Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Death, Famine, War, and Conquest, an 1887 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov. The Lamb is visible at the top. (from here)

Here of late we have had endless political posturing over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw our troops from Syria. With respect to that subject, last Friday I read an editorial in The Washington Times I thought very interesting.  Below I share the part I thought most interesting.

If Congress is so adamant that U.S. forces should be fighting in the Syrian civil war, then Congress should vote to declare war.

As it stands today, U.S. forces are deployed in Syria on legally and constitutionally shaky grounds. In the days after the 9/11 terrorists attacks, Congress approved an Authorization of Use of Military force, which allowed the president to deploy troops against those responsible for 9/11, as well as any “associated forces.”

In the two decades since, presidents have used this authorization as a shortcut to avoid going through Congress to get approval for military action abroad. As a result, the United States today is engaged in 80 countries across six continents fighting terrorism. And, as evidenced by Mr. Trump’s campaign and 2016 victory, voters are tired of it.

Oddly, members of Congress such as Ms. Cheney who are urging President Trump to remain in Syria are essentially committing constitutional suicide by working to eliminate their own authority in the process of sending troops into battle overseas. That is a self-defeating motive that even the Founders could not imagine. (from here)

It has become obvious we have a bunch of posturing clowns in Congress. There are a few, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who perpetually come across as warhawks, but the vast majority of Democrats don’t. So the fact that Democrats suddenly abhor Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, and think we should go to war with Turkey to defend the Kurds makes no real sense. They cannot even make a logical argument. They just seem convinced Trump has to wrong about anything and everything.

If Trump is wrong, why doesn’t Congress put itself on the record? Why can’t Congress vote to impeach? Why can’t Congress vote to defend the Kurds from Turkey? Only Trump has the guts to make a decision? Funny how that works.

As citizens we need to ask ourselves a simple question. How has Trump betrayed the Kurds? Are the Kurds worse off because the USA helped them destroy ISIS? Did we promise the Kurds we would protect them from Turkey?

With the exception of Israel, the entire region is just a bunch of dictatorships, Turkey included. Dictatorships are by their very nature violent and nasty, but we are not going to war to end tyranny in the Middle East. We would throw Trump out of office if he tried to do it.


    1. @Liz

      Gabbard is supposedly one of the more reasonable Democrat presidential candidates. I suspect she mostly just trying to distinguish herself from the rest of the field, but I hope she is sincere. It would good to have someone running as Democrat who isn’t trying to fool the unwashed masses into voting our freedoms away.

      1. Well, I disagree with her on some things, and she doesn’t stand a chance in the presidential race (at least, not this one…maybe a future one). I think she’s absolutely right about “the message”. The disinformation campaign makes that pretty clear. The swamp wants the great minds behind blowing up Libya and the insane plan to move weapons from the Benghazi armory to Syria, for use by Syrian “rebels” to keep doing that great work. Everyone else, shut up and color (or else).

        It will be interesting to see next year’s polls of military folks opinion of the president. He has been way ahead of Obama, but his popularity was down one percent for officers last I read. He is more popular with enlisted folks than officers. Losing Mattis hurt. I’m glad he has another former military person as the Secretary of Defense (Esper). He’s not so high profile as Mattis (who is surely missed), but he might be just as good (or better) as a peacetime Sec of Defense, whereas Mattis was a good wartime Sec of Defense.

        1. @Liz

          Trump certainly has been going through appointees. My guess is the problem is that he only knew a small number of people with the kind of skills he could use in Washington. So he was taking recommendations from people who for feathering the own beds.

          Mattis was probably such an appointment, just one of the better ones. Trump has no trouble appointing strong leaders, but he does expect them to take orders. Mattis refused, and the breaking point seems to have been pulling our guys out of Syria.

          Mattis resignation letter indicates he had a strong policy disagreement with Trump. Given how long Trump delayed after Mattis resigned, I think Trump took Mattis seriously. Still, Trump pulled our guys out, and I think it will be for the best.

          1. “I earned my spurs on the battlefield … Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor,” General Mattis.

          2. Trump may not think he’s God.. but he certainly thinks he’s king. The man has done more to circumvent (and certainly obstruct) the Constitution than any president in modern history. Please don’t give me this “show me the proof” nonsense. Simply watch some of the media you avoid so much. Proof is there, hence the reason for the impeachment process.

          3. @Doug

            The Liberal Democrat news media just makes bunches of unsupported assertions and consider news reports from secondhand sources.

            CNN’s focus on Trump is just myopic. Not worth taking too seriously.

          4. @Liz

            Mattis fell on his sword to prove a point. Can’t say he did not have point, but fighting the Turks with special forces over a portion of Syria? He should be ashamed of himself. 4 stars are suppose to have a better grasp of strategy.

            If we are going to draw a red line in the sand, we have to be prepared to put up or shut up. Obama was not. Trump picks his fights more wisely.

          5. @tsalmon

            You think all jokes on Trump are funny, those are the ones you repeat. That’s not funny. That’s TDS! And TDS is a seriously debilitating condition.

            What’s the cure for TDS? You could try listening to Trump’s speeches. 😀

          6. Mattis fell on his sword to prove a point. Can’t say he did not have point, but fighting the Turks with special forces over a portion of Syria? He should be ashamed of himself. 4 stars are suppose to have a better grasp of strategy.
            If we are going to draw a red line in the sand, we have to be prepared to put up or shut up. Obama was not. Trump picks his fights more wisely.

            I agree 100 percent.
            I can disagree with Mattis (I do, and very strongly) and still like and respect him.
            Honestly, Hillary recently sent out a twitter “letter” I thought was pretty brilliant.
            I didn’t agree but I recognize it’s humorous point (or course, I also knew she couldn’t have been the source as she has no sense of humor nor is she clever, and I was right, she got the letter from a famous comedian but didn’t give him credit).

            Per Mattis:
            When you have a close personal relationship with people it influences your judgment. Doesn’t mean your judgement improves, it’s just human. I agree 100 percent with Trump’s decision. For a number of reasons.

            A short, simple question for the stay in Syria folks would be….Knowing we’ve helped the Kurds conquer territory that wasn’t their’s (and I what I read is correct, 80 percent of that area’s population isn’t Kurdish), how long are we responsible for continuing to secure this territory for them, and why?
            No pointing to “experts” if one is going to have an opinion on this, in a representative democracy one is responsible for educating oneself just a wee modicum.
            This isn’t in depth detail, the question is pretty simple.
            Of course I have about 20 others but that’s a start.
            (we’ll get to their association with terrorists as the next point…truly, the Kurds in Iraq have outlawed tge PKK but the Syria ones are aligned with them)

  1. I agree withIB— I realize the practicality of Washington’s farewell address where he speaks to being more isolationist is not feasible given our world today but he spoke to a young Nation that was tired of fighting as was he, an old tired general— I think I’d rather fight our leadership and tell all those who oppose trump for merely being trump to please let us get on with the business of a nation rather than acting as infighting family lunatics — I’m so sick and tired of all of this!!!!!

    1. @Julie

      Good citizenship requires that we participate in our government even though it often involves putting up with a great deal of hostility. Stiff upper lip sort of thing.

      The reference to Washington is a good one. What Washington counseled is still wise. We cannot withdraw from the world, but we do need to define our vital interests and protect those. If we try to police the world, we will bleed ourselves dry.

  2. Tom,You are right about Congress should put up or shut up, in my opinion.

    The middle east conflicts date back thousands of years. They will never compromise with each other because there are too many tribal political and cultural factors and generational hatred and anger.

    Also, when the USA becomes involved, certain factions become employed or enriched by servicing the USA needs in their countries. This serves to prolong the conflicts because it destroys incentives to compromise.

    Sad how politicians who warned the if Trump was elected, he would start more wars. Yet the reason many voted for Trump was to end our policing the world with our men and treasure.

