As one Democrat sputtered on national radio, “The Secretary of Defense just resigned, we’re pulling out of Syria. WHAT’S GOING ON?”
What’s going on is that Donald Trump, maligned by Democrats and the media as a petulant dummy, and worse, is doing what they could never imagine: he is making good on a campaign promise.
He campaigned on waging a real war to defeat ISIS, rather than tiptoeing around the battle in Syria and Iraq as Obama had done.
He committed U.S. troops, U.S. aircraft, and U.S. intelligence and diplomatic assets to the war, while making good on yet another campaign promise by having local forces who bore the brunt of ISIS brutality form the tip of the spear.
That was work the geniuses could never imagine. Only a “dummy” could have done it. A “dummy” who campaigned on telling the truth to the American people, and who has spent the past two years making good on his campaign promises.
The campaign to smash the ISIS caliphate in Iraq ended in victory more than a year ago. The battle to drive ISIS out of Syria ended more recently. Today, ISIS has no significant foothold territorially in either country. As the President said, that was the mission, and we have accomplished it.
Of course, for the geniuses who had been advocating a full-fledged U.S. military intervention in Syria, defeating ISIS was not enough. They hope you will forget that in 2012, they wanted the United States to use our might to support Islamist groups – some of whom later joined ISIS—to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Failing total victory, their goal was “establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria,” according to a heavily-redacted 2012 intelligence report.
That would be the same ISIS caliphate that President Trump ordered U.S. forces to defeat.
These are the geniuses who argued that U.S. ally Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was a murderous dictator and supported the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow him, leading to the murder of thousands of Egyptians, the fire-bombing of Christian churches, and the persecution of Muslims who became Christian believers.
These are the geniuses who supported the overthrow of Colonel Qaddafi in Libya, a Qaddafi who had become a U.S. ally in the war against terror and who abandoned his nuclear weapons program in 2004, as I witnessed on the ground at the time.
These are the geniuses who supported Ayatollah Khomeini’s takeover of Iran in 1979, an event that ushered in forty years of darkness in that former U.S. ally and marks the start of the Islamist revival we continue to battle today.
These are the geniuses who tolerated five al Qaeda attacks on America without lifting a finger, who turned a blind eye to Iran’s support for al Qaeda as it prepared the 9-11 attacks and later denied Iran had played any role.
These are the same geniuses who called ISIS the Jay-vee team and allowed them to flourish. And now a big Dummy named Trump comes along and crushes them in a matter of months and within two years says the war is over, which in essence it is.
As I argued during the presidential campaign, what most outrages the Washington elites about Donald Trump is his candor. He sees the Emperor wearing no clothes, and he shouts it to his face.
They are furious for being called out, then and now.
There should be an honest, forthright debate on the merits of maintaining a covert U.S. military presence in Syria. Former Navy Seal Dan Crenshaw, now a Representive-elect from Texas, has tried to open that debate in a thoughtful column in the Washington Post.
Having fought the terrorists on the ground in Afghanistan, Rep.-elect Crenshaw made the case that the United States needs to fight the terrorists where they gather to prevent attacks on the American homeland.
“We go there so they don’t come here,” he wrote. “There is a common misconception that if we just let them fight their own wars, they will leave us alone.”
Crenshaw is right, of course. History shows us that when President H.W. Bush neglected Afghanistan after the Soviet pullout in 1989, bad actors rushed to fill the vacuum, including al Qaeda and their big supporter, Pakistan’s InterServices Intelligence.
Similarly, when Obama pulled out of Iraq in 2011 (where were the Democrats sputtering their disapproval then?), the power vacuum we left behind was soon filled by Iran and by Islamist groups, as I document in ISIS BEGINS.
These considerations led me initially to criticize President Trump’s decision on Twitter.
Since the President’s announcement, we are learning a bit more about the actual strategy behind the decision, although not from the White House itself.
The Israeli website Debka.com reports that senior U.S. administration officials clarified the President’s position in talks with Middle East leaders on Friday. “The Trump administration is not deserting” eastern and northern Syria,” Debka reported, nor had it “abandoned the Kurds” or “stabbed them in the back.”
Despite threats that they planned to release ISIS prisoners and abandon their front-line positions against the remaining pockets of ISIS fighters, Kurdish fighters of the YPG and the Syrian Democratic Forces have not fled.
Even Erdogan’s threats to march East of the Euphrates to massacre the Kurds in their defacto capital in Qarmishli were bluster, Debka argued, referring to a phone conversation between Presidents Trump and Erdogan on Dec. 14, when the Turk promised his army would not cross the Euphrates.
Trump’s White House team also told Middle East allies that the troop pullout would be phased out between four to six months. “During that time, Syria is bound to see many developments that may require Washington to revise its plans,” Debka reported.
“The US and Iraq are in advanced negotiations for the deployment to the Iraqi-Syria border of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) – the “Golden Division” – which drove ISIS out of Mosul. It will stand in the path of Iranian and Iraqi Shiite militias crossings into Syria,” Debka added.
This last part is critical. Indeed, the fear that a U.S. pullout would ease the way for Iran to solidify its much-coveted “land-bridge” to the borders of Israel was one of the reasons I opposed the pullout, arguing that even a small U.S. force on the ground served as a deterrent to overt aggression by Iran.
I am beginning to suspect – call it a hunch, based on what I know of this President and the team that surrounds him – that much more is going on behind the scenes, and that nothing in the current action will weaken the resolve or the posture of this administration toward Iran.
Indeed, if I were an ayatollah in Tehran today, I would be scared. Very scared.
It is no longer easier to be an ayatollah building nuclear weapons in Tehran than a Jew building an apartment in his capital, Jerusalem, as it was just two short years ago, under Obama.
Watch this space for what comes next. And enjoy the freedom we still enjoy in this country to celebrate the miracle of the birth of God made man in Jesus Messiah.