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Thread: Trump's Withdrawals

  1. #1
    I want to play a game. Trump's Withdrawals Zargabaath's Avatar
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    Trump's Withdrawals

    So I am wanting to get a feel for what this community thinks of Trump's recent declarations to withdraw troops from Syria and cut the troops in Afghanistan in half. Are you against these moves or would you have preferred better communication and possible implementation of said plan? Are there those who like this sudden move, a ripping the band-aid off of sorts?

    For my perspective, I am in agreement with Trump that we need to pull our troops, all two thousand from Syria. Maybe how Trump announced and the on-going plan was not thought out, then again how intricate of a plan is needed to withdraw two thousand troops? Two thousand troops will not win this civil war for the faction(s) that the U.S supports. After an ill-executed involvement in Iraq, Obama did not want to get the U.S. too heavily invested with thousands of boots on the ground. Another reason could have been that Bashar al-Assad is backed Iran who is backed by Russia which I do not think Iraq was backed by the Kremlin. This is understandable but by being quasi-involved I feel that this civil war has prolonged. It has been 7 1/2 years since this conflict has started with al-Assad has regained control of most of the country and ISIS losing an overwhelmingly majority of their former caliphate. What could our further presence in Syria hope to accomplish? Opponents of this withdrawal have come out said that the U.S must stay till Iran and Russia's influence of Syria which I find is moving the goal-line from our earlier goal of removing al-Assad. It could be argued that by removing al-Assad that it may reduce or cause Iran and Russia's influence of Syria to be dissolved but that was not articulated when the U.S first got involved in this civil war. The removal of al-Assad was the U.S's goal.

    Now some pundits are saying that ISIS is not as defeated as the president proclaims. That while they have lost a lot of their territory they still have thousands more fighters than believed by the White House. Should we stay in Syria as well because of the threat of ISIS? I would disagree. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are still around after seventeen years of fighting. I would say it is impossible to defeat an ideal that is held by a non-state player. A country can be defeated, but an ideal that is not explicitly tied to a nation-state is more adapt at surviving. In regards to ISIS and Al-Qaeda, a friend of mine told me something a commander of his said when he was deployed - "Thinking in terms of basketball, Sept. 11 was a home game for the U.S., we are over to make sure that we don't have another home game and that all home games will be played here (Iraq/Afghanistan)". While I understand, I firmly believe we cannot be over in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East in general to fight terrorism forever. At some point we have done all that we can and must come home. We spent years training Iraq's army and once we leave they capitulate, like the French in early WWII, against ISIS.

    I've heard that we cannot let our Kurdish allies down after fighting so hard and being one of the main anti-Assad and anti-ISIS groups that were actually competent at fighting. Though Turkey says that the YPG Kurds have ties or support the PKK and deemed the YPG as a terrorist organization. I remember reading, months ago, the integrity of some Kurdish groups. From where I cannot recall but before this I remember there being some questionable Kurdish groups that aren't as "good" as have been reported in U.S. media. During ISIS's height, the Kurds were reliable and I would not have a problem of the U.S. supporting a Kurdish state. Interestingly I like how in the old world every ethnicity seems to want their own country (the Balkans being hot bed for this).

    Another reason opponents don't want to leave Syria is because of al-Assad is a dictator who has committed atrocities such as the use of chemical weapons on his own people. I find this point to be ironic as some of these people may have been against going into Iraq back in 2003. While there were no W.M.D.s, I believe it was generally accepted that Saddam would use chemical weapons against his Kurdish population and would commit other human rights violations as well. There is no mention that while there were no W.M.D.s, Saddam needed to be removed because he was doing things similar to al-Assad thus justifying the Iraq Conflict in the minds of the Democrats who are against pulling out of Syria.


    As for Afghanistan, after 17 years it is not time for half of the fourteen thousand to come home but all. As Senator Rand Paul said on Face the Nation, "can these countries not do anything on their own?". I largely agree with his sentiment. With all that we have invested in Afghanistan and Iraq, as I discussed earlier, they have to put on big boy or big girl pants and take care of business. I heard that either 2017 or 2018 was the deadliest year in Afghanistan since 2002 The Taliban are in another resurgence - again - controlling around forty percent of the country. Last year the Afghan government and the U.S. began talks with the Taliban. Our strategies for these conflicts, like in Vietnam were not the best and it seems history has repeated in Afghanistan; Iraq has yet to be determined. Next year will be the first year when children will enter the military that were born after Sept 11 and we are still deploying to Afghanistan.

