The White House says that Biden is “absolutely” committed to keeping US troops in Syria:
Kirby added that Biden is “absolutely” committed to keeping American troops in Syria, where they are stationed to fight back any remnants of ISIS forces.
US troops have no business being in Syria, and Congress has never authorized a military mission in Syria for any purpose. The problem with the illegal US military presence in Syria isn’t just that its official justification no longer makes sense, but that they have been sent into Syria and kept there for years solely on the president’s say-so. The original mission was unauthorized by Congress, and everything since then has likewise been unauthorized. The US also has no international mandate for operating on Syrian territory, and it definitely doesn’t have the permission of the Syrian government to be there. When the White House says that Biden is absolutely committed to keeping troops in Syria, they are saying that he is absolutely committed to violating both the Constitution and international law.
Keeping US troops in Syria also makes no sense as a matter of policy. There is no threat in Syria today that the US is plausibly defending itself against, but then there never was. If the US left Syria tomorrow, it would not compromise US or allied security in the slightest. To the extent that the fight against ISIS served any US interests, the main fight was done years ago and there is no need for US forces to hang around indefinitely to prevent some possible future resurgence. US troops and contractors are being put at risk for no good reason, and that ought to be a cause for outrage in Washington. Instead, it mostly goes unnoticed until one of them is killed, and even then there is not much of a reaction.
Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.