- The American Conservative - http://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Make No Mistake, We Are Already at War in Syria

Something peculiar happens to American presidents after they take office on January 20.

Campaign promises to right the easily perceived misdirections in foreign policy are abandoned, and the new program for dealing with the rest of the world winds up looking very much like the old one. Bill Clinton was an anti-Vietnam War draft dodger who preached the moral high ground for going to war before he turned around and got involved in the Balkans while also bombing Sudan and Afghanistan. George W. Bush promised non-interference and no nation-building overseas, but 9/11 converted him into an exemplar of how to do everything wrong as he sank into the quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barack Obama’s margin of victory in 2008 was likely due to the perception that he was the peace candidate, particularly in contrast to his opponent Senator John McCain, but he wound up deeper in Afghanistan, out of, and then back into Iraq, interfering in Syria, and bringing about disastrous regime change in Libya while also allowing relations with Moscow to deteriorate. Donald Trump has surrounded himself with generals after promising no deeper involvement in foreign wars and the generals are telling him that winning wars only requires more soldiers on the ground and just a little more time and effort to stabilize things, all of which are self-serving formulae for policies that have already failed.

And then there are the perennial enemies, with Iran at the top of the list while Russia and China play supporting roles. Some would blame the foreign policy orientation on the Deep State, which certainly is suggestive, but I rather suspect that the flip-flops of recent presidents are also based on some other elements. First, none of them has been a veteran who experienced active duty, which makes war an abstraction observed second hand on PowerPoint in a briefing room rather than a reality. And second, the shaping of their views can be directly attributed to the pervasiveness of the establishment view on the appropriate role for the United States in the world.

Sometimes referred to as America’s “civil religion,” one can also call it “American exceptionalism” or the “leadership of the free world” or even “responsibility to protect” but the reality is that a broad consensus has developed in the United States that enables serial interventionism with hardly a squeak of protest coming from the American people.

Donald Trump has been in office for five months and it would appear that at least some of the outlines of his foreign policy are beginning to take shape, though that may be exaggeration as no one seems to be in charge. The “America First” slogan seemingly does not apply to what is developing, as actual U.S. interests do not appear to be driving what takes place, and there does not seem to be any overriding principle that shapes the responses to the many challenges confronting Washington worldwide.

The two most important observations that one might make are both quite negative. First, lamentably, the promised détente with Russia has actually gone into reverse, with the relationship between the two countries at the lowest point [1] since the time of the late, lamented Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State. Second, we are already at war with Syria even though the media and Congress seem blissfully unaware of that fact. We are also making aggressive moves intended to create a casus belli for going to war with Iran [2], and are doubling down in Afghanistan with more troops on the way, so Donald Trump’s pledge to avoid pointless wars and nation-building were apparently little more than glib talking points intended to make Barack Obama look bad.

The situation with Russia can be repaired as Vladimir Putin is a realist head of state of a country that is vulnerable and willing to work with Washington, but it will require an end to the constant vituperation being directed against Moscow by the media and the Democratic Party. That process could easily spin out for another year with all parties now agreeing that Russia intervened in our election even though no one has yet presented any evidence that Russia did anything at all.

Syria is more complicated. Senators Tim Kaine and Rand Paul have raised the alarm [3] over American involvement in that country, declaring the U.S. military intervention to be illegal [4]. Indeed it is, as it is a violation of the United Nations Charter and the American Constitution. No one has argued that Syria in any way threatens the United States, and the current policy is also an affront to common sense: like it or not Syria is a sovereign country in which we Americans have set up military bases and are supporting “rebels” (including jihadis and terrorists) [5] who are seeking to overthrow the legitimate government. We have also established a so-called “de-confliction” zone in the southeast of the country to protect our proxies without the consent of the government in Damascus. All of that adds up to what is unambiguously unprovoked aggression, an act of war.

The war began in earnest when the Obama administration began building bases and sending Special Ops into Syria in the late summer of 2015, after the White House announced [6] that it would “allow airstrikes to defend Syrian rebels trained by the U.S. military from any attackers, even if the enemies hail from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”  

That policy guaranteed escalation and direct American involvement in the conflict. In the last month, for the first time since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, the United States has directly attacked Syrian government forces or proxies four times, including two air attacks against Iranian militiamen allied to Damascus. Those moves were preceded by the April U.S. Navy launch of 59 cruise missiles in an attack directed against a Syrian air base. The recent escalation has produced a response from Russia, which decried in the strongest terms the latest [7] of these incidents, in which a U.S. F-18 Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 fighter-bomber.

Moscow has now threatened to act against any U.S.-led coalition aircraft flying over western Syria, a step that could in short order lead to a Russian-U.S. war in the Middle East.

Syria is currently under attack from the air forces of sixteen nations operating within its airspace loosely affiliated with the U.S. effort to bring about regime change. When Syria resists, it is routinely accused of using “forbidden” weapons by the mouthpieces of the terrorist groups operating inside the country under the American umbrella. Currently, the White House is warning that [8] it has “identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.” UN Ambassador Nikki Haley elaborated in a tweet, “…further attacks will be blamed on Assad but also on Russia and Iran who support him…”

Syria will “pay a very heavy price” if a chemical attack takes place, according to the White House statement. The U.S. warning will inevitably motivate the so-called rebels to stage an attack themselves and blame it on Damascus, as they have done in the past. It also dangerously escalates the conflict by directly targeting both Russia and Iran as Syrian “accomplices” in war crimes. It is a very dangerous move by the Trump Administration and one that apparently was not coordinated with the Defense and State Departments, which were caught flat footed by the White House announcement. The nature and credibility of the information implicating Syria has not been revealed and is being regarded as an “intelligence matter.”

Much of this acting against actual U.S. interests has come about due to the “worthless ally” syndrome which has been prevalent in Washington for several decades. In the Middle East, where many of the problems begin, there is no coherent policy that has evolved beyond unconditional support for local “allies” Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Israel. This has meant in practical terms that the U.S. defers to Riyadh, Ankara, Cairo, and Tel Aviv in nearly all regional matters while it is also the guarantor of a feckless Afghan government.

So in spite of pledges to disengage from the cycle of warfare in the Middle East, the United States seems to be on course for direct involvement in a series of local conflicts with no clear “victory” and exit policy in place. Remove al-Assad and what comes next? What will the Russians do? Will America’s so-called allies Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia be satisfied with dismemberment of the Syrian state or will they insist on pushing on to Tehran? Who would fill that vacuum?

There are certainly other foreign policy black holes, to include the awful decision to rollback normalization with Cuba and the hot-then-cold moves against North Korea. Venezuela, a major U.S. oil supplier, is about to implode and it is not clear if the State Department has any contingency plan in place to deal with the crisis. But Russia and Syria are in a class by themselves as they have the potential to turn into Class A disasters, like Iraq or possibly even worse. And then there is Iran lurking, apparently hated by all the talking heads in Washington and inextricably linked to what is happening in Syria. It is more than capable of becoming the next catastrophe for a White House that is apparently staggering from crisis to crisis. What will Trump do? I am afraid that the lesson learned from the cruise missile attack on a Syrian base in April was that using force is popular, repeat as necessary. That would be a major mistake, but there is every sign that some of the people around Trump have their eyes on escalating and “doing something” in Syria and also against Iran for starters, and if Russia gets in the way we can deal with them too.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

44 Comments (Open | Close)

44 Comments To "Make No Mistake, We Are Already at War in Syria"

#1 Comment By Taras77 On June 29, 2017 @ 11:23 pm

Thanks, Mr Giraldi!
The picture you paint is hideously accurate and mind blowing.
I just do not know what to say as the situation continues out of control. I guess when the admin chose the same old re-treads with the same old mind set, “led” by someone who does not have a clue,what new can be expected.
The beat goes on.

#2 Comment By MEOW On June 30, 2017 @ 1:12 am

Netanyahu to America: “Send me your young and brave and ready to die and be maimed for Israel.” This sick relationship must end. How many wars we be in without Israel and Saudi Arabia?