    When Obama pulled out of Iraq, the results was another tribal faction ISIS sprung up. Turkey did nothing about ISIS. If Turkey wants to now get involved in a war with Kurds, and the USA takes sides again in a war to attempt to solve another ancient tribal faction, what will be the next tribal faction the USA will again have to send our men and treasure to police, enrich, and create incentive to war instead of compromise?

    If the Democrat Congress declares war, what will the voters decide, again, in 2020 on the issue of policing the world.

    All the Democrat Congress does is complain, complain, complain instead of compromise what voters decided after Obama failed his promised to make a difference.

    All Obama he accomplished was to add another 10 trillion to the National Debt to solve what Bush folly mainly because of his decision to invade Iraq to police the world when we cannot even police our Nation.


    Regards and goodwill blogging.,

  3. Weird! I sympathize with the sentiment that we should stop having unconstitutional wars. Obama practically begged the Republican Congress to authorize a new use of force when Republicans kept squawking that he should bomb Syria and claimed he blinked on his chemical weapons “line in the sand”. It’s great to see that you now agree with Obama.

    But where did y’all really stand on Congress’ cowardly unconstitutional dodge back then? Huh? Wait, let’s go back to even further to when George W. Bush destabilized the whole region with Dick Cheney’s nation building scheme in Iraq? (“It will be easy and the Iraqis will pay for their own rebuilding” – we look back 5 trillion dollars and thousands of lives and injuries later). Suddenly now you folks have seen the light and have become rabid isolationists? You want to bring everybody home, hide behind Trump’s big beautiful third century invention of a wall and hope a cruel world full of mortal enemies to our freedom don’t come knocking (again)? Don’t you Trumpians have any strategic speeds between suicidally redlining it and a blind panicked reverse?

    Yes, after Donald Trump, without warning to our allies, our diplomats or even our military on the ground greenlit a Turkish invasion that precipitated an ongoing disaster that now directly endangers our troops and is forcing what increasingly looks like a dangerous unplanned bug out, you think Congress should either put up or shut up and give our criminally idiotic president responsibility for all out war against a NATO ally or else, just stop their bipartisan condemnation of Trump’s obvious and endless incompetence? Trump went from a fairly stable situation in a huge swath of Iraq where he could actually claim a good deal of credit for destroying the ISIS caliphate to essentially handing Israel’s next door neighbor over to an Iranian drone attack (just like the Saudis recently experienced) unless Trump’s good friend, Putin, intercedes to protect them. And now, it appears that Turkey is using former Iraqi ISIS members as shock troops to massacre their way back home. What could go wrong there? No problem – we just declare war on Turkey But then again, where is Trump going to find any allies who will actually trust him and that will fight with us. Maybe if we go begging, the Kurds will kiss and make up? No, it appears that they were forced into the arms of Assad, Russia, the Iranians and perhaps even ISiS in order just to survive.

    I know, you will want to claim that our “very stable genius” of “unmatched wisdom” President. the “great negotiator” himself, had no choice but to get rolled by Erdogan (again) – Turkey would have attacked anyway. We are only the largest military in the world by a factor of 10 compared to all the rest put together, but tin pot wannabe dictators can just push us and our allies around. Yep, that’s the “Art of the Deal” indeed.

    Maybe Trump will send in Ghooliani along with his henchmen, Igor and Les, to save the day. Nixon’s bungling plumbers were more competent though. Maybe they are available.

    Here is an article by a career diplomat for all the good it will do:

    it’s one of probably a thousand such articles coming out by actual experts that you can choose from. Trump’s own Russia advisor testified to his corruption and incompetence in private session before the House today. Other Trump career advisors are lining up to burn Trump at the proverbial stake. The NYT reports that even John Bolton ran for the doors after calling Ghooliani “a handgrenade” and saying that he did not want to be any part of his “drug deal” (I don’t think he meant actual drugs, but we are talking about Trumps crack lawyer so who knows?). Cue the deep state witch hunt conspiracy theories. The wheels have already come off the Trump campaign bus, but he seems to self impeaching – he doesn’t seem to be able to help himself. Maybe smarmy Mike Pence will ultimately save the Republican Party from itself with the 25th Amendment. Yep, that’ll happen.

    1. @tsalmon

      Democrats are holding secret, star chamber styled impeachment hearings, and we are suppose to take the leaks seriously? Anyone need a conspiracy theory? See the Congressional Democrats.

      I read Foreign Affairs magazine in high school. It is propaganda, and it is not especially good propaganda. Trump made no secret he wanted to pull out the troops in Syria. When he had senior appointees resigning over it, where is the surprise? Don’t you even listen to yourself?

      The notion of Obama begging Congress for permission to fight ISIS is just silly. Mr. Pen and his Phone? 😏

      Obama just used the Constitution and Congress as excuses for not doing what he did not want to do anyway. I don’t know if Obama was Muslim or not, but his policies in the Middle East were disastrous.

      Did W. Bush do a great job in foreign policy? Not particularly, but he did not leave the mess Obama left behind him.

      Taking on the Turks to defend the Kurds would be a completely new mission. Trump decided he does not want to get the job by putting our guys in harm’s way and waiting until the Turks kill some of them. When ISIS was no longer a threat, I don’t think leaving our troops there looking for a completely new mission is what the president should be doing.

      What about that prison full of ISIS fighters? That is a problem the local will have to solve. We are not going leave our troops there until they all die of old age.

      1. That’s why we need a damn State Department, fully staffed and capable to carry out diplomatic missions along side a military presence. But we have a gutted and impotent State Department thanks to Trump… and Trump wants to be an isolationist and bring everyone home.

        1. @Doug

          The State Department is supposed to represent and help implement the policy of the president. Instead, many of those people have their own agenda. So Trump has to replace the dissidents.

          With every change of administration, the new administration has to figure out what to do with those folks whose loyalties belong to the last administration. Because the Obama loyalists are so fanatical, we have a new expression for this problem, “the deep state”.

      2. Tom,

        You think Bush didn’t start and leave both Obama and then Trump with a stirred hornets nest of a mess in the Middle East? Even Trump isn’t willing to conjure up that kind of tribal magical thinking about Republicans.

        Our troops in Syria are exposed and pinned down. We may have to launch an emergency airlift. Without consulting or warning anyone in his own administration, Trump greenlit Turkey to invade, and then announced quite clearly that what he did (like some child who is proud he ate his own poop). Now, he wants to say he didn’t do it and sanction our NATO ally for starting the humanitarian, military and foreign policy disaster Trump started in another “perfect phone call” because he didn’t foresee his own Republican leadership’s horror. That’s because he doesn’t consult with or listen to HIS OWN PEOPLE. Since Trump’s reign of corruption and incompetence began everyone is quitting or getting fired or going to jail around Trump. “He wants to pick his own ambassadors?” He’s down to the “D” team and even they see that this snake of a president will burn them eventually. He’s like the anti-Midas. Everything he touches turns to flying excrement.

        1. Without consulting or warning anyone in his own administration,

          Who did the presidents consult all the other times they gave Turkey the green light to attack the PKK? I don’t seem to remember this announcement and subsequent debate.

          1. I’m told Obama did not even tell Hillary about the bin Laden raid, until the day of. An invasion of Pakistan’s sovereign territory! To assassinate a person!
            Was he right to withhold that information?
            Uh…HE double hockey sticks yes.

        2. @tsalmon

          I think you have insults confused with debate.

          Think! If Trump had given everyone the exact time he was pulling out our troops, what good would it have done? When we telegraph a military move, we just put our troops at greater risk.

          Trump made it clear he was considering this move and why. You don’t like it? So call him more names, like a big boy.

