Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & CodePink – 2018-12-23 20:04:55
Elites United in Panic Over
Syria Pullout, Afghanistan Drawdown
Sen. Graham urges Congressional hearings on war changes
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(December 21, 2018) â€“ Open-ended war continuation has so much momentum in the US that President Trump’s announced pullout from Syria shocked the nation. Followed up the same week with a drawdown from Afghanistan, the mainstream is now completely apoplectic.
On the left and right, comfort with the status quo was virtually uniform. The arguments behind condemning the drawdowns vary depending on the side of the aisle the commenter is on, but the message is uniform opposition to ending a war Congress never authorized in the first place.
Conservative hawks are playing the usual fear-mongering about threats that have been ongoing since 2001, with suggestions that either not being in Syria, or being in Afghanistan but at a lower troop number, will lead to “the next 9/11.”
Perma-hawk Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has never seen an escalation he didn’t like, and he is demanding Senate hearings on Trump’s troop level changes. It’s not clear such hearings will happen, however.
In Afghanistan, this is hardly the first drawdown the US has done, and despite Graham opposing them all, they’ve generally just happened. It’s also not clear the Senate has any say in how the Syrian War is being engaged in, or not engaged in, as the Senate has consistently refused to vote on the question of authorizing the US to be in Syria in the first place.
Others were quick to call Trump’s policy in Syria “Obama-like,” even though Obama is the one who sent troops to Syria in the first place, and Trump campaigned in 2016, at least at times, on the idea of eventually withdrawing. Eventually withdrawing works as a campaign slogan, but clearly officials never expected it to happen as a real policy.
Among Democrats, the argument is a bit more confused but no less shrill, as they’ve attacked Trump’s hawkish impulses, but are now accusing him of acting hastily and arbitrarily in ending the war. That Russia has not favored the US presence in Syria is only riling up the argument that Putin is driving US policy as well.
Yet the arguments for staying in Syria, or Afghanistan, aren’t particularly strong, and it is only that both parties’ leadership have so consistently balked at exploring the question that seems to have left many with the impression that the very question was off the table.
The American public, however, seems to broadly support Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, and to bring some troops home from Afghanistan. The White House switchboard is laden with calls of support.
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Why Does Nancy Pelosi Want to Keep Troops in Syria?
(December 22, 2018) — Issues of war and peace should not be a partisan game. When Trump calls for pulling US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan, are Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer simply upset about the process (and we agree, the process was terrible), or really upset because it’s being done by Donald Trump? As much as we might dislike the President (and for many of us, that’s quite a lot), we shouldn’t object to decisions that move us out of conflicts we should have never been involved in.
Nancy Pelosi called the withdrawal from Syria “a decision that is dangerous.” But the status quo was really dangerous, as it threatened to drag us into a confrontation with Russia, Iran or even Turkey. The US withdrawal from Syria eases those tensions. Trump’s order to pull out 7,000 of the 14,000 US troops from Afghanistan is also positive.
Send a message to Democratic leaders Pelosi and Schumer that you support this de-escalation and that instead of criticizing the withdrawal, you want the Democrats to come up with a bold peace plan that emphasizes diplomacy, not endless war.
It’s not just troops. Since the ‘war on terror’ began, the US and its allies have dropped a staggering 291,880 bombs and missiles on other countries. We need Democratic leaders to propose a broad, visionary peace plan that includes troop withdrawal, an end to airstrikes, re-entry into the Iran nuclear deal, and a cut-off of weapons supplies to repressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia.
Like many of Trump’s critics, we, too, are concerned about the Kurds in Syria, who are at high risk of an attack by Turkey. The US should be actively involved, including through the United Nations, in thwarting an attack and promoting negotiations. And the US must take responsibility for rebuilding and assistance to both the Syrian and Afghan people, including the refugees.
We need Congress to fight against Trump’s $5 billion demand to fund his wall. We need them to fight his cozy relationship, and millions in weapons sales, to Saudi Arabia. We need them to fight his Muslim ban, cuts to food stamps, attacks on health care, and so much more. But when Trump makes a huge step in the right direction (even if it might be for the wrong reasons), we should support him.
Democratic leaders should not resort to fear-mongering and should instead put forth a thoughtful and comprehensive peace plan of their own. While you wouldn’t know it from listening to the media, polls show that the public is fed up with US overseas wars. Bring the troops home. Stop the bombing. Enough!
ACTION: Tell Democrat leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, that resistance to Trump should not equate to promoting war. Tell them to support Trump’s call to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, and to propose an even broader plan to demilitarize our foreign policy. Click Here
Medea and the entire CODEPINK team: Ann, Ariel, Carley, Caroline, Jodie, Katie, Kelly, Kirsten, Lily, Mark, Maya, Nancy, Paki, Ryan, Tighe and Ursula
View the CODEPINK Middle East Webinar
(December 23, 2018) — Check out the webinar we did today with me and Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis. Phyllis and I discussed Syria, Afghanistan, General Mattis’s resignation, and more. Watch here.