Home | About | Donate

Jeremy Scahill's Top 10 Takeaways on Mattis Exit and Possible US Withdrawal From Syria and Afghanistan


Jeremy Scahill's Top 10 Takeaways on Mattis Exit and Possible US Withdrawal From Syria and Afghanistan

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

Journalist Jeremy Scahill—who has built a career reporting on American militarism and imperialism across the globe—turned to Twitter on Friday to weigh in on a few major foreign policy developments over the past 24 hours: the resignation of Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis, and President Donald Trump's consideration of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan.


The Donald is a revenge guy. His pulling troops out of Syria and out of Afghanistan seems to be seriously connected with Congress telling him that U.S. troops can’t be involved in the genocide in Yemen. Oh, and Homeland Security has to work without being paid starting tomorrow morning because Mr. Trump really wants his wall.

We could, at this point, ask whether we’re fighting any of these wars for actual things. For example, when the US military kills Isis members, why do more of them come out of the woodwork? Didn’t that movement start with only 20 suicidal members in 9/11/01? These members were mostly from Saudi Arabia and related countries, so we never actually went after the source.

Why do we keep making Afghanistan’s heroin cheaper and more plentiful? Is that a non-Congress way of subsidizing the war effort? What is the price of opiate addictions back home?

Are we actually building any democracy when we build up heroin kingpins into “leaders” in Afghanistan? We did exactly the same thing in Vietnam, and all of a sudden the South Vietnamese army simply ran away and collapsed. Come to think of it, the Iraqi army simply ran and collapsed too at one point, giving Isis some nice free tanks.

Syria is crazy because it has far more than two sides. It’s also in the middle of genocidal behavior. Genocidal behavior apparently is a risk that foreign powers run. Lots and lots of wars start out with moral limiting principles and end up on skid row, sort of like heroin users in their own way. They have a big race to the bottom.

Which brings us full circle back to the Donald and the Republicans, fighting each other with all of their might and the Devil with the operations of the US government.


The US could ask Iran to protect Kurds in Iraq. The border is already open both ways for local trade and travel. Autonomous Kurdistan better connects Iran to Syria by land. That is to Turkey’s advantage. Twenty or twenty-five years of peace, with Turkey and Kurdistan. What did these areas do in times of peace between themselves? Has it been eternal war since Genghis Kahn? If so; change the game fast. And US outa there now. There’s lots to do other than war.


As a supporter of the deeply democratic, Kurdish libertarian socialist experiment in NE Syria and N Iraq, I am very concerned that this withdraw was part of a deal between Trump and with Erdogan and Assad to massacre the Kurds - basically a repeat of the Armenian genocide.

BUT, the solution is not to leave US forces there - they should have never been there to begin with! The obvious solution would be volunteer forces of a more democratic sort - like Abraham Lincoln brigades who went to Spain to support the socialist Republicans of Spain against both the fascists and the Stalinists. But I am dreaming that such a thing could be done now. Even in Spain, the fascists ultimately overwhelmed them…


Response to Jeremy by Emptywheel, aka, Marcy Wheeler


She then has brief sections to answer a series of questions

At a minimum, those who want peace need to answer some of the following questions immediately:




you get the idea and suggest you read the article, but one more heading



twitter from yesterday

Cenk Uygur ‏Verified account @ cenkuygur Dec 20

Serious question - is there a single person on television who is supporting the withdrawal from Syria? It’s amazing how much the military industrial complex has a lock down on TV. Huge percentage of country wants to withdraw, both left & right. Anyone represent them on TV?


Saddam got his neck stretched basically for gassing Kurds. What will be Trump’s punishment for facilitating the same?


You know who doesn’t seem to have an issue with the ME? China. Why can’t we be more like China in this regard? We’re the military policemen of brown countries. Our military cops treat the brown countries no differently than our civilian cops treat our brown citizens.

Who knew?


My initial reaction to Scahill’s remarks is " bombs away and boom boom, out go the lights " as the MOABs fall, in Afghanistan only. Syria will be one big mess and the Kurdish people will suffer for it.
Is Trump looney enough to use nukes? Only if he doesn’t get his wall and his way. He’s an absolutely crazy despot, after all.
Are Congress folks ready to kiss the ring? Ugh, that thought makes my stomach turn.
Happy Holidays my arse!


HI Ron_Genise: That makes sense, as I think I have read that while America was killing the people of Afghanistan, China was working on jobs and working a copper mine there.


Trump has proven many times over that he is an ignorant fool. But from his actions we also know that he is a warmonger and a criminal. Mattis is just another cog in Trump’s broken wheel. Whether he goes or stays, Trump will still be Trump!


I consider removing American soldiers from Syria and many of them from Afghanistan a good step, even if Trump ordered it. And I’m appalled at how CNN, CBS etc cover the pull-out without any voices speaking against militarism. and interventionism.
But Scahill makes some good points, including worrying about the Kurds who could be slaughtered by Turkish forces unless somehow the world uses leverage to keep them from doing that. It would be nice if Turkey, Russia, Iran, Lebanon, Israel and the EU countries also butted out of Syria too, (and we bring home the rest of our troops in Afghanistan)


Yep. Jeremy telling it like it is: Trump is not to be trusted.
In fact, it’s safe to say that Trump’s every utterance can be considered the opposite of the truth until proven otherwise–just like all of those in the war-party duopoly.


There are 21 trillion reasons why Mad Dog Mattis has resigned. He flatly refused to acknowledge that the Department he holds principle responsibility for has stolen $21 Trillion and refuses to account for it.
Trump needs no reason to sack a waster like this guy. Mattis has led the pilfering of all this treasure that would have made the USA GREAT AGAIN. Kick him out! Good move Donald.


Some talking heads on the tube were trying to make a case for “staying the course” in Syria. They stated that if we leave the middle-east we would be setting ourselves up for another 9-11. Don’t these fraidy cat war mongers consider that murdering a million civilians over the last 17 years, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, might generate enough hate to create way more potential terrorists (revenge seekers) than if we leave??


Perhaps we can arrange for Trump and Melania to travel to Dallas for a rally that they ride to in a big convertible…by the grassy knoll.


I got it by the time the word Dallas came up. Thanks for making sure I got your drift.
Something has to happen. The trouble is that we don’t have the caliber of people on the left to do the job. It’s usually the right-wing crazies that do the deed.


With Trump’s pulling troops out of Syria and Afghanistan without consulting military brass, perhaps the Joint Chiefs will arrange something just for him.

Rack up another dollar G.


Nice version of this, never heard it before.


Trump may be pulling troops out of Syria, but there is a caveat no-one is mentioning: the US will still continue the air-bombing campaign “as necessary”. So that means we are not, in fact, withdrawing from Syria or ending our [illegal] involvement there at all.

And Scahill is right in all his remarks. The one that worries me most is the one about Erik Prince. Prince and Trump have been discussing the privatization of the war zones since before the election. Trump has also suggested to the Sauds that the US military would fight for their causes if the Sauds paid for the troops; making the US military a de facto mercenary group.