#3 Comment By JEinCA On June 30, 2017 @ 3:13 am

The neocons won’t back off until either the world is in ashes or America is in ruins. Lets Washington officially begins the military campaign to destroy the Syrian government and its armed forces. Even if (and this is a big if) the Russians back down we will still find ourselves in a brutal war with a sophisticated Iranian state allied with an equally sophisticated Hezbollah guerilla army. Now throw in the battle hardened Syrian Arab Army and it’s loyal militias and the battle hardened and US trained Shia militias of Iraq as well as the Houthi fighters of Yemen. Add the very real possibility of turning a Shia dominated client state in Iraq into an Iranian allied enemy as well as the very real possibility of Russian advisors and special forces entering the fray unofficially and you have a a recipe for a bloody Vietnam like quagmire if not outright defeat of US led coalition forces in the Middle East. I don’t know if the government in Washington could survive a bloody Vietnam like quagmire in the Middle East much less a defeat. That would be the best end of the two top mentioned possible ends. The other possibility is tgat the Russians don’t back down and neither does Washington and WW3 ensues ending with a nuclear exchange. That’s the worst case world in ashes scenario. Either case is lose lose for the United States.

#4 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 30, 2017 @ 6:11 am

Phil, following the money, as always, is illuminating. Our eviscerated outsourced and offshored economy is the reason we deplorables elected Trump. That economy is now more dependent than ever for many of its good jobs and profits on the war business. The short length of election cycles cannot allow time for the re-establishment of a peacetime manufacturing economy before judgment on an elected politician is pronounced. Even if the Wall Street establishment thought it desirable to have a healthy domestic manufacturing economy – who as architects of our current economy, they clearly do not.

Demobilization of the military empire would have short and medium term negative economic effects. Where are the good peacetime jobs for millions of ex-soldiers and contractors? There’s a limit to how many could be absorbed even by the burgeoning police state/Deep State/homeland security sector. Where would replacement for the enormously profitable growing income streams and stock splits of the military industrial complex come from?

As well, the enforcement aspect of the full faith and backing of the U.S. military for the worldwide dollar economy would collapse, with negative economic aspects for those of us in the U.S.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the war business is likely the one part of the economy that can expand on short order, however immoral that is and how destructive it is long term. America’s business is largely war now.

How do you fix that? Chalmers Johnston’s Sorrow of Empires seems politically unavoidable. I’m sure Trump was sincere in seeing the wars as you and I do as a colossal waste and wrong headed. I would take another direction were I President, political consequences be damned. But my resume wouldn’t suggest to establishment or Deep State vetters that I would have the right goals or character to become CEO of War, Inc.

#5 Comment By Ten Count On June 30, 2017 @ 7:23 am

Trump may have been lying about his foreign policy during the election campaign but that’s not necessarily the only explanation. It could just as well be that he’s been checkmated, cut off and maybe outright threatened into compliance by the bi-partisan collective of “exceptionalists” in the security and intelligence agencies with the weight of all the industrial and political codependents supporting the defense of the foreign policy orthodoxy.

Weather Trump was sincere on the campaign trail or not, it did prove a valuable point in that his almost heretical ambivalence on foreign policy pillars like “American Leadership” and unconditional Russophobia were not at all a barrier to getting elected (even for a candidate who is objectionable on so many levels).

However this is overshadowed by the depressing realization of the futility of change through the democratic process. If Trump was a fraud all along, it proves that for any candidate to be permitted the nomination they must have privately pledged adherence to the Imperial philosophy. And if Trump has been taken hostage in his own presidency, that too is a chilling demonstration of the Deep State’s power.

#6 Comment By Dan Stewart On June 30, 2017 @ 8:05 am

There would be no civil war in Syria if it weren’t for the United States. Syria was a stable, secular nation. Now, thanks US intervention, it is mostly a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where some of the world’s worst jihadists and terrorists reside–many of which are armed and funded by the CIA.

If the US really wanted to stop the killing in Syria, stem the flow of Syria refugees into Europe, and defeat ISIS, it would immediately stop arming and funding the Islamic jihadists fighting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, and join with Russia to support the Syrian military in regaining control of Syria’s soveirgn territory and borders. 

There’s nothing remotely “America First” about the US involvement in Syria.

It’s all just that simple.

