly. New areas being resettled with Kurds. U.S. soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zone. We have secured the Oil.” Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense. Ending endless wars!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2019
I have questions: Where are the Kurds being resettled? In mass graves? Detention camps? Exactly where? What does “we have secured the oil” mean? How has it been secured? How does the withdrawal from Syria and move into Iraq end any wars? And, amidst the chaos in northern Syria, if ISIS is able to reconstitute, will the U.S. in Iraq head back to Syria? Most importantly, who are the real winners here?
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)