          1. So Turkey gets to know we are pulling out our troops before our own commanders and diplomats do, much less our closest allies there, because it needs to be kept a big secret, so we can stage the brilliant tactical retreat that you are witnessing here?!?! And you are comparing this military and foriegn policy disaster to Obama’s successful killing of the Bin Laden, the terrorist who killed 3000 of our citizens? What world are you living in? Maybe Bolton was right. This is all a massive drug deal. …

          2. I don’t recall saying anything about Bin Laden. Didn’t know Obama killed Bin Laden, but I suppose you got that info from the same place you got the quote from Bolton and a massive drug deal, a leaky “secret” star chamber hearing.

          3. If you really think this disaster was actually planned by our “stable genius” President, then he must be working for our enemies. He’s either an incompetent fool or brilliant traitor. Spin it all to La La land all you want, but the facts just won’t lie for you. Even most Republicans have quit hiding behind Trump’s endless superlative whoppers.

          4. @tsalmon

            You really ought to learn patience, but I suppose you hate Trump too much.

            Not one of the attacks on Trump has worked. Most have been completely fabricated or just stupid. Russian collusion. Stormy Daniels. Quid pro quo with the Ukraine. Now its withdrawing from Syria, and that’s just a target of opportunity, not a fiction created by Democrats.

            You won’t admit it — you cannot — but withdrawing our troops from Turkey makes sense. That doesn’t mean it won’t be messy. When hostile powers are involved, we are lucky if at least one of our choices will result in positive benefits. Usually we just try to get away with the least amount of harm, and if that requires us to attack the enemy, we do. In this case, we don’t have to attack anyone. So count your blessings.

          5. “You won’t admit it — you cannot — but withdrawing our troops from Turkey makes sense.”


            I don’t know about withdrawing our troops from ”Turkey”, but now we are faced with the embarrassing problem of getting our nuclear weapons out of that newly hostile, once allied country.

            As much as everyone here wants to pretend to be some sort of BarcaLounger Talleyrand, virtually everyone who actually knows what they are talking about, regardless of political party, sees what is actually happening in Syria as an embarrassing, unmitigated, unnecessary disaster of Trump’s exclusive, unadvised making. Like I said, Trump looks like a child who was proud when caught eating his own poop, until he realized everyone around him was disgusted and horrified. Now you all want to pretend his poop eating was a brilliantly planned dietary strategy?

            Does what is going on in SYRIA actually look well PLANNED to you and Liz from your lofty Google perches of strategic genius? Really?

            I don’t claim any great expertise. If I did, I might even agree with you that we need a smaller, cheaper, more efficient and effective footprint around the world and more contribution from our allies. (And with what I can see, our actions in Syria actually reflect just such a smarter, more efficient, ally driven policy). I’m just listening to Trump’s own experts and looking at the obvious. This isn’t PLANNED. It’s a stupid, bloody disaster created exclusively by Trump’s own petulant, impetuous pompousness. Those may be insults, but they are also perfectly accurate descriptors of Trump and his actions, and you know it.

          6. @tsalmon

            You make a lot of assertions you cannot prove. It was not planned? Because a partisan news media says so? 🙄

            I assume you mean our nukes in Turkey? Don’t know that we have any there. Turkey has never exactly been the best of allies. When I retired in 1994, the people in the career field I was in had a weird problem. We had to had hide what we were doing in Turkey from the Turks. Nobody else. Just the Turkish people. Most ridiculously classified thing I have ever seen.

            Why do you want to make a bad situation worse? You want to threaten Turkey even though you think we have nukes in that country.

          7. Tom and Liz,

            Did I say we ought to “threaten Turkey”?

            I’m no foreign policy genius like you and Liz pretend to be in channeling Trump’s incomprehensible brilliance here. I have no idea how to get us out of the mess that President Unmatched Wisdom has gotten us into, but it doesn’t take a foreign policy wonk to see that it wasn’t planned and that Trump’s stupid dumpster fire is rapidly spiraling out of control without any exit in sight. I ask again, do you seriously think any coherent strategy is going on since Trump got on the phone with Erdogan and lit this mess off?

            Trump green lights Turkey and betrays the Kurds and now that Turkey has done exactly what they said they would do, Trump is sanctioning Turkey and threatening our ally with total destruction of their economy if they do it. Have you read that ridiculous letter Trump just sent to Erdogan? It reads like a third grader on a school yard wrote it.

            Trump betrayed and burned our Kurdish alliance and now he’s burning our alliance with Turkey too. This is tragic, unnecessary, unplanned and idiotic, right now, on Trump’s watch, and as it expands into a worse and worse catastrophe, Tom keeps flailing about to find some liberal conspiracy to blame it all on and Liz wants to pretend she is a geopolitical guru who assesses this as a good thing that Trump planned and she understood all along and it’s all just coming out roses and bunny slippers and happy thoughts. I love you both. Like Doug wrote, either one of you would be a better, more capable, more honest President than Trump, but good grief!

          8. and Liz wants to pretend she is a geopolitical guru who assesses this as a good thing that Trump planned and she understood all along and it’s all just coming out roses and bunny slippers and happy thoughts.

            No need to be a foreign policy guru. All one had to do is pay very close attention for the last 20 or so years. I had a vested interest in doing so, so none of this is terribly shocking to me. It’s a forgone conclusion. But so few people were paying attention that when it finally hits the media it’s like it’s all new. See 2015, northern Iraq.
            Second verse, same as the first (not exactly, but I’m in a Violent Femmes mood).
            This will pass.
            No bunny slippers and roses in the Middle East.
            When was that a thing? Outcomes in the ME have never been bunnies and roses.

            Love back at yah! 🙂

      3. “Democrats are holding secret, star chamber styled impeachment hearings, and we are suppose to take the leaks seriously?Anyone need a conspiracy theory? See the Congressional Democrats.”

        Then every grand jury in the country is a “star chamber”. Can you quote the line in the Constitution that you are referring to when you say that the House must follow your new rules of civil procedure, or is this just the talking points that you think you are supposed to spin?

        1. @tsalmon

          Two U.S. presidents have been impeached and tried. Congress started the process with Nixon, but he saw the writing on the wall and quit.

          Pelosi and her caucus are ignoring precedent. They are using a cooperative news media to manufacture a bunch of lies. They are creating smoke to make it look like we have the fire corruption in the White House.

          Here is another way of putting it. Instead of debating the issues, Democrats are just throwing tons of mud and hoping some will stick. That is also, in fact, what you have been doing.

          There is nothing just about what Congress is doing with its so-called impeachment inquiry. The Democrats in Congress are not allowing either the president or the Republicans in Congress any role in the process. You want to call that a grand jury. Well, if that is a grand jury, we don’t need them.

          1. You applauded Moscow Mitch’s ignoring precedent and actual violation of his constitutional duty to bring Garland’s SCOTUS nomination to a hearing, much less a vote, but now three examples in 300 years is concrete controlling law? The undisputed impeachable facts aren’t really true if the coequal branch constitutional responsible for impeachment doesn’t indict the criminal by his rules?

            If you have the facts on your side, argue the facts (you don’t). If you have the law on your side argue the law (not even close). If the facts and the law are both damning, pound the table and yell like hell. Sorry, that one’s not working either.

            I’ll tell you what Tom. Just pretend that Obama was doing all the corrupt stuff Trump inarguably has done and a Republican House were handling it the same way, and then you can make the obvious logical arguments for me. We’ll save a lot of time with irrelevant smoke screens that way.

            Oh well, one impeachable Trump crime at a time.

          2. @tsalmon

            Why don’t you do a little research on what McConnell did? Also, consider that McConnell did not smear anyone. The term for that is “working”.

    2. But where did y’all really stand on Congress’ cowardly unconstitutional dodge back then? Huh? Wait, let’s go back to even further to when George W. Bush destabilized the whole region with Dick Cheney’s nation building scheme in Iraq?