#7 Comment By Michael Kenny On June 30, 2017 @ 8:14 am

Never lose sight of the fact that Syria is a sideshow, a means to an end. The main game is in Ukraine. And the interests at stake are not the interests of the US but the interests of Israel. Israel would like to see Assad gone but restoring US and NATO credibility are more important than Assad. Putin can have Syria if he gives up Ukraine. But Putin can’t give up Ukraine because his elderly Soviet-generation supporters at home want the Soviet Union, the whole Soviet Union and nothing but the Soviet Union. Judging from the line adopted by his American supporters at the time, I think Putin intervened in Syria in the belief that if he could elbow his way into the “war on terror”, he could then claim his “reward” in the form of concessions in Ukraine. The problem is that the war on terror is unwinnable and an additional state party adds no value, so to speak. So Putin ended up just painting himself into another corner. The obvious deal on Ukraine has been on the table from day one: Putin abandons Donetsk and Lugansk and some classic European “fudge” is come up with to let him keep Crimea. Putin has never been willing even to discuss such an option, no doubt for the reason set out above: it would destroy him politically at home. The only way to break the logjam is for Putin to leave office. He has told too many lies and broken too many rules of international law ever to be trusted again. His term expires in May 2018, if he can be “persuaded” to leave office then, a fresh start can be made with his successor. If not, war seems inevitable and the easiest place to make war on Putin is Syria.

#8 Comment By Dan Stewart On June 30, 2017 @ 8:23 am

Every one of the almost three million Syrian Christians support Bashar al-Assad and have since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. 

Why? It’s simple.

Because Syrian Christians know they have lived safely and worshiped freely for more than a half-century under the Assads. And, they also know what hell awaits them if the Assad government falls and the American-backed jihadists establish thier Islamic regime.

#9 Comment By KevinS On June 30, 2017 @ 8:30 am

“Trump’s anti-war promises were just glib campaign rhetoric.”

Almost all his promises were glib campaign rhetoric.

#10 Comment By Chris Chuba On June 30, 2017 @ 8:34 am

The control of foreign policy establishment is as absolute and perhaps a corollary of Eisenhower’s famous ‘military industrial complex’ speech.

I read [9] and was struck by how uniquely they despise Russia. Iran is dismissed as a terrorist state, N. Korea a rogue regime, and China a growing rival. With Russia they will take the time to write, scholarly looking articles that make it look like they have taken time to study the country and have only reluctantly come to the conclusion that it is an intractable foe. These all have the ‘Russia never had a liberal democratic tradition so of course they are governed by monsters like Putin’ theme. I don’t see the same level of care given to the rest of our enemies list. Only Russia has to be thorought dissected. I read realclearworld.com which gives a sampling of neocon articles so I think I get a broad representation of their thought.

Because I watched Stone’s interviews and read Russia insider, I can see why they view Putin as a threat. Contrary to their assertion that ‘Russia has no culture or ideology to challenge the west (U.S. FPE)’. This is an issue for them. Putinism, ‘sovereignty, local nationalism (for everyone), multi-polar world, respect for the UN’ vs the FPE, ‘exporting U.S. democracy (including regime change) and the preeminence of U.S. world leadership’.

You can debate Putinism but not merely dismiss it as ‘thuggery’ which they invariably do with their tediously long articles. It doesn’t look like they actually listen to Russians, it looks like they read each other’s papers.

#11 Comment By Dan Stewart On June 30, 2017 @ 8:45 am

The single best thing the United States government could do to advance American interests and national security is to shutter the CIA.

Have the military (DIA) do all intelligence gathering and covert operations.

#12 Comment By saad On June 30, 2017 @ 10:02 am

what about Iraq?did you forget the most important country ( Iraq )?

#13 Comment By Steve On June 30, 2017 @ 10:56 am

I see Reagan is absent from your article. So it doesn’t happen to all Presidents. And when Reagan did make a mistake, like Beirut, he got out. That makes him a grown-up, and one of the best Presidents of the last century.

Trump is a buffoon, but all the 2 major political parties wanted to give us was Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio. So what is an American supposed to do?

#14 Comment By Sal On June 30, 2017 @ 12:00 pm

Re: “Trump’s anti-war promises were just glib campaign rhetoric.”

How else would the Deep State permit his surreptitious inheritance as commander-in-chief (of the military-industrial & corporate complex)?

