Originally published in the Chicago Tribune.
Against the advice of his entire national security team, President Donald Trump has ordered the full withdrawal of 2,000 US ground troops from Syria.
The decision, as usual, was announced on Twitter. “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. But that is a judgment few in his administration actually shared. Only days earlier, Trump’s top military adviser, Gen. Joseph Dunford, declared: “We still have a long way to go.” And Brett McGurk, the president’s special envoy to the global coalition against Islamic State, said, “Nobody is declaring a mission accomplished,” and that withdrawing now would be “reckless.”
The president apparently had other ideas. He has long wanted to withdraw American troops from Syria (and, indeed, many other places). In March, he first announced that troops would be coming out “very soon,” and he was only reluctantly persuaded to keep them there for a longer period. Now, the president’s patience appears to have been worn out. The troops are coming home.
What seems to have sealed the deal for Trump was a phone call Friday with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey…
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