Many will criticize President Trump’s decision to withdraw all US ground forces from Syria as soon as possible. The argument is that it will allow Iran to cause trouble in the region. There is also fear the Syrian Kurds will be at the mercy of Turkey.
Perhaps, but my question is how long do we stay? What is the end state? It seems that if we place one foot on foreign soil we must stay forever these days. Are we required to help those that have questionable alliances with the US in perpetuity? Can we afford or desire the dependence that continual support brings? (Much like a welfare state does)
We have been in Afghanistan for 17 plus years. For what? A corrupt government? An inept Army? Does anyone think it will actually get better? No, not one “expert” makes that claim. Even with decades of US presence in Afghanistan the Taliban currently control approximately 60% of Afghanistan. The President of Afghanistan has often been called the Mayor of Kabul since he can’t leave the capital without US protection. We know Pakistan continues to harbor Taliban yet other than cutting off some funding (finally under Trump) nothing has been done. Oh, and how is that poppy eradication program going?
Will ISIS arise again? Maybe. So what? What are our national interests? We can maintain a Counter Terrorism role without troops permanently stationed on the ground. We can strike from Land, Sea, or Air at any time and if we can’t, well that’s just another reason to come home and rebuild our forces.
Iran is already trouble in the region. They have been since 1979. Syria has been run by a dictator Assad for years and controlled by Russia. So, what? How does putting our troops on the ground in the middle of this mess help further US security? Are we, the American people willing to remove Assad, push out Russia, destroy Iran and thump Turkey on the noggin? I don’t think so. But we are willing to give vague missions to SOF forces then hang them out to dry when they kill the enemy.
This strategy that the military leadership appears to supports only enhances government contracts (money in someone’s pocket) and keeps our troops in harm’s way for no clear reason. Ask any General or Politician what victory looks like in either Syria or Afghanistan and they cannot tell you. Oh, throw in Africa also.
The military establishment only knows how to continue the status quo. They have been conditioned to stall as one commander leads to another and so on. Mission statements that by the military’s own doctrine require a clear and quantifiable end state, this has been turned into vague platitudes with no guidance at all. It’s no surprise the Generals are leaving this administration, they’ve been found out.
Until the US Congress starts declaring wars and defining victory as either total destruction or unconditional surrender of a clearly identified enemy, we need to turn our war funds into national infrastructure funds.