If DS sensed Trump was sincere about his glib rhetoric, he would never be permitted to even win the primaries or nomination — like the bona fide Pat Buchanan.

#15 Comment By Kurt Gayle On June 30, 2017 @ 12:40 pm

Philip, your headline –”Make No Mistake, We Are Already at War in Syria; Trump’s anti-war promises were just glib campaign rhetoric” – gives the impression the Trump administration has abandoned its campaign promises and in five short months has led us into a war in Syria.

But did the Trump administration lead us into the war in Syria, or was the war inherited from the Obama administration?

You yourself answer that question: “The war began in earnest when the Obama administration began building bases and sending Special Ops into Syria in the late summer of 2015, after the White House announced that it would ‘allow airstrikes to defend Syrian rebels trained by the U.S. military from any attackers, even if the enemies hail from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.’ That policy guaranteed escalation and direct American involvement in the conflict.”

Although I agree completely with your list of Trump administration missteps in Syria, it’s important to acknowledge that the current level of US military commitment in Syria is not substantially different from the level of US military commitment in Syria under Obama.

It is certainly not my intent to excuse the Trump administration’s missteps in Syria, but simply to argue that five months into Trump’s tenure in office is still “early days.”

For example, President Obama inherited the Afghanistan war and within a year had increased the US military presence by 34,000 to more than 100,000 US troops. But none of Trump’s Syria missteps have been of that order and magnitude.

I agree that we should keep criticizing President Trump for his Syria missteps, but we shouldn’t hang the Syria war around Trump’s neck.

Not yet anyway.

#16 Comment By Ken T On June 30, 2017 @ 1:51 pm

Sometimes referred to as America’s “civil religion,” one can also call it “American exceptionalism” or the “leadership of the free world” or even “responsibility to protect”

This is a symptom of the problem, the real problem is that war=profit for the elites. The “consensus” you describe is nowhere near as broad as you imply, but when anyone tries to speak out against the war machine, the cries of American “exceptionalism” and “leadership” are used to beat down the dissenters.

#17 Comment By Harold Smith On June 30, 2017 @ 2:32 pm

“Trump’s anti-war promises were just glib campaign rhetoric.”

I would have to disagree with that statement. Trump’s anti-war promises, combined with Hillary Clinton’s pro-war promises, combined with Obama’s deliberate ramping up of tensions with Russia in the fall of 2016, were part of an effort to manipulate the election and put Trump in the White House.

Clinton was not supposed to win. The “deep state” wanted Trump in the White House. That’s why they ran Clinton against Trump rather than the more electable Sanders.

The 2016 presidential election harkens back to the 1964 presidential election, with wild-eyed madwoman Hillary Clinton standing in for Goldwater. We were given a choice in 2016: vote for Trump or vote for nuclear war with Russia. Trump is a Trojan horse that we let inside the gates. His whole campaign was a calculated fraud.

#18 Comment By Mark Thomason On June 30, 2017 @ 2:54 pm

Trump is weak. He’s been blackmailed. Those who expected Hillary to deliver these wars are getting them anyway via their threats to Trump.

This is not Trump, it is those who would have done the same under Hillary, getting their way despite Trump. He’s just along for the ride, and some chocolate cake.

#19 Comment By Tony On June 30, 2017 @ 3:31 pm

“.. I rather suspect that the flip-flops of recent presidents are also based on some other elements. First, none of them has been a veteran who experienced active duty..” Maybe but do you think John McCain and Tom Cotton are dovish when it comes to starting a war?
There have not been any wars inside the US for the past 75 years. The public has no perception of what war does. Meanwhile, and thanks to Hollywood, violence is becoming a part of our culture. While we are drowning in our own ignorance, the defense industry is filling its pockets.

#20 Comment By Jim Kavangh On June 30, 2017 @ 3:50 pm

Yes we are. [10]

#21 Comment By JPS On June 30, 2017 @ 4:57 pm

If it’s not America’s interests being advanced, if “America First” is offensive, then whose interests are driving policy and being put first?

#22 Comment By Fred Bowman On June 30, 2017 @ 5:02 pm

Lessons learned from Vietnam. 1. Control the media. 2. End the Draft. After that the American public doesn’t gave a damn one or the other what the military and MIC does. Sad but it’s the Hard Cold Truth.

