Trump said he moved troops out of Syria to bring them home. Defense Secretary admits that was a lie.
In the midst of Donald Trump’s disastrous decision to move troops out of northern Syria, he was looking for a way to spin the story. After all, Turkey was beginning the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds, ISIS prisoners were running free and the U.S. was blowing up its own facilities to ensure they didn’t fall into the wrong hands.
To try and change the narrative, Trump settled on the “safety of our troops” and “bring them home.”
Except, that was a bald-faced lie. In fact, as Defense Secretary Mark Esper acknowledged Sunday, those troops are bound for Iraq.
While President Donald Trump insists he’s bringing home Americans from “endless wars” in the Mideast, his Pentagon chief says all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the American military will continue operations against the Islamic State group.
They aren’t coming home and the United States isn’t leaving the turbulent Middle East, according to current plans outlined by U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper before he arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday. The fight in Syria against IS, once spearheaded by American allied Syrian Kurds who have been cast aside by Trump, will be undertaken by U.S. forces, possibly from neighboring Iraq.
Esper did not rule out the idea that U.S. forces would conduct counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria. But he told reporters traveling with him that those details will be worked out over time.
And Iraq is a far more dangerous place than where they were stationed in Syria.
Trump’s former lead on ISIS, Brett McGurk, has been loudly critical of Trump and his decision-making over the past few weeks. Responding to a single Trump tweet, McGurk noted how many inconsistent, wrong and dangerous policies Trump is touting.
Trump doesn’t seem to even know his own Defense Secretary’s name, calling him “Mark Esperanto,” adding four letters to the end his surname.
Trump moved troops out of northern Syria because an authoritarian asked him to. That same authoritarian is now openly mocking and threatening Trump. Trump’s foreign policy decisions, like this one, are haphazard at best. His subsequent excuses for those dangerous decisions defy belief and are usually quickly exposed as the lies they are.
1,004 days in, 458 to go