      I never supported military intervention of any sort in either Syria or Libya. I think our meddling in the ME and stationing troops in Saudi were the catalyst for 911, and our subsequent continued meddling are the reason for ISIS.
      However, neither the first Gun war nor the second were unconstitutional as a specific AUMF was passed by Congress for each. The only time an AUMF was voted on and actually vetoed in the House, but the veto was just ignored, was the Balkan campaign. Democrats seem to like to start a lot of bad precedents that might be expeditious in the short term, but catastrophic long term (now we have the hearsay evidence whistle blower protection status, a similar example).

      While I never screamed about Obama and the “red line” (though we shouldn’t make promises to attack if we aren’t prepared to back them up, do you not agree?), on September 3rd, just five short weeks ago, you said:
      “Trump hasn’t brought our troops home”
      Now he has brought home too many?

      I don’t understand the assertion that we are bringing home troops “without warning”. I cannot think of anything Trump has said (with the possible exception of the wall) with more warning than this. (at any rate, I’ll continue to read the article and might post more later)

      1. Liz,

        Well, there was legality of the invasions of Panama and Grenada, if we really want to pick apart the constitutional issues, but you may not remember those military interventions. Funny, very few people ever bring up this issue unless they are trying to justify or critique a decision (or in Trump’s case “indecision”) that they know has gone south. .

        We literally have troops and naval assets all over the world. (Once again, read Paul Kennedy if you want to understand why that is necessary). All military projections of force are not equal. Some are stupid (invading Iraq), some are smart (the first Gulf War), some are somewhere in between with no perfect options (the Balkans), and some are just a president being as smart or not as one can in handling a mess he inherited (Nixon in Vietnam Nam and both Obama and Trump in Iraq). Presidents are remembered and judged by how they handle how they get us into and out of such things.

        You are just muddying the waters to hide what is clear as a mountain stream. Trump screwed the pooch in Syria. He knows it, the leaders of both Partues know it, and you know it.

        The pattern of corruption and incompetence between this disaster and Ukraine and so many other Trump scandals are getting impossible for Republicans to keep providing cover to each one. The tide is turning and the rats are abandoning Trump’s sinking ship. The decent officials have already been fired or quit. People are already in jail and more will go to jail and others are just trying to stay out of jail.

        You keep the lipstick coming. The pig still ain’t pretty. The porcine cosmetology would be entertaining if people weren’t dying and were not the blood dripping from Trump’s hands.

        I’m out of metaphors to mix to describe this cluster f#%k so I’ll sign off and let you imagine your pompous leader really is the stable genius of unmatched wisdom that he claims to be and that all versions of reality disprove.

        1. Funny, very few people ever bring up this issue unless they are trying to justify or critique a decision (or in Trump’s case “indecision”) that they know has gone south. .

          It’s always on my mind. I could bring it up every day if you like, what would be the point? I bring it up now because it is obviously the topic here if we’re speaking of the constitutionality of AUMFs and military engagements.

          Halfway done reading the article. It is fascinating. There is so much to cover here…
          Since you brought up our force occupations all around the world it bears mentioning things like sovereignty should matter. Once the excuse of urgent security concerns is eliminated, at what point do we give a nation back its territorial sovereignty? We aren’t there at the behest of the Syrian government and don’t have a SOFA.
          We are there, continuing to occupy because we can so it’s a question worth asking.

          Another variable: We made (according to the article) security guarantees to the Turkish government as a condition for arming a group affiliated with a terrorist organization. There’s really no way to sugar-coat that. We did it to combat ISIS, a very good reason IMO, but once ISIS is defeated if we cannot provide those security guarantees due to obvious practical limitations our options are limited. The PKK has been launching attacks inside Turkey throughout the summer so it shouldn’t be hard to understand their perspective.

          1. @tsalmon

            All that you and others are doing is sniping from the sidelines. Supposedly, you have the better idea. We could have left our troops in place, and everything would have been good forevermore. Yet that is the nonsense. We didn’t have the power on the ground to control that large a territory. We could not stop Kurdish terrorists from attacking Turkey.

            Once ISIS was put down, the fighter who had fought ISIS could and would be redeployed to other missions. What missions? It wasn’t a good idea to hang around and find out.

          2. If you want to see how he’s refuting all the nonsense your saying now,

            Oh, I see.
            It wasn’t nonsense when he wrote it, but it is nonsense now.
            Perhaps you could point out the bit of nonsense I’m citing, and he is now refuting, for me? maybe address the SOFA and sovereignty thing too while we’re at it.
            I don’t read op-eds, or tweets, for the most part.

          3. Seriously….what “nonsense”?
            We didn’t give Turkey security guarantees after arming their enemies against their own security concerns? We shouldn’t expect them to take their security seriously? They don’t have a security concern with the PKK? The PKK hasn’t attacked?
            Which one?
            The tweet says something about a green light.
            I’ve never mentioned it. The only thing I said is, we’ve always given them permission when they’ve attacked the PKK in the past (it was never an issue then). I see no reason why this is different and I can understand their security concerns.

          4. Liz,

            I’ll refer you to my comment to Tom above. The odd thing that you seem to want to miss is that no one (expect the Commander and Idiot himself), especially McGurk, is arguing that Trump’s force multiplying alliance with the Kurds wasn’t smart. Furthermore, no one is saying that any given policy should be a “forever” policy. Instead, the situation is “forever” dynamic. As soon as our strategy adapts, our enemies strategy adapts with it, and we must thoughtfully change it again. Alliances do shift. The strategy and tactics shift, but the war (hot and cold) will go on as long as there are virtue and vice in this fallen and finite world. As dynamic as the situation is, if you believe as I do (and I think you do) that America stands for something, then that doesn’t change and the fact that we will always have enemies doesn’t change either.

            McGurk believed that we had a smart policy that was defeating our immediate enemy (ISIS), but also giving us an amazing amount of influence at low cost at keeping the other even greater adversaries to our long term basic American beliefs at bay: Assad, Putin, and extremist Iranian militias.

            In one impetuous, unadvised, unplanned, stupidity on a phone call, Trump, not only aided the reemergence of ISIS, but he handed all our influence in the whole Middle East region (and also around the world) over to the worst adversaries of what all of us here commonly believe in and would fight for.

            The obvious
            precipitous nature of how this went down does not even show a momentary plan, much less a “forever” strategy. It’s a stinking pile of poo that Trump just laid on us, our credibility, our influence and our allies without thought, without planning and without advice. If this is PLANNED, then who is Trump working for, because he’s making them “Great Again”, not us. And he’s doing it in Saudi Arabia, in Ukraine, in Hong Kong, in Europe, everywhere. You don’t see the pattern? The only question is whether it’s a pattern of incompetence or actual corrupt treachery, or both.

            Don’t believe me though. Believe what Trump’s own experts are saying, NOW. Or better still, believe your own eyes – does this mess really look PLANNED to you?

          5. Exactly Doug,

            You see the Joint Chiefs and the State Department, or any experts, all lined up saying they advised Trump to do this? Nope. Instead, a few remaining yes men are scurrying around to do damn age control while pretending that Captain Corruption didn’t run the ship of state aground.

          6. @tsalmon

            You have a message, and it is identical with that transmitted by most of an obviously biased news media.

            Your news media experts are doing your thinking. Whatever his faults, Trump has the courage to be his own man.

            Try it. You don’t have to wear a MAGA hat, but you don’t have to repeat a bunch of vile smears either. Crap from an anonymous source is not newsworthy. It’s the gossip of a hateful whisper campaign. Check out the Book of James, chapter 3.

          7. The odd thing that you seem to want to miss is that no one is arguing that Trump’s force multiplying alliance with the Kurds wasn’t smart.
            I had to reread this a couple of times. It’s an “odd thing” that I “want to miss” that “no one is arguing” Trump wasn’t smart on this (all these subsequent months you and Doug have been frothing about his sheer stupidity in all things?).
            No, believe me…I did NOT want to miss that.
            This is just the first time you’ve ever admitted it that I can recall.
            Doug still doesn’t seem to be with the program, better school him on this.
            Yes, Doug, you know all that time you were asserting Trump was an idiot and not listening to experts?
            He was actually smart, and listening to experts.
            Just not now…since last week though.

