Let me get right to the point. President Trump is a complete moron if he honestly believes his military advisors are setting him up for success. I want President Trump to succeed, but until he gets better advisors, he will self-destruct. By ordering a surge of US military forces into Syria without any long term strategy or plan, he is effectively forcing America into the middle of an ugly civil war that will cost our nation dearly. Further, by directly entering the Syrian Civil War, President Trump has committed our nation to yet another unnecessary and unconstitutional war without making the case to the American people or obtaining congressional approval. This won’t just be a massive military mistake; it will be a political disaster. President Trump has no idea that as the US gets sucked further and further into this war, the failure of “his” war will arm his political enemies with everything they need to ultimately cripple his administration. By listening to the generals, President Trump has, within a month of taking office, committed the US to an even more disastrous war than his predecessors, which he will lose, and quite possibly destroy his administration. Brilliant!
I have repeatedly warned that the generals are not to be trusted. http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2017/02/24/president-trumps-misplaced-faith-in-the-generals/. The “Swamp” is the military-industrial-complex. The heart of the Swamp is the Pentagon. Perpetual war is what makes the Swamp relevant, powerful, and wealthy. The generals at the Pentagon are in a large part responsible for the disasters we created in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The military has failed to decisively win a single war in my lifetime irrespective of whether a Democrat or Republican was in charge. This same military is completely incapable of now suddenly winning a war in Syria. The only thing the military is capable of doing is expanding war. As such, it should come as no surprise that the “solution” President Trump received from the Pentagon to “solve” the problem in Syria was more war.
Legally speaking, President Trump is already off to a bad start. He has exceeded his constitutional authority by invading a sovereign nation without just cause or affirmation from Congress and the American people. Syria presented no existential threat to the US and we have no intrinsic national interests in Syria. He will learn like so many other leaders that this was a huge folly. What President Trump is going to learn at the cost of American lives and billions of dollars is that wars are easy to get into and very difficult to get out of. I have said all along that these “lesser measures” in Iraq would not achieve the desired results. It was obvious from the beginning that mission creep would soon lead to perpetually committing greater and greater military force until we wake up one day and realize we are again fully engaged in a war. We are approaching this reality.
As bad, President Trump has committed the US unnecessarily into the middle of a civil war where all the actors are bad and we are left having to choose the “least bad” ally. No one involved in the Syrian Civil War is fighting for American interests. In fact, we have no interests there. None of the factions fighting in Syria should ever have gotten a single dime, bullet, or Band-Aid from the US. They, with perhaps the exception of the Kurds, are all hostile to the US and will use whatever support we provide them against us. We literally have no strategic goal or clear endstate in Syria. Like in Iraq and Afghanistan, no one has articulated what the US military is doing there. Without a clear mission, the best possible outcome is another floundering strategic defeat. The worst case scenario is an incredibly costly war that bankrupts and destroys the US. The latter is looking increasingly likely.
Getting to Raqqah and blasting ISIS out of the city won’t be easy, but it is something the US military can accomplish. However, the real problems come after ISIS is pushed out. This is where the wheels will fall off the bus and the US will finds itself surrounded by enemies. Just who exactly is going to “control” Raqqah after ISIS? This brings us to the crux of the problem. Betting on the rebel factions to make peace is an incredibly bad bet. Make no mistake; President Assad of Syria isn’t going to accept a balkanized country with “rebels” left controlling certain areas. Russian and Iranian forces are in Syria to help Assad make sure the country is completely pacified of resistance and order is restored. This means that once ISIS is gone, the real war begins between the heavy weights.
Till now, the Syrian Civil War has been fought by proxies controlled, organized, and funded primarily by the Gulf Arab states and the US. ISIS has been the leading faction, but the rest are nearly as radical. The preponderance of the remaining “rebel” groups in Syria are radical Islamic factions that have pledged allegiance to al Qaeda and are a sworn enemy of the US. Syrian forces backed by Iran and Russia must continue their war against the rebels because the rebels will continue their war against the Syrian regime until one side decisively wins. There will be no quarter given. If President Trump thinks for a second he can set up “safe zones” and stand in the crossfire between these various factions and not have our military torn to pieces, he is truly an idiot. Further, our single ally the Kurds are the primary enemy of our NATO ally Turkey. We are actually fighting alongside the Kurds, but the Turkish military is far more powerful military than the Kurdish Peshmerga and want to destroy it. So does the US destroy its NATO ally or double-cross its Kurdish partners and leave them for dead? There isn’t a good answer and we will probably pick the worst one if history is any indicator.
As this gets worse and more US troops are committed, we will witness another predictable event. The factions in Iraq and Syria will all turn on the “occupier.” In particular, the moment the US begins to directly engage Syrian forces trying to clear out rebel positions, the 120,000 Iranian backed Shia militiamen in Iraq will attack our forces and our diplomatic enclave in Baghdad. We will literally find ourselves in an untenable position and could quite likely nearly be overrun without committing a huge number of troops back to Iraq.
Mark my words, President Trump was allowed to jump headfirst into Syria by his political enemies. Sure, the Democrats are making just as much money off of this war, but they now having their cake and can eat it because they know it will go poorly. When the war does get ugly, they will be ready to pounce. In fact, even if the operation somehow went well, it would still be spun as an illegal war of aggression. Watch and see. The media will suddenly see the opportunity and begin non-stop negative coverage of our involvement in Syria not seen since George W. Bush was dealing with the daily casualty reports on every media outlet. President Trump, in his first major decision as a military commander, has effectively shouldered our military into the center of a circular firing squad. Politically speaking, he will soon be in the center of that firing squad. No matter what he does it will be spun negatively. If he supports the rebels, he will be seen as backing terrorists. If he allows Assad to reestablish control, they will say he backs murderous dictators and is helping Russia. If he backs the Turks, he has sold out our ally the Kurds. If he supports the Kurds, he is turning his back on our NATO ally Turkey. If we militarily crush the Islamic extremists, we will be war criminals killing “innocent civilians.” If we hold back and take unnecessary casualties, we will be “losing the war.” You get my point. He has given his opposition a massive gift that they no doubt will exploit at his expense. If I was to make a political recommendation to President Trump, I would reiterate that he needs to focus domestically, stay the hell out of Syria, and fire the generals.
By Guiles Hendrik
March 8, 2017