    We got Usama bin-Laden. We messed up Al-Qaeda's infrastructure and organization in Afghanistan and in the world. We largely defeated the Taliban a couple of times due to the U.S. focusing on Iraq which caused Afghanistan to be forgotten and allowed the Taliban to rise back up. There was a flow overall to this War on Terror. First Afghanistan, then the invasion of Iraq and after the surge in 2006 Iraq stabilized. But the U.S. neglected Afghanistan and we had to focus on that but then ISIS popped up in Iraq and Syria and we lost focus in Afghanistan again causing the current situation there.


    I say we get out of those countries, plus whatever troops we have in Yemen because that has become the "silent war" and invest some of that money saved in our infrastructure, getting the Department of Veterans Affairs in order, and try to rein in the deficit. I think I got everything I wanted to highlight and am interested in hearing what TFF thinks.


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  2. #2
    Mr. Person Taco-Calamitous's Avatar
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    From what I have read about the conflict over the past few years, in general, I agree with your assessment. We should be withdrawing from those countries. In general, I am skeptical of our motives for being there, for similar reasons that people were skeptical of our motives for being in Iraq, years ago, as well as our involvement in the Saudi war on Yemen, and the current state of Libya (a failed state). I am skeptical of the claims that Assad has used chemical weapons on his people, and I have heard that in general, is viewed favorably by a majority of his country's citizens. I don't remember exact details to cite for this, but this has been my general assessment of the situation whenever it comes up.

  3. #3
    Bananarama Trump's Withdrawals Pete's Avatar
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    Going into this issue, we have to remember that hindsight is 20/20.

    I'm torn on the issue. On one hand, the Iraq campaign was a convoluted disaster born out of what the American public were told were good intentions. Did Saddam need to go? Yes. He was a war criminal and a monster who had a long track record of human rights violations, and while none were found, it's been proven that he had used chemical weapons in the past. Did America have to be the ones to spearhead the fight? Well, we always do that, for better or for worse. I'm sure the military never planned on being there for as long as they have been, but I feel like that's typical shortsightedness that we failed to learn from with the Afghani wars in the 70s and 80s. I'm going to sound like an asshole here, but this region is the wild west, and any time one bad guy is removed, there are a bunch more ready to take up the mantle. We can only do so much when our hands our tied with crippling rules of engagement and we're not particularly wanted.

    The war in Afghanistan was a justified war, as we had the intelligence pointing us towards Bin Laden. There's not a doubt in my mind that we had to kill him and anyone else involved in the orchestration of the September 11th attacks. You can argue that we never should have dealt with Bin Laden in the 70s and 80s by providing him and his Taliban fighters with US military training and weapons to fight the Russians, and then leave them high and dry. Maybe we should have eliminated them back then, once they were no longer of use to American interests. Who knows.

    It's just more of the same, where we take out one group, ease off, focus elsewhere and then let the remnants of said group come back. It'll probably happen with ISIS, since we're claiming they've been defeated.

    What are we supposed to do though? We fucked up entire countries, had regimes come in that were worse than the previous dictators and now we're still trying to rebuild and install democratic governments. Part of me very much wants to say fuck it, let them handle it. Part of me also thinks that there should be some kind of responsibility and accountability taken. We broke it, we should try to fix it, but at what cost? How do you go and tell the mother or wife of a soldier killed over there that their husband or son was killed because we wanted to put a McDonalds in Fallujah, or that they died fighting Islamic extremists, but we said fuck it and bailed.

    Maybe we wouldn't have been in this situation had we not decided to get involved in everyone else's business in the first place. Maybe we should just pull out and re-invest all of this money into actually repairing our roads, bringing real manufacturing jobs and industry back and encouraging people to get into STEM fields instead of continuing to drop in lists about education, healthcare and general quality of life.
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  4. #4
    I want to play a game. Trump's Withdrawals Zargabaath's Avatar
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    Taco, do you that the rebels staged a chemical weapon attack to garner support from the international community not aligned with Assad? Or that they never took place?