            Remember all those experts actively working for Trump in intelligence and the military who went on the media who talked about how smart he was about defeating ISIS all these months?
            Me neither.
            Yet for some reason, we should be hearing from them now.
            If we don’t then everyone must be on board that Trump is dumb.
            Unlike last month.
            I don’t even know where to begin.

            We could look at our failed policies throughout the ME. REALLY look at them. Starting with Lebanon (Syria occupied for decades, their troops only left in 2005 but NOW they are a worse threat, somehow. Russia has had close associations with Damascus forever but NOW this is a really big problem, when it was barely even on the radar before…for some reason).

            I’ll just take this bit:
            McGurk believed that we had a smart policy that was defeating our immediate enemy (ISIS), but also giving us an amazing amount of influence at low cost at keeping the other even greater adversaries to our long term basic American beliefs at bay: Assad, Putin, and extremist Iranian militias.

            Let me explain how I interpret the above.
            I do agree on the basic facts regarding McGurk’s opinion. I come to different conclusions. Because whenever we’ve completed an urgent security related mission in the middle east, and then gone on to stay for the purpose of having an “amazing amount of influence” it has gone very badly.
            I don’t really have to come up with examples do I? That’s been the impetus for attacking us. “Oh sure the US might help now…but they’ll never leave”.
            And they’ve been right again and again. So I see no way our continued occupation of Syria could possibly end anything but badly (with significant escalation).
            As a side note, I’m trying to remember the hand wringing about “abandoning” the Kurds the first seven or eight times we did it.

          8. @Liz

            Trump’s force multiplying strategy with the Kurds was so smart that they try to credit Obama instead of Trump, kind of like they do the economy.

          9. I never said “sheer stupidity” (although seriously thought about it). I said maybe “sheer ignorance” and ” behavioral dysfunction” because becoming President he has risen to his level of incompetence. Here’s the thing…. three of the four of us who are the main commenters in here.. and Liz being from a military environment.. any one of us I would vote to replace him and any one of us could do a far better job than he has done. Because each one of us, in our various ways, understand what it can take to get the mission accomplished because each of us know full well the value of delegation, teamwork, and focus. Also.. each one of us would never demean the office of the Presidency with buffoonery.
            Honestly.. more and more of Congress are realizing this guy is a dangerous putz. Let’s forget the Middle East for the moment. The man is going down because of his shenanigans in the Ukraine and his pal Rudy is next to be indicted. They are going to have their day in court… but it isn’t going to help.
            And… no, I am not happy one bit. It’s appalling the disappointment he has been to those who fell for his nonsense… and how he’s managed to embarrass the hell out of the nation internationally… and has become a clear and present danger.

          10. The idea of “shaping the international environment” (aka “having an amazing amount of influence”) with hypothetical low footprint is not new; it was a catchall phrase developed by the Clinton administration in the mid-1990s to shoehorn international social work and nation building into its national security strategy.
            It became the ceterpiece of the White House’s 1997 National Security Strategy for a New Century and the Pentagon’s 1997 Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review.
            Lots of experts.
            Lots of failed policy, now that we look at the results.

          11. Tom,

            I love you brother and I really appreciate your letting me participate here, but I don’t think that you will be surprised to find out that I think that your blog here is terribly biased and that I don’t think that you (or Me either for that matter) are much of an expert in geopolitical strategy. That said, and despite the bias, when you state a fact that is a true fact, it is still a true fact. Also, when you site an expert who actually is an expert, he/she still is an expert even though you site him/her here on your biased media blog.

            Sorry, you simply can’t make the simple facts about this Trump debacle untrue or the reality that most experts, including Trump’s own not consulted experts, think Trump’s Syria decision is an absolute debacle.

            The majority of your Republican House members rebuked Trump today over Syria. Are they simply under the thrall of some left wing media conspiracy?

            I think you know Trump screwed the pooch here, and now you are just reflexively defending him by pointing at every red herring, smoke screen, pure partisan talking point that you can dream up.

          12. @tsalmon

            I don’t much care what the other posturing Republicans did. It is symbolic BS.

            I am just sick of the name calling. Why don’t you just debate the issues?

            How things will turn out is unknowable. Could we have left our guys in Syria indefinitely? No. The idea our guys were controlling the place is silly. They were gathering intel. The Kurds were doing the fighting on the ground, and the Kurds are surrounded by enemies that are stronger than they are.

            Could we protect the Kurds from the Turks? No. One of the reasons the Turks have been turning to the Russians is our support for the Kurds. When we arm the Kurds, we threaten the Turks. At some point, it is quite likely that the Turks will not tolerate what they perceive as a growing threat. Meanwhile, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Russians and the Iranians will find some reason to get upset with us. And for what? Control of a no man’s land?

            The best defense for the Kurds is to discourage the Turks from attacking them and to stop arming them. Turkey will then turn its attention to other problems, problems they want our help with. Pissing off the USA and Europe by killing off a bunch of Kurds is just going to make working with us more difficult. Are they that stupid? Who knows?

          13. The mission in Somalia was to deliver food aid. Just make sure that food got to the needy. See how that one ended up. Divided Syria is at least 10000 times more complicated. The mission to “have an amazing amount of influence” is no mission at all.

          14. “I am just sick of the name calling. Why don’t you just debate the issues?”

            If I say someone is a thief, then that, of course, is an insult, but if they are a thief then the insult is factually true even if it is an insult. If thievery is the issue, then despite the insult, it is still very much talking about the ”issues”.

            “Could we protect the Kurds from the Turks? No.”

            Well, yes. We have been. If we, the largest military in the world and the great beacon of democracy, couldn’t protect the Kurds from our own ally, then we suck as a superpower who stands for something, and we should just become a vassal state of Putin, who now actually appears to be right now protecting the Kurds from Turkey. Why could Putin do this and we couldn’t? Hail Putin?

            I’m just pointing out obvious facts, not asserting some inexpert dreamy conjecture. Today, we blew up our own base in Syria just to keep the Turks/Assad from obtaining the assets we left behind there when we unexpectedly bugged out. Ya, this is strategic genius….

          15. @tsalmon

            Actually, what you call “facts” are just diversions from the issues. All you have about Trump is stupid gossip. It is easier to find dirt on the Democrats, but I would rather explain why they are horribly wrong on the issues.

            Are we going to go into Hong Kong and protect those people from the Chinese Communists? No. Why not?

            We have the same kind of problem in Syria. Because they have relatively little power, we can help take down a bloodthirsty bunch like ISIS. Turkey is strong enough we have to do our best to at least keep it neutral. Arming the Kurds does not do that.

          16. In the two or so years I’ve been posting here, I think I’ve mentioned about 20 times that the number one reason I was glad Trump won was his position on getting us out of Syria.
            No one disagreed…except to say Trump was incompetent because our troops hadn’t left yet.

          17. @Liz

            The same people complaining now had no trouble when Obama pulled out Iraq, allowed ISIS to build up, and subsequently hundreds of thousands died in Syria.

          18. (on the topic of she who must not be named):
            Me: The number one reason I’m glad is that she was going to establish no fly zones over syria. That place is a mess, we’re too close to a confrontation with Russia. We need to get out ASAP…blah blah
            (repeat above 20+ times and/or variations thereof, over the course of over 2 years)
            Then: Crickets.
            Now: “Oh, you KNOW this is a terrible idea! You just have to stand up for Trump even if it goes against the Republican party!”

            One can accuse me of many things, but being a hypocrite on the subject of withdrawal and Syria isn’t one of them

          19. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it at least a couple of times in the past at Doug’s place.

