The U.S. Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, made a secret decision to place the safety and welfare of some foreigners higher than the welfare and safety of the American people. His number-one concern turned out to be the safety and welfare of the few remaining civilians who remained in Raqqa, and the safety and welfare of the U.S.-sponsored anti-Assad, Arab and Kurdish, mercenaries who have been America’s proxy-soldiers, or “boots on the ground,” fighting against ISIS at Raqqa in Syria (where America has no lawful presence but is instead only an uninvited invader, a violator of sovereign Syrian territory and even having the audacity to be trying to overthrow Syria’s sovereign Government). As a consequence of Mattis’s placing their welfare above that of the American people (and above that of all nations which suffer from jihadist terrorists such as ISIS), thousands of ISIS terrorists were allowed by Mattis to escape from Raqqa and are now being smuggled out of Syria to perpetrate their terrorism here in the U.S., and elsewhere. All of this happened because Mattis remains determined ultimately to overthrow the rule in Syria by its Ba’athist Party and that Party’s leader, Bashar al-Assad.
Mattis had promised not to do this — he had promised never to agree to any such outcome as releasing ISIS jihadists, but instead that the goal of the mission in Raqqa was (he said) to “annihilate ISIS. The intent is to prevent the return home of escaped foreign fighters” to their lands-of-origin and to their homes. That’s the promise which any U.S. Secretary of Defense is duty-bound to honor, as his/her basic professional commitment in this entire matter — especially because that’s the commitment which his boss, Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump had given him about the matter.
Concern for the welfare of the foreign fighting forces, and concern for the welfare of the very few civilians who had still remained in Raqqa at the time of the culmination of this secret deal, are fine, but they aren’t the primary obligation of a U.S. Secretary of Defense, in any case. The United States and the other fighting forces during World War II, didn’t hesitate to kill all in a particular city, in situations where the total defeat, conquest, of the enemy, was possible in no other way than to kill everybody there (it happened on many occasions, we bombed cities: wars routinely do that) — and this rationale was used on the Allied side (and not only on the fascist side), in that war, as being the ‘justification’ for horrific bombings. It was used even regarding the firebombing of Dresden, and the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, at the war’s end.
Each of those instances can be debated, but that they occurred is a non-debatable historical fact. It’s nothing new to say that a President’s first obligation is to his/her own nation. And, regardless of whether or not those instances were really justified, it isn’t even the point here, because the United States, and even Defense Secretary James Mattis himself, have, in precisely the Syrian matter, made quite clear that they place the extermination of all ISIS jihadists as being the supreme purpose for the United States Government in Syria. They made this commitment, to serve the national-security interests of the American people, as being the most basic of their official duties. Candidate Trump had even made this very promise during his campaign — to kill all ISIS in Iraq and Syria. And, on 19 May 2017, Commander-in-Chief Trump’s Secretary of Defense announced publicly that this was the command that he had just received from his boss.
During a press conference on May 19th, Mattis announced that President Trump “directed a tactical shift from shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight to surrounding the enemy in their strongholds so we can annihilate ISIS. The intent is to prevent the return home of escaped foreign fighters.”
That’s quite clear instruction from the President. “Annihilate,” not imprison. “Annihilate,” not allow them to commit future acts of terrorism, not only in Syria but anywhere — including the United States. “Annihilate” means slaughter. The President, according to Mattis, wasn’t placing qualifiers on that (such as to protect the few remaining civilians left in Raqqa at the end — which became the U.S. Defense Department’s excuse for letting thousands of ISIS jihadists escape).
Trump knows, just like Mattis does, that protecting the lives of human shields — people amongst whom the enemy hide and who will be killed if the enemy itself is to be killed — is a concern, up to a point, but that, especially when dealing with jihadists, the only solution is to annihilate them regardless, so that they won’t survive to recruit more, and to perpetrate more acts of terrorism anywhere.
By taking the time up front to surround these locations, instead of simply shoving them from one to another and actually reinforcing them as they fall back, based on the recommendation that we made and the direction that President Trump took we now take the time to surround them. And why do we do it?
Because the foreign fighters are the strategic threat should they return home to Tunis, to Kuala Lumpur, to Paris, to Detroit, wherever. Those foreign fighters are a threat. So by taking the time to deconflict, to surround and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign so we don’t simply transplant this problem from one location to another.
He took full personal responsibility for having his subordinates carry out the President’s command:
The generals who know how to do those kind of things — we don’t direct that from here. They know our intent is the foreign fighters do not get out. I leave it to their skill, their cunning, to carry that out.
One reporter asked an incoherent question “on the annihilation change to encompassing cities” and promptly asked about timelines, so that the real issue here, which is how do you protect civilians when bombing and shooting at an enemy force that’s occupying a city, could easily be ignored, but Mattis included in his answer:
it is a change in tactics, (inaudible), that we now surround these location — these concentrations of enemy. … But the bottom line is the foreign fighters don’t get out is our intent, or at least is greatly reduced in (inaudible) get back home again to bring their hate and discontent back.
Later in the press conference, he said:
The campaign designed end state remains the same; to destroy ISIS.
It’s not to protect anyone except the American people (and in the process, to not be sending ISIS terrorists anywhere else — to not be increasing the terrorist threats to Europe or anywhere).
However, there was also this remarkable and totally uncalled-for spewing-of-hate against Shiite Iran, and against the Shiite leader of Syria, Bashar al-Assad: