What are American Marines doing in Syria?

Ronald Reagan got sucked in to sending our Marines to the Middle East in 1982.  It was the worst mistake he made as President, costing 241 American lives.  For nothing.  This was after Israel had invaded Lebanon, and we weren’t in Beirut to fight.  We were peacekeepers, our presence was a deterrent, and we were trying to prevent further bloodshed. It was all moonshine, and right after these young men were killed for his stupidity, Reagan got us out of that hell hole.

The United States Marine Corps is an expeditionary military force.  It’s mission is to take ground, not occupy it.  It’s not designed for nation building.  That’s why Marines don’t have “forts”, like the Army does.  They have “camps”.  If they’re in Syria to destroy ISIS, and leave, fine.  But that’s not what we’re learning.

Matthew Continetti in the Washington Free Beacon spells it out.  In the northeastern Syrian city of Manjib our military isn’t fighting.  It is, in Continetti’s phrase, trying to “… dissuade rival factions from massacring one another.”    Just like Beirut, 35 years ago.  What the …..?

I got out of the business of beating on Trump after the election.  I want him to succeed.  As far as his domestic policy goes, I don’t have much to criticize.  But if he lets the military hawks around him suck him into long term involvement in the Middle East, he’s making the same mistake Reagan did in Beirut, and it will cost American lives.  If we take casualties in eradicating ISIS, it’s the cost of war.  But if our soldiers are killed trying to keep the peace, Trump will, and should, pay a high price.  He’s got a lot of balls in the air, but this one could explode on him.

Because this country, and all it stands for, is an existential threat to Islam, we are the prime target for jihadis.  We don’t take the loss of American life well, as these fanatics  are well aware.  It took one barracks bombing in 1983 to get us out of Lebanon.  If we’re on offense, taking the fight to ISIS, it’s combat, with all its danger, and the American people can accept that.  But if we’re hanging around trying to win hearts and minds, it’s a recipe for disaster.  One of the main reasons Trump won the GOP nomination was his complete rejection of Bushism, and the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq.  He was not elected to solve the problems of the Middle East.

It’s one thing to have this sort of muddled thinking in Syria.  It’s quite another with respect to Russia.  Trump needs to stick to his guns, and with his gut instinct.  The war hawks dumped Flynn, and are now at the highest levels of his administration.  These people are Cold War veterans, accustomed to thinking of Russia as the Soviet Union.  But it’s Russia now, a fellow Christian nation, and it’s not bent on conquest, but security.  Our differences with the Russians can be resolved diplomatically, and here is where Trump needs to stand his ground.

It seems to me that the Russia Scare hasn’t worked, and the attack on Sen. Sessions’ contacts with the Russian ambassador was the last, weak, straw.  I’ve read that a meeting with Putin is in the works.  Slovenia, a perfectly lovely country, and the birthplace of Melania, may be the site.

The next meeting should be on American soil, in the former Russian America, Alaska.  Despite being abused by the Russians, the Aleuts of Alaska have retained their Russian Orthodox faith, and would love to worship with President Putin at their beautiful Holy Resurrection Cathedral.

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