            My spouse just went on a camping trip last night to scout out elk.
            He’s putting his stuff together and asked where his good wool socks are.
            “I just put them in your drawer, like the others”
            They weren’t there. He’s looking all around, saying things like, “Honey, you really need to pay attention when you put those socks away, they’re very expensive…”
            More tutt tutting as I can’t find them nor can he…”Please, please next time you wash them, just put them all in one place…”
            Getting increasingly frustrated, while I’m helping him look, he finally gives up with a bit of a frustrated sigh in my direction.
            When he gets his bag to start packing, the socks were in there.
            He’d put them there so as not to lose them you see….

            This topic is…kind of reminding me of that.
            At any rate, hope ya all have a great day.
            -Liz out

          20. The same people complaining now had no trouble when Obama pulled out Iraq, allowed ISIS to build up, and subsequently hundreds of thousands died in Syria.

            True. It’s because most people only know what the media brings to their attention. If they give it a lot of attention, “it must be important” if not, they don’t think about it.
            Anyone who believes the situation in Syria today is in the top 25 most relevant/important and/or bad things to happen in the past ten years hasn’t been paying attention to what has been going on in the world.

          21. Why is it Trump loyalists always try and defend his actions (or inactions) by comparing him to past administrations/presidents? Those were all different times, different places, entirely different public opinions, and completely different political environments. Of course the loyalists are looking for some accusatory hypocrisy to justify their Dear Leader, but it’s apples and oranges. Trump should be measured on the here and now of current events… as should any other president.
            This is why as voters we should think twice about a candidates ability to carry out all those campaign promises. I surely DO NOT want a president who once he gets into office cannot be flexible enough to modify or completely change a promise or two given they now have the resources to determine validity or practicability of their original promise. When Senior Bush said “no new taxes” I cannot fathom for the life of me that voters knew what the President was promising was actually something he could deliver on. Yet people voted for him because of that promise. I don’t want a president who strives more for a campaign promise than having the flexibility to change things should situations and events change down the line. Trump said in the campaign he was going to bring all our troops home and end the long wars. Anyone with half a brain knows that making such an arbitrary promise such as that with the intent on fulfilling that promise just because it was a promise is not considering outcomes and ramifications of those actions, now and for the future. Syria fell into that.
            Personally I would admire the candidate to present a platform not on promises.. but on the promise to make an effort to achieve a particular outcome.

        2. You are just muddying the waters to hide what is clear as a mountain stream. Trump screwed the pooch in Syria. He knows it, the leaders of both Partues know it, and you know it.

          First: I’ve stated many times I think he is doing the right thing.
          Next: From the article you posted:
          For months, the United States attempted to placate Erdogan by delaying urgent SDF operations such as the campaign to eject ISIS from the Syrian town of Manbij, which the group was using as a hub to plan and execute attacks in Europe. Washington even sent its best military strategists to Ankara, where they tried to devise a plan to liberate Raqqa with fighters from the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition. In the end, it became clear that a joint plan with Turkey would require as many as 20,000 U.S. troops on the ground. Both Obama and Trump rejected that option, and in May 2017, Trump decided to directly arm the YPG to ensure that it could take Raqqa from ISIS.

          Trump “screwed the pooch” here eh? The statement above makes it quite clear this action is the reason for the defeat of ISIS. BUT it obviously required security guarantees in return. This should be patently obvious. As long as our forces were there, we were obligated to ensure no attacks on Turkey.
          But we didn’t…the PKK has attacked.
          And we can’t. Not without a very heavy military involvement.

        3. Why is it Trump loyalists always try and defend his actions (or inactions) by comparing him to past administrations/presidents?
          Now that you mention it, that is odd. Why compare presidents to presidents? It make much more sense to compare them to pundits, athletes, comedians, farmers and animal doctors.

          And you’re right that we shouldn’t expect campaign promises, or expect our elected officials to honor their campaign promises. I think we should just have a dance-off to determine who will be president.

          Three months ago it was “all he does is lie! He tells 10,000 new lies every year!” Now he’s too truthful? I’m losing track.
          He didn’t withdraw troops right away. We made sure ISIS was defeated and lost all territory first. And for that, the Democrats (as I mentioned a couple of times) said he broke his promises. Now, as soon as he could honor that promise after ensuring ISIS was defeated, he’s a crazy person.

          Personally I would admire the candidate to present a platform not on promises.. but on the promise to make an effort to achieve a particular outcome.
          Like “Make America Great Again”?

          When I was a moderator in a now obsolete forum far, far away. In a more innocent time when one didn’t worry about anonymity and the power of the internet to ruin your life, we had folks from all over the globe. One was a Druze (I think that’s singular or plural, but not sure), another a former intelligence officer and Israeli, another had worked for the assistant secretary general of the UN, another was a Canadian history professor (he served as an observer on the ground with our forces Iraq for a few months), another was a military person who worked in HUMINT and had spent the vast majority of his career in the middle east. He spoke Kurdish, Turkish, and Arabic fluently.
          There were lots more but the above resumes were the most impressive, and it was so interesting to read their discussions over a range of middle eastern topics. The main thing I got out of it was: None of them were in total agreement on any subject.
          Moral of the story: If all the experts are saying only one thing, you’re probably not getting information so much as propaganda.

          1. “Make America Great Again” was simply a divisive mechanism…. a cry that what America is, was somehow not what America used to be during “someone’s” more fonder time, and that in itself offends a large segment of the voters (including me).. and to this day I am still wondering, what part of America’s past is Trump calling for us to return to? Where’s the “again”?

            You said…
            “Moral of the story: If all the experts are saying only one thing, you’re probably not getting information so much as propaganda.”

            And that’s what you got out of your experience with that diversity… that if “experts” all agree that it must be some conspiratorial propaganda? And from there you are assuming Trump’s personal “wisdom” is better than that of experts? Why don’t you just carve his face on Rushmore like he wants. Ugh.

          2. And that’s what you got out of your experience with that diversity… that if “experts” all agree that it must be some conspiratorial propaganda?

            You’re making it very difficult to respond cordially, Doug.
            I don’t think I can do it any more. Have to put some mittens on my hands now.

          3. Kinda what I felt when I read your response before I made mine above.
            But perhaps I can save us all some time. It’s not about Syria but rather it’s all about the threat of his impeachment. Already Trump’s wonderful and genius negotiation with Turkey is proving to be us surrendering yet again to some Third World nation… and everyone walks away from the table with a different idea of what they just agreed on. Right now it’s not about Syria or the Middle East… sadly. You can debate that… with or without your mittens. I’ll hang out and wait for him to continue to self-destruct.

          4. Okay, I’ll dial my snarkometer down to level 2 instead of 7 (this post was so absurd on so many levels, Doug, this is difficult), pretend you were really attempting to have a considered discussion, and answer this post again.:
            Why is it Trump loyalists always try and defend his actions (or inactions) by comparing him to past administrations/presidents?
            Notice you can’t say a simple statement without insulting the people you are (ostensibly) talking to here? You don’t ask a simple question, you first insult them by default. No matter the response, they are “loyalists” (implies unthinking) “trying to defend” (implies guilt). A reasonable question would be more like, “can one compare current presidents with past presidents?” and of course the answer would be…”it depends”. But the more recent the president, the more valid the comparison. It is far more accurate to compare Trump and Obama, Clinton, Bush, for example, than to compare him to George Washington or Lincoln.

            A better question to you would be, if you don’t believe it is valid to compare presidents and/or presidential candidates, what do you believe is a better measure? You’ve rejected results, you’re now rejecting comparisons between presidents…so, on what measure are you making your assessment?

            Of course the loyalists are looking for some accusatory hypocrisy to justify their Dear Leader, but it’s apples and oranges.
            Again you insult the people to whom you are ostensibly making your inquiry. This says much more about you than the people you are criticizing.

