Monday, November 09, 2015

226.4 - Boots on the ground in Syria

Boots on the ground in Syria

I said it last week. I said that, quoting myself,
The Obama administration, the Amazing Mr. O, our Nobel-Peace-Prize winning Prez, is considering a direct combat role, boots on the ground, for US forces in Iraq and Syria.
I reported that, quoting again, his
most senior national security advisers have recommended measures that would move US troops closer to the front lines in Iraq and Syria, including positioning some number of Special Operations forces on the ground in Syria.
Well, just two days after I did that show, last Friday, it came true: The US, lead by our peacenik in residence, is going to deploy Special Operations forces into Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria. Supposedly to "coordinate" but perhaps also to protect the Kurds from more attacks by our supposed ally Turkey, which has pledged to take a more active role in battling ISIS but has spent most of that time bombing the Kurds because it's afraid that if the Kurds get a foothold in northern Syria it may lead to increased demands for autonomy or even independence among Kurds in Turkey.

But the point I wanted to focus on here is the obvious one: These special forces are going into Syria. Boots on the ground. In Syria. Where they were never going to be.

This is so blatant a move that even the New York Times was obliged to call it "a huge shift" in policy.

The White House continued with its bold faced lying about what is going on, insisting it's just a small number of troops while at the same time insisting they will be "an important force multiplier" that will have "a real impact" but without having "a combat mission." And if you can follow the logic of that, you can be a White House representative. Actually you don't have to follow it, you just have to be able to say it with a straight face.

Again, even the New York Times was moved to pointedly note that
the definition of combat has changed several times since the United States began airstrikes against the Islamic State in August 2014.
In fact, the paper notes, "Special Operations forces have conducted several secret missions on the ground" including raids into Syria.

That is, Obama and his minions have been lying to us about fighting on the ground, they are lying to us about fighting on the ground, and they will continue to lie to us about fighting on the ground for as long as they can get away with it, which is likely to be until some sufficiently large numbers of Americans are killed that they can't be brushed away as accidents or isolated tragedies or the results of individual acts of heroism.

Even so, the lies are fraying because they are becoming so obvious. Recently, White House press secretary Josh Earnest, saying something only a presidential press secretary could say with any facade of dignity because they actually have none, asserted that sending Special Forces into Syria  does not represent any change in strategy and, swallowing whatever self-respect he had left, said that troops in Syria don't have a combat mission, but they could be in combat situations. Which strikes me like a burglar saying "I don't have a breaking-and-entering mission, but I could find myself in a breaking-and-entering situation."

But in one sense, the strategy does remain the same. Not the military strategy, but the domestic political strategy of heading off any opposition that can't be brushed off as the product of right-wing rejection of anything Obama does, heading off opposition by making the US role in the carnage as invisible, as seemingly sanitary, as, most importantly, painless for us as possible. The pain suffered by others? Well, they, after all, are "others."

There was some bitter humor to be found in all this. A "senior defense official" quoted by CNN said that Obama has approved a current cap of less than 50 troops in Syria - but more could be sent. So there is a cap. Unless there isn't. Which shouldn't be a surprise, considering this president has blown through his own declared limits on US forces in Iraq, the time frame for withdrawal from Afghanistan, and now the promise of no "boots on the ground" in Syria. It seems the only "cap" around here is the one on Donald Trumps' pointed head.

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