Victor Davis Hanson has been a strong defender of President Trump across-the-board. However, he views Trump’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria as misguided. He writes:
The abrupt pulling of U.S. troops out of Syria is likely a mistake — given that for the size (about 2,000 troops on the ground) and cost of the deployment (few casualties), we were keeping ISIS moribund, somewhat checking Iran as well as Russia, and protecting the Kurds and what was left of the democratic Syria resistance.
True, Syria was a mess, unlike a relatively stable Iraq in late 2011 (see the comments of Vice President Biden and President Obama), when the U.S. likewise abruptly left and opened the door for ISIS. Yet Syria’s future now is either going to be much more of a mess or soon a calmer colony of Russia and Iran.
In either of these scenarios, there’s the strong possibility, if not likelihood, of a bloodbath of forces that relied on U.S. protection and, in some cases, risked their lives fighting alongside Americans.
That won’t make America great again. Great nations don’t let this happen when it can be avoided with about 2,000 troops on the ground and few casualties, as Hanson says.
All of this was too much for Gen. James Mattis. Hanson sees Mattis’ departure as a loss. This seems clear. I hope it doesn’t prove to be worse than that.