            Trump should be measured on the here and now of current events… as should any other president.
            Again, what is the measure? It seems a different measuring stick every day, reverse engineered by whatever he does or does not do.

            This is why as voters we should think twice about a candidates ability to carry out all those campaign promises.(*snip*)When Senior Bush said “no new taxes” I cannot fathom for the life of me that voters knew what the President was promising was actually something he could deliver on. Yet people voted for him because of that promise.
            He also lost the next election due to breaking that promise. To someone with 43 percent of the popular vote. Only a couple of years before his popularity had been off the chart…around 90 approval rating, I don’t think we’ve had a president that popular since. You might say people shouldn’t care about campaign promises, but they do. And I’m really curious what you believe should be the standard for why anyone should vote for a candidate if what they say they will do shouldn’t matter? We don’t have psychic abilities to know the future, we can only go by what they say they want, and what they will try to do.

            I don’t want a president who strives more for a campaign promise than having the flexibility to change things should situations and events change down the line.
            That’s…exactly what is happening right now. See China, Syria, the wall, et al. Trump seems to me to be making an attempt to honor the promises he made which is the reason people elected him.

            Personally I would admire the candidate to present a platform not on promises.. but on the promise to make an effort to achieve a particular outcome.

            The statement above is interesting. Interesting in that it is a word salad meaningless statement of political psychobabble. What particular outcome? People make statements like these when they don’t know what they want, and really just desire to sit and participate from the peanut gallery. It’s a lot like saying, “We should pull out of Syria of course, just not until the time is right”.
            Right time is not defined, it’s just a generality. The perfect political statement that allows the speaker to virtue signal that they care without making the actual adult decision based on real cost to gains.

            Per propaganda: I say again, whenever one gets only one sided opinion of a complicated situation (there are few situations more complicated than Syria), one isn’t receiving information so much as propaganda. This should be obvious. Just a few short months ago the military was very eager to leave Syria. Opinion polls in military publications indicated so. Now…these folks are no where to be found and selective interviews are telling us this same group of people is “ashamed” “horrified” and so forth about us leaving. People who are really in high up positions working this stuff on the ground are not the ones talking. They won’t…because there are always a lot of variables only a few people know (example see what I said about tacit agreements).

            Now, Doug, I am done answering your post.
            And I’m making you a promise. I will generally (time depending) try to answer considered questions, but if and when you make your inquiries in an insulting manner I will not answer them. The above is the last.

          5. You are absolutely correct, Liz! My original question, “Why is it Trump loyalists always try and defend his actions (or inactions) by comparing him to past administrations/presidents?”, was rather oblique and not specific. Here’s what I should have asked…
            “Why is it that Trump loyalists always try and defend his own actions/inactions by comparing them to those of the Clintons and/or Obama, who allegedly got away with it?”. That screw up is one me.. and if an apology is required for my not being more specific I do apologize for the confusion.
            Now… if you are having doubts and feeling the pressure that your buddy Trump is not coming through for you and his supporters given all the impeachment noise.. that’s up to you. Him and his close friends can’t seem to keep their mouths shut and it’s leading to his self-destruction.

            Now.. my remarks about believing campaign promises still stands, and it’s my own personal way I try and keep a balance through all the nonsense of campaigning. Using the example of Daddy Bush.. at the time he promised the “no new taxes” thing in the campaign I had already dismissed that promise as being “How can he possibly know he will never have to raise taxes in a 4 or 8 year term?” My second concern, “Is he not going to raise taxes during an unexpected period in the future when taxes should be raised for national concerns, just to save his political ass for the next election?” Bush (Congress) raised taxes at a point he felt it was required for the nation.. and that was one of the few reasons I voted for him the second time around. Other voters were incensed that he fell through on a tax campaign promise, and it was adios amigo. In a democracy my particular formula for selecting any candidate is not any better than the next guy’s formula (in fact, that I even have a “mental formula process” at all in measuring candidates probably makes me an elitist in the contemporary definition given many just select based only on party affiliation.)

            If I were an auto worker at the Lordstown Ohio GM plant installing mufflers on the Chevy Cruz for $40/hr with benefits galore and job security from the efforts of the UAW… and I was laid off and the union told me it was all because GM preferred the cheaper payroll expense in Mexico.. I would likely hate globalism as well because now it affects my own ability to provide for my family. So.. I will likely support the candidate that hates globalism, fight the unfair trade practices of other nations that, by extension, make me suffer economically. In the meantime… the union tells me that collectively GM workers deserve respect and a paycheck, yada, yada. So.. now I am stuck in a rural farming community either in Lordstown or the surrounding area, that has no business in the area paying anything near the happy $40/hr I was making. Yep.. for sure I would support making American great…. again… for me. A perfect example that all politics are local.
            (You want a perfect example of socialism in America, follow unionism.)
            So.. do I sit around Lordstown, maybe carry a sign for the union once in a while… and piss and moan about my sorry lot in life.. and cheer every time Trump does something un-presidential, uses idiot rhetoric, dismisses the Constitutional norms, and exhibits immoral social behavior.. sending the media into a frenzy? Life is full of choices.
            What’s Lordstown have to do with our discussion? I was simply illustrating my concept of candidate selection does not follow my ability to earn an income; that has been something I have adjusted to through life and events and economic climate has changed because I personally have been able to press onward and not sit around and bemoan “what was”. This is not to critique Americans who choose a more comfortable life of some ageless routine. But see, Liz.. this is not about how individually different we all are.. this is entirely about the guy running/ruining things. You and Tom prefer to debate what Trump calls is “his policies”.. and I see the man himself being a… to borrow a military term… a puke.

          6. Funny Tom, that you applaud Moscow Mitch’s unconstitutional mishandling of the Garland nomination because no one was supposedly trashed (except the Constitution), and yet this President and his apologists’ most consistent mode of operation is, not to respond to the truth of the allegations, but to trash the messenger.

            Look at the Whistle Blower. Everything he/she said has proven true and corroborated by Trumps own officials, but he/she is a “spy” and a “traitor”. The press reports facts, so rather than disputing the voracity of those facts, Trump uses Hitler’s old propaganda lines about “fake news” and calling the press “the enemy of the people” (or did you think Trump invented this tactic?). If virtually all the experts from both parties think Trump’s foreign policy is corrupt and reckless, it’s all a “deep state” conspiracy. Trump verifiably lies by the second but you consider lying and deceit a new normal that you, as self proclaimed evangelicals, now accept.

            Here is an oped by a highly decorated retired admiral who is revered by the US Special Forces he used to command.


            How many seconds do you think it will take for Trump and his supporters to trash McRaven as a craven traitor who is all part of their deep state “enemy of the people” derangement? It’s already happening.

          7. @tsalmon

            The Constitution says the President can appoint judges with the Senate’s consent. The Constitution does not say the Senate has to vote on the President’s nominees.

            Did you read the transcript of Trump’s phone call with the leader of Ukraine? There is nothing impeachable. You are blowing smoke.

            That New York Times editorial is just emotional nonsense. We did not put those troops in Syria to fight the Turks, and you would have been furious if Trump had put our guys in Syria for that purpose.

            You are a lawyer and a military officer. Instead of using what you have learned, you just hate Trump. Pathetic!

          8. How many seconds do you think it will take for Trump and his supporters to trash McRaven as a craven traitor who is all part of their deep state “enemy of the people” derangement? It’s already happening.

            I don’t see any reason to trash McRaven (though I did think very poorly of McCrystal for that Rolling Stones interview, McRaven is retired and free to state his political opinions). I don’t see any reason to agree with him either.

          9. Tom, whether or not I “hate” Trump is irrelevant to the fact that Trump lies, cheats, self deals and is all around the dishonorable disgrace that McRaven describes. However, the fact that you so massively hate Democrats and particularly Hilary and Obama can be the only explanation as to why you will swallow all of Trump’s corruption and incompetence. That hatred seems to be what is pathetic.