    Pete, I agree that ousting Saddam was not that wrong of a move. While we know there were no weapons of mass destruction his treatment of marginalized groups in his country, like in Libya and Syria, were justification in going in. Our degree of involvement has been significantly less in Syria and Libya due to Obama not wanting the US getting entangled in another drawn out costly and bloated campaign. I would add from your Afghanistan example of the 70s and 80s to include Vietnam. I think with the anti-war climate being considerably less severe in our current time, though I can not truly judge, has allowed the government to continue these conflicts. With Afghanistan there is clearly just cause with 9/11 - no question.

    I also agree with your view that the Middle East is like the Wild West and with how I have viewed the situations over in the Middle East my perspective may be more barbaric. Viewing how some of these countries have descended into worse turmoil after the removal of their dictator has led me to believe that some of these guys were necessary evils. These dictators may be brutal but they allowed some religious liberty, as the case with Assad and Mubarek. When these guys go as in Libya, Egypt, and perhaps Yemen now, the real crazies come out. Who knows if the ousting of Assad would have prevented ISIS's growth, perhaps they would have gained control of the Syrian government like the Brotherhood of Islam in Egypt. That is why personally I felt we should not have gotten involved in the Syrian Civil War at the onset. Assad may be ruler for life but looking at the other countries that ousted a dictator, they subsequently allowed the real crazy people to take charge creating utter chaos instead of an orderly chaos so to speak.

    I think the region is adverse to democratic governments. After WWII we were able to build successful countries in Germany, Japan, and Italy though the latter is having some financial uncertainty from what I gather in the news. I agree that since we went in we should help them create a democratic government. We helped them create their "constitution", trained their armies, brought woman's rights and fairer treatment, my only contention is when can we let go of their hands. This conflict is almost old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes in most states if it were a person. Which is why I strongly connected with Senator Rand's statement. Eventually they must take the reigns of their own history in their hands. We cannot baby-sit them and be the force that keeps their country from dissolving into madness. If those in the government, army, and the people cannot truly appreciate a democratic way of life and fight for it after this much time has passed then maybe they are not ready. Understandably, their country has experienced unrest for 17 plus years, a little less with Iraq, but if they are not willing to fight to keep their freedom then they just neither of Thomas Paine's options of liberty of death. They choose subjugation of whatever group has the will to rule.

    Interestingly I read an article that Senator Elizabeth Warren has come out in agreement that we should leave Syria and Afghanistan though was critical of Trump's delivery of the message. I wonder how she feels about Iraq.

    And Pete we are trying to put some of those Phantom Muchentuchens in Fallujah. All about appealing to the local demographic.


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  5. #5
    Bananarama Trump's Withdrawals Pete's Avatar
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    I think a lot of the issues are historical, going back to the times of the Roman empire. There have been certain ideologies throughout Europe that essentially allowed for a much easier and civilized rebuild. It's pretty obvious that Nazis were bad, and after WWII that shit wouldn't fly anymore. People who were used to traditional European civilization wanted to be civilized once again.

    With the Middle East, it's largely been war torn with different tribal groups, dictators and the like. Sure there have been moment of relative peace in one region or another, but for the most part it's been a clusterfuck. Trying to force them to change their ways won't necessarily help. In fact it's probably offensive to them, telling them how they should run their societies.

    Also, an interesting tidbit on Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh had actually come to ask America for help in removing the French, who were trying to reclaim their colonies after WWII, as well as the Japanese before the war. We ignored his pleas, provided him with guns and training and left him to his own devices. Sound familiar?
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  6. #6
    Mr. Person Taco-Calamitous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zargabaath View Post
    Taco, do you that the rebels staged a chemical weapon attack to garner support from the international community not aligned with Assad? Or that they never took place?
    I believe that they were either staged, or perpetrated by the rebels, from what I recall hearing about them. I believe the White Helmets were also implicated into things like that.

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