#23 Comment By Harold Helbock On June 30, 2017 @ 9:13 pm

What bothers me about the picture is the Army and Marine officers. They look like something out of a story about Mugabe and his military. Come on, do like Ike: 3 or 4 important ribbons, plain hat, neat uniform. NOT rows of “I was there ribbons” braid all over the hat, stripes on sleeves = OK for a banana republic but for a real republic !!! ???

#24 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 30, 2017 @ 10:26 pm

Following the big money, as always, is illuminating. Our eviscerated outsourced and offshored economy is the reason we deplorables elected Trump. That economy is now more dependent than ever for many of its good jobs and profits on the war business. The short length of election cycles cannot allow time for the re-establishment of a peacetime manufacturing economy before judgment on an elected politician is pronounced. Even if the Wall Street establishment thought it desirable to have a healthy domestic manufacturing economy – who as architects of our current economy, they clearly do not.

Demobilization of the military empire would have short and medium term negative economic effects. Where are the good peacetime jobs for millions of ex-soldiers and contractors? There’s a limit to how many could be absorbed even by the burgeoning police state/Deep State/homeland security sector. Where would replacement for the enormously profitable growing income streams and stock splits of the military industrial complex come from?

As well, the enforcement aspect of the full faith and backing of the U.S. military for the worldwide dollar economy would collapse, with negative economic aspects for those of us in the U.S.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the war business is likely the one part of the economy that can expand on short order, however immoral that is and how destructive it is long term. America’s business is largely war now.

How do you fix that? Chalmers Johnston’s Sorrow of Empires seems politically unavoidable. I’m sure Trump was sincere in seeing the wars as you and I do as a colossal waste and wrong headed. I would take another direction were I President, political consequences be damned. But my resume wouldn’t suggest to establishment or Deep State vetters that I would have the right goals or character to become CEO of War, Inc.

#25 Comment By desertspeaks On June 30, 2017 @ 10:31 pm

Oddly, I can find no declaration of war nor a UN mandate for the US military to occupy Syria.

Since the US military has no declaration of war from congress. The US military has usurped and committed treason against the US Constitution and should be prosecuted as such.

OR would anyone care to point out precisely where within the US Constitution it grants the authority for the US military to illegally and unconstitutionally occupy a foreign country in violation of US law, international law and the laws of nations?

#26 Comment By philadelphialawyer On June 30, 2017 @ 11:23 pm

Glimmer of hope?

[11]

#27 Comment By LondonBob On July 1, 2017 @ 4:59 am

Trump always pledged to bomb the carp out of ISIS. We will see what happens, given the default position of DC not much has actually changed yet, for better or worse. Iran is the one area of concern for me.

#28 Comment By Scott On July 1, 2017 @ 5:13 am

It’s becoming common knowledge that our government does see Syria as a threat, because we need their land to route the pipeline from Qatar that will further support the Petrodollar and further edge Russia out of the energy market. Syria is allied with Russia. The CIA is expert at causing regime change through revolution, but this time they failed. What’s plan B? If the government is projecting, then it will be a false flag in Syria to justify full on invasion. Taking Iran would be icing on the cake, since they are the only other country besides Qatar that can access the largest known natural gas deposit in the world, and also allied with Russia.

However, we are losing Qatar. They set up an exchange accepting Chinese Yuan as payment for their oil and NG. As a result, we and Saudi Arabia, along with several Saudi lackey countries, accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism, (which they have, right along with us and the Saudis), and sanctioned them. You know who came to Qatar’s rescue? Iran. Qatar is bracing itself and planning for its separation from the US, Saudi Arabia and ME allies. We have a base with 11,000 troops there.

Are we going to war? Looks like it. I hope not, I’ll protest it, but it sure looks like it.

It’s a shame when changing our monetary policy could stop all these wars.

#29 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 1, 2017 @ 9:14 am

I lean in the direction of others on the issue of Syria. The admin. is faced with a situation they did not create and was in existence before the arrived. However, that does not excuse the failure of this executive to begin a withdrawal from said entanglement. And his first bit of foreign policy should have been to demand, that the military, the CIA, DIA and other entities employed in violating the sovereign territory of Syria, Libya, etc. withdraw immediately or they would themselves out the door or worse.