          10. @tsalmon

            I debate Liberal Democrats, Progressives, Socialists or whatever it is you guys want to call yourselves because your policies are abhorrent. I debate the policies, not you. Because you don’t debate, just make baseless accusations, I have pointed that out.

            I should not have to point out the fact that you are waging an unethical prosecutorial campaign, not a debate, but I don’t know what else to do.

            You guys have been flinging mud at Trump ever since he won the Republican nomination. Now impeachment seems to be the only thing you have to run on. Sad. Really not good for the country.

  4. Per the topic, yes we need a specific AUMF for Syria, not an open-ended “catch all” for global-wide endless military adventures. Especially if the new goal is defending the Kurds against a NATO ally.
    Which is problematic since as a member of NATO we are bound by treaty to go to war against ourselves if we attack Turkey.
    But that’s just for starters. If we’re not worried about confronting Russia, why worry about confronting ourselves?!?

    1. You don’t go there to “defend the Kurds”.. the mission is “defending life” by encouraging the cessation of hostilities starting with a cease fire. Knowing any military mission we send into the area will have the immediate and backup capability of dominating any battlefield attempt against us.. that could help to minimize our own casualties.. but this cannot happen without a big diplomatic effort at a cease fire.

      1. Ah, Operation Defend Life.
        Let’s write this military authorization to be voted on then, Doug.
        Because the following:
        (a) IN GENERAL.—That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organiza- tions, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

        Obviously isn’t relevant for Operation Defend Life.

        1. Actually I think that’s a good idea… BUT… there has to be a mechanism by which Congress must act on these kinds of missions it as soon as introduced. Debate away.. no problem. But things like this are always time-critical for action and should fall into an expedited priority.
          I think I know what you are getting at here… Obama had the ok because of the War on Terror thing. But when ISIS was caged up (dumb) the mission changed.

          1. But when ISIS was caged up (dumb) the mission changed.

            What do you believe should’ve been done with captured ISIS combatants?

          2. This is part of advanced planning before you begin a mission. I have no idea if Obama administration planned in advance what to do with those captured. History shows extraordinarily poor followup planning on the part of any past administration that does this kind of thing. Just look at Iraq. If we are there in our own “war on terrorism” then either we take charge in either imprisoning them for “crimes against humanity” and pay for that until the end of time, or pass them out to our allies involved in the effort with us, or develop a mechanism for repatriating them once we were assured they would not fight as ISIS, although that’s tricky. Or.. turn them over to the Turks or Assad.. and let them kill them all… quietly. Now they are just escaping and running all over the place.

          3. Terrorism falls into that category of ideology.. and an ideology is hard to eliminate. Wiping everyone who believes in it into the grave doesn’t really solve the problem. Certainly taking the guns away from 10,000 ISIS people and simply transferring them from a battlefield to some sort of confinement does’t seem to solve a lot either. Just a shift of the problem. On the battlefield they are a threat to life and limb. In a prison camp they are now a humanitarian problem for the “victors”. Especially when these fighters have a bunch of family members trailing behind.

    2. @Liz

      Bringing Turkey back into the fold is more important than helping the Syrian Kurds. In fact, the Syrian Kurds will be among the first to suffer if Turkey joins the other side.

  5. Maybe not possible.. but we will never know now because Trump took away our edge to stay relevant in the region.

    Why, oh why, is it assumed we must have military forces in an area to “stay relevant”?
    I guess until the dominoes started falling everywhere throughout the Middle East we had no relevance out there. How on earth did we go on? Did anyone even know who were are?
    Hurray for diplomatic relevance! Comes with millions of refugees, it would seem.

    1. Don’t be such a cynic. Of course every use of the military outside of the U.S., in peace-keeping or otherwise, poses a risk to personnel. In this case our presence there became a kind of moral barrier in keeping Turkey, Assad’s boys, and the Russians in check. Once ISIS was all behind some damn fence our mission could have transitioned. For that period of time our people were there all parties felt compelled, if only for the moment, to stand still. We missed an opportunity to TRY and do something diplomatically. Relevance need not be a precursor or spawn conflict.. especially if we are trying to present a moral relevance. But because of shortsighted “gut feel” that boat has left port and people are dying. Now he dreaming about sending some troops back into that mess?? Now THAT will definitely put our people at risk.

      1. @Doug

        We did not have enough troops there to hold Turkey in check. Trump pulled our guys out because of that.

        If Turkey kills some of our guys while fighting the Kurds, that creates a huge mess. Not worth the risk. How would we retaliate without making things worse?

        1. Oh hell no, Tom. Turkey was not any sort of an immediate threat to the military mission. Trump may have buffooned that.. but that’s his “gut”.. remember?
          IF Turkey was planning an aggression against our mission let’s hope intel would have picked up that buildup in order for our backup to get into position. No.. Turkey was never going to attack.

          1. And I agree with that as well. But all the way to Assad? Turkey wants to get the Kurds, not get involved in a Syrian civil war. But it does pose a wonder… with a U.S. backing behind the scenes would Turkey go down and oust Assad? I do not credit this administration with one iota of advance creative thought about anything Trump has a “gut feel” to do. But it would prove an interesting scenario… and Russia would have little to do about it.

          2. @Doug

            Trump is president, not God. He has enough trouble leading this country. He is not responsible if Turkey does something stupid.

            Look at how divided this country is. Every nation has similar issues. If the leaders of Turkey do something crazy, like wipe out the Syrian Kurds, they risk further dividing their own nation and empowering their opponents.

  6. I think congress really needs to put their neck on the line and vote for war or else shut up. That’s what the US Constitution says. I don’t think we’ve formally declared war since WW2 and every “war” since than has been a mess, a confusion, a policing action of some sort, like the “war on terror.” You just can’t have an unspecified war on an unspecified target for unspecified reasons. Well you “can,” but you shouldn’t because it leads to a loss of life and chaos. Also, congresscritters are free to just play politics and avoid responsibility.

  7. The original intent to go to Syria aside for the moment… there was a tentative loose peace with us being there. The greater issue to me is that our leaving there was an opportunity lost. First off.. we were not “at war” but rather “using” Kurdish fighters to eliminate ISIS. That was more or less accomplished although it seems all we did was lock up all of them.. and now they are breaking out and making for the hills. Duh. For that reason alone we should not have left until their dispositions could be determined so that their effectiveness would not be a future threat. But.. that leads us all to the idea of maintaining a diplomatic leverage if we stayed there. It keeps us with some skin in the game to offset Russian intervention.. and maybe work toward some peaceful arrangement with Assad to end all the suffering in the area by stopping hostilities. Maybe not possible.. but we will never know now because Trump took away our edge to stay relevant in the region. What’s worse… Trump did all this on some gut reaction? Lord, help us all. The clown takes advice from no one.

    1. @Doug

      Trump needs Turkey to counter the threat posed by Russia and Iran, and Turkey needs the USA to avoid being dominated by Russia. That’s our leverage, not a few troops on the ground.

      Turkey has what it sees as a Kurdish problem. 20 percent of its population is Kurdish. Turkey starts killing a bunch of Syrian Kurds that will just make its Kurdish problem worse. It will also make it difficult for us to help them with the Russians and the Iranians.

      1. Ohh.. no, no no… at the moment Russia could care less about Turkey. I am sure Putin sees that place as in some transition that could mean a split from the West and NATO. We have a huge base at Incirlik which likely houses the nukes we have staged in Turkey as part of the NATO effort. If anything.. Putin leaves Turkey alone it will fall in his lap.
        A military presence sent there will be symbolic to “save lives” not saving Kurds.

          1. I’m saying that at this juncture Russia very likely has no overt military designs on getting Turkey. They are trying to get to them by selling military items. They are buddying up.

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