Over the two months since President Donald Trump took office, multiple media outlets have theorized the president’s potential for starting a war with another country, or at least escalating involvement somewhere the U.S. military is already present.
There are many reasons he might do this. Plummeting approval ratings, obfuscation of Russian involvement in his election, transference away from his failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and federal court blockages of his second travel ban, shrinking support among some in his base and own party, a craven desire to demonstrate “strength” and “resolve,” insanity, are all excuses behind which Trump might hide, maybe all at once. Considering Trump’s proclivity for fanning the flames of jihadist extremism, he could also ride the wave of a potential terror attack.
We might be able to throw a dart at a map and guess where we might be sending soldiers next. But the Trump administration has already unveiled a plan that had “been in the works for some time” before Trump took office: to put boots on the ground in Syria.
Marines affiliated with the eleventh Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) established an artillery base in Syria weeks ago. About this deployment, an unnamed defense official said:
“[It] Included elements of multiple artillery batteries, as well as support personnel, including infantry Marines.”
The last time a Marine artillery detachment was deployed from MEU for a ground fight against ISIS was last March, which led to the death of Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin, and the wounding of four others.
All this comes, of course, as House committees hold congressional hearings on the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. Could the Trump White House be using the media distraction over Russia to slip through a military measure to further yoke us to Vladimir Putin? After all, Russia has been in Syria since 2011 when it decided to defend Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad against rebel uprisings. US and Russian forces have been operating closely in Syria.
Republicans loyal to Trump have already repeatedly tried to shift the focus away from the developing scandal, while in the past few weeks the number of American troops in Syria has exploded from a few hundred to at least a thousand. According to The Guardian, at least thirty-three people were killed when a US-led coalition airstrike struck a school where civilians were hiding from the violence.
James Carden, the head editor for the American Committee for East-West Accord, said:
“This represents a very serious escalation, and so far the media really isn’t reporting on it. You have a dangerous situation in Syria, where the [US and Russia] are operating in close proximity. Also, you also have a situation in the Baltics and the Ukraine, where the Russians and NATO troops are also nose to nose. This is an exceedingly dangerous moment.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) issued a statement:
“[The] executive branch has waged endless war in the Middle East with no meaningful oversight from Congress. President Trump’s decision to drag us deeper into this quagmire endangers our troops and long-term national security.”
If you wish to explore more on past presidents who have used war as a diversion, you might enjoy this article at Liberal Nation Rising.
Could this be another instance of a commander-in-chief misusing our respected military for political gain? We’ll know very shortly.
Featured image via By Christiaan Triebert – Flickr: Azaz, Syria, CC BY 2.0.