There’s no threat from Syria, Iraq or Libya (though Libya is a mess with our help). No. I think he was sincere. And he may yet abide by that agenda. He may have provided a deadline for interventionists to demonstrate results or provide a case for intervention and on that date end it. I a growing suspect on that possibility or benefit of the doubt with this renewed chemical weapons advance. Good grief it is tiring and unconvincing.

I do think he is also weak. He is unable to maintain a stance without people around him to support him. He is not Pres Adams, who stood against admonitions for war. His tact of using ISIS to maintain a military presence of force in the region hasn’t panned out as anything more than an excuse for intervention it seems. Because, as has been the case from the beginning of this rabbit chase we are actually supporting ISIS/ISIL in certain instances. So the ISIS contention is no longer salient.

For several reasons, some mentioned previously, I think he is just unable to muster the courage required to stand against the pressures for interventions of the type he was elected to cease. And that in my mind is excusable. It doesn’t really matter what they have on him, or what they think they have on him or why — he entered public office based largely on condition of avoiding US men and women (almost entirely men) in harms way and he should pay a price for abandoning that agenda. I think he is getting bullied around and complimented for it as he fulfills the agenda of the very agenda he defeated. It is deeply disappointing. Because the toughest fight he faces is going to be immigration — and now I think even that is in jeopardy.

Now there are other possibilities. Anything is possible. Intervention could work – fat chance – and we’ll see days of wine and roses in the region. But it’s more a pipe dream than reality. And huge waste of money, effort and human capital.
___________________________

“”There have not been any wars inside the US for the past 75 years. The public has no perception of what war does. Meanwhile, and thanks to Hollywood, violence is becoming a part of our culture. While we are drowning in our own ignorance, the defense industry is filling its pockets.”

I think this is accurate, with the exception of increased violence in the country. The level of violence is on the decline in most aspects of life in the US. If the only rebuttal is to undermine people by making character attacks minus support as to relevance to the issue, I think that speaks volumes.

#30 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 1, 2017 @ 9:18 am

Again, it doesn’t matter that the mess in Syria or most other issues are not of his making. He arrived in office to do X he should proceed on that course.

Good grief, we are not democrats who constantly bait and switch.

He should clear his staff. Not because they are in someway, “bad people” they are on a different page.

#31 Comment By Hanna Khayyat On July 1, 2017 @ 9:27 am

The Syrians need to hurry. Break the siege of Deir ez-Zor. Stop the progress of the Kurds down the Euphrates. Consolidate their control of the four great towns. Win the civil war. Save Trump from Trump….save us from Trump.

#32 Comment By Jackrabbit On July 1, 2017 @ 12:24 pm

Harold Smith (above) hits the nail on the head.

A Faux populist leader is the natural mask for an inverted totalitarian form of government.

Trump is the Republican Obama.

Is it time to revisit Trump’s association with the Clintons?

#33 Comment By Rossbach On July 1, 2017 @ 2:52 pm

Our nation’s foreign policy seems to be on auto-pilot. Popular opposition to our involvement in the Syrian Civil War is being ignored not only by the White House but by the bipartisan MIC supporters in Congress.

It seems that no matter who we vote for on Election Day, we get the same foreign policy. It seems to be the only area of national policy that is completely impervious to the popular will.

#34 Comment By Hexexis On July 1, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

“The single best thing the United States government could do to advance American interests and national security is to shutter the CIA.

Have the military (DIA) do all intelligence gathering and covert operations.”

Trouble is, CIA was created as alternative to mil. intell., which wasn’t all that great during WWII. These days, the CIA’s an annex to the DoD, & together they & the NSC run forn. policy, which they’ve pretty much done since the Iran hostage crisis 1979 & which is why bellicosity precedes diplomacy.

#35 Comment By Logan On July 1, 2017 @ 5:47 pm

“What bothers me about the picture is the Army and Marine officers. They look like something out of a story about Mugabe and his military. Come on, do like Ike: 3 or 4 important ribbons, plain hat, neat uniform. NOT rows of “I was there ribbons” braid all over the hat, stripes on sleeves = OK for a banana republic but for a real republic !!! ???”

