Jeremy Scahill’s Top 10 Takeaways on Mattis Exit and Possible US Withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan
“This is an opportunity for progressive forces to assert an alternative vision for U.S. foreign policy.”
21 Dec 2018 – Journalist Jeremy Scahill—who has built a career reporting on American militarism and imperialism across the globe—turned to Twitter today to weigh in on a few major foreign policy developments over the past 24 hours: the resignation of Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis, and President Donald Trump’s consideration of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
Mattis will leave his post at the Pentagon in February, according to his resignation letter circulated Thursday, which highlighted his policy disagreements with the president. The announcement of his imminent departure sent shockwaves throughout the Washington, D.C. foreign policy establishment and corporate media—whose lamenting that a man nicknamed Mad Dog was the last “adult in the room” also triggered an onslaught of criticism.
Mattis, the New York Times reported, resigned “in protest of President Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria and his rejection of international alliances.” News of the president’s plans for Syria were followed by reports that Trump has ordered officials to craft a plan to bring home about half of the 14,000 troops currently stationed in Afghanistan. While many progressives have celebrated the prospect of winding down the American military presence in both countries, critics have also raised alarm about potential regional consequences of rapid withdrawal and the unhinged behavior of a president acting like an out-of-control “idiot king.”
Scahill summarized his top takeaways on Mattis, Syria, and Afghanistan in a 10-point list posted to Twitter:
This is an opportunity for progressive forces to assert an alternative vision for US foreign policy.
Trump is a crooked charlatan. But these withdrawals would represent a dent in the armor of the bipartisan war machine.
This chaos presents opportunity.
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) December 21, 2018
- For those who somehow think this is Trump opposing the war machine, I point you to his massive escalation of drone strikes, his easing of rules for killing civilians, his use of ground troops in Yemen and Somalia and his use of criminal weaponry like the MOAB in Afghanistan.
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) December 21, 2018
Jeremy Scahill is an investigative reporter, war correspondent and author of the international bestselling books Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield and Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere across the globe. Scahill has served as the National Security Correspondent for The Nation Magazine and Democracy Now!. His work has sparked several Congressional investigations and won some of journalism’s highest honors. He was twice awarded the prestigious George Polk Award, in 1998 for foreign reporting and in 2008 for his book Blackwater. Scahill is a producer and writer of the award-winning film Dirty Wars, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and has been nominated for an Academy Award. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Corbett is a staff writer for Common Dreams.
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