Archive to PDF: This thread can be removed from Twitter at anytime.
Archive this thread to PDF, save and print. It is a premium feature and costs $5 per month.
Regarding Syria and Turkey, there is some disinformation out there (including from the POTUS himself), so here is some background on what is admittedly a complex matter with no easy or magic formulas:
The SDF suffered thousands of casualties in the Raqqa battle. Not a single American life was lost. Trump later expanded the operation down the ERV. He touts these operations in political rallies but without apparent thought as to who did the fighting and dying.
First: It was Trump (not Obama) that made the decision to arm the Kurdish component (YPG) of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to take Raqqa, then ISIS’s capital city. He made this decision after his national security team developed options for his review.
Turkish entry by force into NE Syria risks fracturing the SDF, pulling its fighters out of former ISIS strongholds, abandoning ISIS prison facilities, and making it impossible for U.S. forces to stay on the ground in small numbers with an acceptable level of risk.
Second: the United States did not partner with SDF over realistic alternatives. Both Obama and Trump developed and considered options to work with the Turkey-backed opposition, which is unfortunately riddled with extremists, many tied to al Qaeda.
Nonetheless, our best military planners spent months with counterparts in Turkey across both administrations. The only available Turkey-approved option in NE Syria would have required tens of thousands of American troops. Two U.S. presidents rejected that option.
Third: the United States is not “holding” ISIS detainees in Syria. They are all being held by the SDF, and barely so given meager resources. State and DOD Inspectors General have covered this in depth. Summary here 👉
The weapons provided were meager and just enough for the battle against ISIS. (The SDF cleared IEDs by purchasing flocks of sheep.) They were not “paid massive amounts of money and equipment” (as Trump said today). Nearly all stabilization funding came from the @coalition.
The consequences of such unreliability from the Oval will reverberate well beyond Syria. The value of an American handshake is depreciating. Trump today said we could “crush ISIS again" if it regenerated. With who? What allies would sign up? Who would fight on his assurances?
Indeed, the administration expanded the mission and policy aims in Syria while Trump cut U.S. resources by more than 50 percent, leaving our people on the ground scrambling with no backup from the president himself. Misaligned ends/means = policy incoherence & risk.
Trump then (twice) abruptly reversed course after 1) a foreign leader call and 2) without consulting his own military advisors. If anyone still believes Trump cares about Syria, they’re mistaken. He doesn’t and his erratic swings heighten risk to our personnel on the ground.
Fourth: It was the Trump administration that dramatically expanded the Syria mission in 2018 beyond ISIS to include staying on the ground until Iran left Syria and the civil war was resolved (meaning many years). Another example of maximalist objectives for a minimalist POTUS.
Finally: the U.S. leads a @coalition that includes over 80 countries and nearly two dozen contributors to the military and/or stabilization mission in Syria. Leading a coalition requires consultation with coalition partners before major decisions are taken. This is elementary.
Bottom line: These are matters of war and peace, life and death. Our military personnel, friends and allies, deserve deliberation and thought before decisions are made (the essence of “command”). Erratic swings favor far more patient adversaries in Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran.
I discussed much of this in @foreignaffairs a few month ago and stand by the analysis. You can read it here👇
There are multiple ways to embed @brett_mcgurk's unrolled
1. Direct link
2. Use iframe
Sharing is caring 😍
Like this thread of @brett_mcgurk?
it with your friends & followers.
Love Thread Readers? Upgrade to premium to unlock all features
A whole new way to explore your interests. Convert your Thread to PDF,
save and print. Subscribe to interesting authors and be notified when new unroll is
available. Auto publish your threads on Medium and WordPress websites.