On the first of April last year I published an article titled “Ignore The Words Of US Presidents. Watch Their Actions Instead.“, about Trump’s claim that his administration would be pulling troops out of Syria “very soon”. Watching the actions and ignoring the words is a personal policy I’ve found very useful in dealing with top government figures who understand that power has nothing to do with truth and everything to do with narrative control, and in that particular case the president’s claims were quickly memory holed after a highly suspicious chemical weapons allegation in Douma a few days later. The president’s words said the troops were leaving, and what actually happened was the US bombing the Syrian government for a second time in a year while troops remained where they were.
Everyone completely lost their shit last month when the president once again made the claim that US troops will be brought home from Syria. Establishment loyalists of the political/media class went into full meltdown, Mattis handed in his resignation, and #Resistance Twitter pundits who’d never typed the word “Kurd” in their lives suddenly became self-appointed experts on the geopolitical dynamics between the Turkish government and the YPG. Support for the president’s words also rushed in from anti-interventionists and anti-imperialists everywhere, as well as from a few surprising places like Democratic Representative Ted Liu and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.
So there was a very strong reaction to Trump’s words about Syria. But what have his actions been? If we look at this administration’s actual behavior with the narrative soundtrack on mute, what we see is a significant increasing of the number of troops in Syria, bombing the Syrian government twice, committing war crimes in Raqqa, providing full-throated support for hundreds of Israeli air strikesagainst Iranian targets in Syria, and a steadily increasing number of indications that the troops won’t be coming home at all.
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