Perpetuating the Syrian Delusion by Larry Johnson

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I wish we could say that the lies and self-deception that are the core of U.S. policy and actions in Syria are an isolated incident. Sadly, no. On almost every issue–from the Russian threat to the 12 doom countdown on climate change–Americans are being fed a steady stream of bullshit and there is virtually no pushback or derision.

I bring this up in light of the media's current coverage of the "defeat" of ISIS in Syria. According to the media and punditry meme, this is the result of vigorous and persistent action by U.S. ground forces in Syria and that 2000 brave men (and very few women) have flushed ISIS into the bowels of history. No one dare mention the fact that the United States is violating international law by carrying out military operations on Syrian territory. Nope. Don't fit the meme.

The Washington Post piece is representative of the nonsense being reported:

Nearly a third of territory reclaimed from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2014 has been won in the past six months, due to new policies adopted by the Trump administration, a senior State Department official said Friday.

Brett McGurk, the State Department’s senior envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, said that steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to commanders in the field, have “dramatically accelerated” gains against the militants.

Trump has worked this miracle with a measly 2000 Special Ops and Special Forces troops. Or so we are told. Now for the facts:

  1. The United States ground forces have not carried out nor spearheaded a single major ground campaign or attack in Iraq. If you recall the assault on Fallujah during the early days of the war in Iraq, the US Marines employed 15,000 marines in that effort. Two thousand troops can defend a fixed position but are virtually useless as a military force going up against an entrenched enemy.
  2. The 2000 U.S. military personnel have been involved for the most part in training and intel collection.
  3. When U.S. assets were employed it involved almost exclusively air attacks from drones, fixed wing and helicopters. Oh yeah–EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE AIR OPERATIONS WERE COORDINATED WITH THE RUSSIAN MILITARY COMMAND FROM THE CAOC (COMBINED AIR OPERATIONS CENTER) IN AL-UDEID AIR FORCE BASE IN QATAR.

But facts matter little when it comes to dishing out propaganda to a largely clueless American public. Conveniently excluded from our mythical account of the defeat of ISIS is the critical role played by Russia and Iran in bolstering Syria's military capabilities and carrying out a decisive ground campaign that is the real cause of the death of ISIS.

Despite our supposedly decisive victory, we are still being told that we must keep ground forces in Syria. Donald Trump's initial instinct in 2015–i.e., we should not be in Syria–has been trumped by die hard neocons like John Bolton with the help self-serving twits in Congress and the media. That list includes the disgraced and deceased Senator John McCain. When McCain was still emitting flatulence and helping speed the doom of the planet from climate change, he was a leading cheerleader for invading a country, Syria, which had not attacked us.

Why care about international law when we, as a nation, seem so content to embrace the illegal and the immoral. A true head scratcher.

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