Semper Fidelis

Today’s lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal captures just how impulsive President Trump was in his unilateral declaration that we have defeated ISIS and will withdraw our 2,000 troops from Syria.

Unfortunately, this decision was apparently made with essentially zero consultation with SecDef Mattis or with Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Jim Mattis is a retired Marine Corps Four-star, the Marine motto is worth recalling: Semper Fidelis. Always faithful. Always loyal.

The Journal captures this dishonorable decision thusly:

He is telling soldiers that he will act on uninformed impulse, after a phone conversation from a Turkish dictator, without deliberation or due respect. Mr. Trump should know that tens of thousands of his “deplorables” are in uniform or are veterans. He has stuck a finger in their eye.

Reasonable people may argue for or against our presence in Syria. But we are there, and we have contributed substantially to the ability of the Kurds and Arab groups fighting against the Assad regime and against ISIS.

Leaving without consultation with military leaders who know the situation on the ground is not just foolish. It is disloyal to the men and women who have put their lives on the line.

Disgraceful, Mr. President. Suggest you look up the meaning of Semper Fidelis. And that loyalty is a two-way street: subordinates are expected to be loyal to their superiors. And superiors are no less expected to show loyalty down the ranks.

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