Words and things, mostly words.
In an announcement that caught everyone off-guard, the Trump administration announced that the United States would be pulling its troops from the Syrian region. This was apparently done with no real consultation with the US’s allies or even Trump’s advisers — this is just something he decided to do.
Derek Davison did a very good job summing up why this is the right outcome, even if it is being executed in completely haphazard fashion. Derek’s work on the And That’s The Way It Was blog is always excellent, and his posting on this situation is no different in that regard.
The decision to pull troops from the region also prompted the resignation of General Jim Mattis. The General’s resignation letter was stunning in it’s language, serving as about as blistering of a parting shot as one can get away with in their resignation from the position of Defense Secretary.
I’ve no fondness for Mattis — who is quitting because the President wants to call off a small part of the Forever War rather than any pangs of guilt or concern about the devastation wrought by the US and its allies. Make no mistake: Mattis is a war hawk, and has overseen some truly horrendous military actions in Iraq and other places.
As satisfying as it is to see another official excoriate Trump and publicly reject his ideas, Mattis’ departure leaves Trump — a petulant tyrant — even less constrained. Although, to be fair, it’s obvious that the notion that the “adults in the room” could truly control the President is little more than wishful thinking.