I had the same thought-made me think of my commanding officer during Vietnam, a highly decorated Lt Colonel, the only decoration/ribbon he wore with his dress uniform was the Combat Infantryman Badge.

#36 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 1, 2017 @ 7:41 pm

Excuse me, this should read: “And that in my mind is unexcusable.”

“Have the military (DIA) do all intelligence gathering and covert operations.”

The history here is blurry because of the increased politicization of all things defense. However, the original goal of the DIA was to deal with intel of strategic theater and coordinate information as uniformly as possible to avoid duplication and replication of effort among the DOD departments. I think this effort was less on espionage and more to battlefield strategic scenarios of various enemies capabilities, materials, etc. I think the “efforts” in addressing asymmetrical warfare and its unorthodox nature may have cause increased overlaps between the CIA which in my view was both strategic, social and political intelligence.

Advent of terrorism or at least ow it is currently being applied has further blurred lines of responsibility. Combined with renewed vigor in defending the US after 9/11, I think the desire (understandably so) be in on that defense has further complicated the lines of jurisdiction and responsibility. How to push back against that to the initial purposes of the organizations is part of the tough slog back.

DIA history —

[12]

#37 Comment By Bryan Hemming On July 2, 2017 @ 5:10 am

“…as no one seems to be in charge.” Says it all.

#38 Comment By Chris Chuba On July 3, 2017 @ 8:59 am

Regarding the CIA vs DIA, I’d have the CIA be strictly for intelligence gathering and leave the covert operations in the hands of the Pentagon.

Having the CIA do both operations corrupts their Intel gathering. When the CIA is supporting rebels in Syria and then they are asked to do an Intel Assessment on who used chemical weapons, what do you expect them do say, ‘it was our guys’?

#39 Comment By Mike Schilling On July 3, 2017 @ 12:26 pm

Trump says whatever will get him applause at that moment. Period. If you’ve ever applauded him, you’re part of the problem.

#40 Comment By Dave skerry On July 3, 2017 @ 3:32 pm

Oh, come on. Finally tell the people what the truth is. Israel occupies and calls Wasington’s shots. arrest the traitors on the floors of Congress and make America, America again!

#41 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 3, 2017 @ 5:50 pm

“Having the CIA do both operations corrupts their Intel gathering. When the CIA is supporting rebels in Syria and then they are asked to do an Intel Assessment on who used chemical weapons, what do you expect them do say, ‘it was our guys’?”

I am not sure that there is a this or that in these scenarios. When the special forces conducts operations it has relied heavily on the intel of the CIA. I think this is something that those involved in covert ops can clear-up. And I wouldn’t be the least surprised if that would be difficult, because of so many joint operations in which the DIA, CIA and special forces operating different missions don’t bump heads.

I think the revelation that we are supporting groups who we are at odds with and are at odds with each other is indicative of that. I think there is plenty of corrupt intel for various agendas to go around. One would have to flush the system to figure what’s what. And by flush I mean a very deep cleaning and even then turf protection would probably not get to the whole truth and cleans lines.

#42 Comment By Sonny Day On July 3, 2017 @ 10:34 pm

Michael Kenny says:
Nonsense.
Google “7 countries in 5 years”. Russia knows the plan is to encircle it and the route through the south is through Iran, hence the support for Syria. This is strategy. Nato has pushed to its borders despite post Soviet assurances it would not happen and is heading off the fall of dominoes in the south.
As for Crimea, see [13]
As for breaking rules, the US and its allies are in Syria illegally, Russia is there by invitation of the sovereign government.

#43 Comment By Jett Rucker On July 4, 2017 @ 2:15 pm

We have always been at war with Syria …

And always will be.

#44 Comment By Iyad On July 4, 2017 @ 2:44 pm

More eyes are opened. thats good. As an Ex-Opposition of AlAssad regime I say everything you said is true. It’s so sad to see that everything Trump said before elections is gone. Worst: The only Islamic country to back Trump was Syria. Vice president wrote an Article defending him especially his Travel ban!!
Shia in Detroit got orders from Tahran to vote for him. Deep state is horrific!