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Trump's Former Anti-ISIS Envoy Says Hasty Syria Withdrawal Is Giving The Terror Group 'New Life'
President Donald Trump's mangled Syria pullout has breathed "new life" into ISIS, the very terror group Trump vowed to destroy before declaring it defeated, the former U.S. official in charge of the ISIS fight said.
Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy in charge of the 79-nation coalition to fight ISIS, wrote a blistering op-ed in the Washington Post exposing the chaos at the Pentagon and among US allies after Trump's snap decision to leave Syria.
McGurk, along with former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, resigned following Trump's move. Since then, Trump has hit back at the former officials, calling McGurk a "grandstander," and later claiming he had fired Mattis, rather than Mattis resigning.
But McGurk says that Trump totally surrendered the U.S.'s role in Syria to Turkey after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and that the decision wounded the U.S.'s credibility and standing with its allies.
Trump's declaration that U.S. had finally defeated ISIS and the only reason for U.S. forces in Syria was to fight the terror group directly contradicted statements from his own State Department, Pentagon, and national security advisor.
According to McGurk, Trump's decision will expose the Syrian Democratic Forces — a group of 60,000 regioinal Kurds, Arabs, and Christians that have won hard-fought battles against ISIS on the ground, sometimes fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with US troops — will now be exposed to Turkey's wrath, as they back opposing forces and veiw the Kurdish elements of the SDF as terrorists.
"My counterparts in coalition capitals were bewildered. Our fighting partners in the SDF, whom I had visited regularly on the ground in Syria, expressed shock and then denial, hoping Trump would change his mind," wrote McGurk.
"The president's decision to leave Syria was made without deliberation, consultation with allies or Congress, assessment of risk, or appreciation of facts," he continued, then concluding that he could not maintain his integrity while carrying out Trump's order, prompting his resignation.In conclusion, McGurk says that Trump has given ISIS and opponents of the US "new life" by pulling out of Syria in a move that will "precipitate chaos and an environment for extremists to thrive."
Trump's Syria pull out also coincided with the death of four U.S. citizens at a restaurant in what was considered a safe part of Syria under US control. The ISIS-claimed attack doubled the U.S. death toll in Syria, which had only claimed two lives since the campaign launched in 2015.
Read more from Business Insider:
- Trump's Pentagon has expanded its secretive war on terror to 80 countries
- U.S. troops were highly visible regulars at the Syrian restaurant where a suicide bomber killed 4 Americans
- Trump's own party slams his Syria 'retreat' after ISIS-claimed attack kills U.S. troops
- Air Force F-22s and B-2 bombers are prowling the Pacific to send a message — and the photos are stunning
- A civilian commentator said women shouldn't serve in all combat jobs, and U.S. veterans immediately called her arguments 'ludicrous'
SEE ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham Suggests Trump's Abrupt Syria Withdrawal 'Set In Motion' Deadly ISIS Attack On U.S. Troops
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.