Jeremy Scahill's Top 10 Takeaways on Mattis Exit and Possible US Withdrawal From Syria and Afghanistan
November 11, 2019
Journalist Jeremy Scahill—who has built a career reporting on American militarism and imperialism across the globe—turned to Twitter on Friday 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: