“The roughly 1,000 American troops stationed in Syria find themselves in an impossible situation, by order of their commander in chief. They are now caught between the Syrian forces of President Bashar al-Assad, an unrepentant war criminal who has used poison gas against his own people, and the Turkish military — a NATO ally — which has already rained down artillery shells near positions held by American soldiers.
When Donald Trump won the presidency on a promise to end “endless wars,” it was always unspoken that doing so would mean to some extent abandoning allies, like the Kurdish forces that helped devastate the Islamic State, or the Afghan government in Kabul. But surely putting America first never meant leaving American soldiers behind. The Times reported Monday that removing the American troops from Syria may require an airlift, a move that may also be needed to relocate the estimated 50 American tactical nuclear weapons housed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.
Dozens of civilians and combatants were killed in fighting, according to the BBC, when Turkey struck south into Kurdish-held areas of Syria over the weekend, an operation that was greenlit by the White House. Islamic State fighters and their family members, who had been held in a detention camp by Kurdish forces, have scattered to the winds, The Times reports. The Kurds, under fire from Turkish forces, quickly allied with the Syrian government, which sent its own Russian-backed army north.
One thousand decisions led the United States to find itself refereeing the border between Syria and Turkey, but only one decision — made abruptly just over a week ago by President Trump after a phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey — led to the chaos and bloodletting that has gushed across the region in the past few days.”
Good reading. I agree with Ross Douthat, that Joe Biden was the real winner of the first debate. Here is a comment, after the second debate, that I endorsed:
I pretty much agree with most of the columnist of what they thought about the debate last night. However, what really matters is “What did the voting public think?” That’s all that really matters. My 2 cents is I thought the moderators really won last night! Their questions were really thought out and they kept the ball rolling. I’m not sure if anyone’s mind is made up just by debates. Where we tend to get deeper into their “souls” is one on one. After last night, I’m still kind of holding onto Joe to beat Trump. Having said that, I’ve now narrowed the field down to just Three! Biden, Warren & Booker. What I do see are some very good cabinet posts, excluding De Blasio.
About the authors
“Charles Blow, Jamelle Bouie, Gail Collins, Ross Douthat, Maureen Dowd, Michelle Goldberg, Nicholas Kristof, David Leonhardt, and Bret Stephens are Times columnists.
Liz Mair, a strategist for campaigns by Scott Walker, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry, is the founder and president of Mair Strategies.
Gracy Olmstead is a writer who contributes to The American Conservative, The Week, The Washington Post and other publications.
Sarah Vowell, a contributing opinion writer, is the author of “The Wordy Shipmates” and “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.”
Peter Wehner a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, served in the previous three Republican administrations and is a contributing opinion writer, as well as the author of “The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.”
Will Wilkinson is a contributing opinion writer and the vice president for research at the Niskanen Center.”
By The Editorial Board
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.
Feb. 3, 2019, 632
On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress wrote what would prove to be one of the largest blank checks in the country’s history. The Authorization for Use of Military Force against terrorists gave President George W. Bush authority to attack the Taliban, the Sunni fundamentalist force then dominating Afghanistan that refused to turn over the mastermind of the attacks perpetrated three days earlier, Osama bin Laden.
In the House of Representatives and the Senate combined, there was only one vote in opposition: Barbara Lee, a Democratic representative from California, who warned of another Vietnam. “We must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target,” she said. “We cannot repeat past mistakes.”
Days later, Mr. Bush told a joint session of Congress just how broadly he planned to use his new war powers. “Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there,” Mr. Bush declared. “It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
More than 17 years later, the United States military is engaged in counterterrorism missions in 80 nations on six continents. The price tag, which includes the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and increased spending on veterans’ care, will reach $5.9 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2019, according to the Costs of War project at Brown University. Since nearly all of that money has been borrowed, the total cost with interest will be substantially higher.
The war on terror has been called the “forever war,” the “long war,” a “crusade gone wrong.” It has claimed an estimated half a million lives around the globe.
It is long past time for a reappraisal.”
President Trump began the week, as is his wont, by having a Twitter fit about the continuing Russia investigation.
“As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” Mr. Trump groused. “In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!” “
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