Malacandra.me

Just don’t use the “t” word

Just don't use the "t" word

by digby


Because if you don't say the word nobody will know what you're doing:

President Donald Trump has spoken: He wants U.S. troops and civilians out of Syria by the fall. But don’t call it a “timeline.”

Wary of charges of hypocrisy for publicly telegraphing military strategy after criticizing former President Barack Obama for the same thing, the White House has ordered Trump’s national security team not to speak of a “timeline” for withdrawal. That’s even after Trump made it clear to his top aides this week that he wants the pullout completed within five or six months.

It wasn’t the result top national security aides wanted. Trump’s desire for a rapid withdrawal faced unanimous opposition from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon, the State Department and the intelligence community, all of which argued that keeping the 2,000 U.S. soldiers currently in Syria is key to ensuring the Islamic State does not reconstitute itself.

But as they huddled in the Situation Room, the president was vocal and vehement in insisting that the withdrawal be completed quickly if not immediately, according to five administration officials briefed on Tuesday’s White House meeting of Trump and his top aides. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss internal deliberations and requested anonymity.

If those aides failed in obtaining their desired outcome, it may have been because a strategy that’s worked in the past — giving Trump an offer he can’t refuse — appears to have backfired.

Rather than offer Trump a menu of pullout plans, with varying timelines and options for withdrawing step-by-step, the team sought to frame it as a binary choice: Stay in Syria to ensure the Islamic State can’t regroup, or pull out completely. Documents presented to the president included several pages of possibilities for staying in, but only a brief description of an option for full withdrawal that emphasized significant risks and downsides, including the likelihood that Iran and Russia would take advantage of a U.S. vacuum.

Ultimately, Trump chose that option anyway.


I guess he showed them who's boss. You just don't tell Trumpie that he can't have what he wants when he wants it:


I don't know about the abrupt pull-out but maybe it's as good an option as anything else at this point. I do know that Vlad had to feel good about it. He's demonstrating to all the world that his faith in the Donald is well placed. Russia is now the pre-eminent outside player. Let's hope they don't push the envelope or things could get very much out of hand because Trump is clueless and anything that requires finesse, building alliances or negotiation on the part of the US will not go well. Keep your fingers crossed that we get a miracle here.