By Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis
On April 14, President Donald Trump gave the word for the U.S. to join with the British and French militaries in launching precision missiles against three suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria. Tactically, the mission was a total success: All three targets were utterly annihilated.
Strategically, however, the mission was almost without meaning and contributed nothing to American security or prosperity. The most effective thing the president could do now would be to immediately withdraw the 2,000 American troops in Syria.
Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, he said he was going to make good on a campaign promise to destroy the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), and substantially increased the number of U.S. combat troops, trainers, and air controllers in Syria.
Those troops were intended to support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in their drive to liberate ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa. With a dramatic increase in the number of airstrikes compared to the Obama era, the U.S.-led airstrikes were decisive in allowing the SDF to fully liberate Raqqa in October.
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