National Security

Syria—It’s Time to Come Home

President Trump announced that the U.S. is pulling its troops back from the northern border in Syria. The cooperative patrol agreement between the U.S. and Turkey has ended, and Turkey has announced they are preparing for operations in the region. Those operations will affect the Kurdish forces that have been aligned with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

As expected, there is much pro/com discussion regarding President Trump’s decision to pull our troops out. Some news outlets have said that the Pentagon was blindsided by this decision. But is that really true? President Trump has long said that he wanted to bring our troops home. He has repeatedly indicated he would put an end to the never ending wars and conflicts in which the U.S. is involved.

President Trump started down this path of withdrawal back in December of 2018. That was met with much resistance; in the end Trump softened his approach,

This current move does not remove any U.S. troops from Syria. It only moves about 150 soldiers out of the region that might see Turkish operations. We are getting out of the way.

There was immediate push-back on the president’s new decision. That came from the usual group that fought the move back in December as well as some from the Democratic side of the aisle who see it as an opportunity to go after Trump politically.

In my opinion, being a retired Army veteran and a former security contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq, I can see both sides. I understand full well the resistance to leave allies that have worked with us, but I also see that there has to be an end somewhere. What was a 30-day mission has now stretched on for five years.

Take into account that the U.S. forces in Syria are doing little more than holding a static position, there are few sorties flown in the region currently. Couple that with the original mission of fighting ISIS, something that for the most part was successful, and it is not hard to make the case it is time to come home from this one.

Trump campaigned on bringing our troops home. He promised to end the endless wars that serve little U.S. interest.  Do we really want to stay deployed all over the world and supply targets for those that don’t like us very much? In Syria, we are doing little else.

Yes, when we need to fight, need to protect a U.S. interest and have a clear goal, then go in and go in hard. Finish the job and get out. This staying in areas that serve little purpose is not suitable for the nation, not good for the economy, and indeed not good for our service members and their families.

The U.S. has been involved in conflicts continuously for decades…with little to show for it. It is time to change that tactic. That’s what Trump is doing. It will not be received well in all corners; hell, maybe not in many corners at all. But in the end, its time to come home.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Jon Harris

Jon Harris is a former Army NCO, Sergeant Morales Club member, civilian law enforcement officer, and defense contractor with over 30 years in the law enforcement community. He is published in Army Trainer Magazine, authored regular columns in several newspapers, and is the author of the Cold War novel Breakpoint. His adventures as a security contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq can be found on He holds a B.S. in Government and Politics and an M.S. in Criminal Justice and is currently completing his Juris Doctor degree.

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