Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley confirmed to the House Armed Services Committee this week that U.S. troops will continue occupying Syria for many years, despite the non-interventionist rhetoric of President Donald Trump.
“I think the defeat, if you will, will be hard because it’s an ideology,” Esper said. “It’s hard to foresee anytime soon we would stamp it out.”
“My assessment at this point is if we do not retain capability, an intelligence capability, that allows us to collect and see and then act with a strike capability on ISIS in Syria, then ISIS, the conditions for reemergence of ISIS will happen,” Gen. Milley said. “It’ll take some time. It’ll probably take 6-to-12 months or something like that. But ISIS will reemerge if the United States went to zero [inside Syria]”
However, the Syrian government – with ample assistance from Russia, Iran and other allies – would be hunting and killing ISIS even if the U.S. occupiers were no longer there. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the military-industrial complex once wanted to depose and replace with random jihadis, is imploring the U.S. forces to abdicate his nation.
“The Americans should leave,” Assad said last year. “Somehow, they are going to leave.”
President Donald Trump has frequently said that he wants troops to be removed from Syria. He moved troops out of harms way during a Turkish incursion on the Kurds in October, a move that caused great controversy among the warmonger community.
“I say why are we protecting Syria’s land? Assad’s not a friend of ours. Why are we protecting their land? And is Syria also has a relationship with the Kurds, who, by the way, are no angels, okay? Who is an angel? There are too many around. But Syria has a relationship with the Kurds, so they’ll come in for their border and they’ll fight,” Trump said. “Syria doesn’t want Turkey to take its land. I can understand that. But what does that have to do with the United States of America if they’re fighting over Syria’s land?”
“Russia, Iran, Syria, and to maybe a slightly lesser extent, Turkey, they all hate ISIS as much as we do. And it’s their part of the world. We’re 7,000 miles away. I campaigned on bringing our soldiers back home, and that’s what I’m doing,” Trump added.
While Trump may have declared he was bringing the troops home, that is not actually what is taking place. He is either disingenuous or has no real control over his own foreign policy. Trump has failed at taming the influence of the military-industrial complex thus far.