President Trump’s decision to pull back US military forces in Syria may turn out to be one of his boldest moves yet. If it feels like America has been engaged in war for the last two decades, that’s because it has. While being forced to defend his position, the president said:
“It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. We will fight where it is to our benefit, and only fight to win.”
And it appears that this sentiment has struck a chord with war-weary Americans, who have been given no adequate explanation for military involvement in the Middle East spanning almost 20 years. In any normal era, these words would be warmly welcomed as the message of a peacemaker, but not now, not today, and certainly not by a Congress that insists ending these wars is a bad move.
It hasn’t happened before, and it likely won’t happen again, but it appears that right now, the American people are in agreement that President Trump’s efforts to end US involvement in unnecessary wars are in line with their own thinking. A Rasmussen Reports poll read the president’s statements to respondents and asked them if they agreed with it. Of likely voters, 58% agreed.
What is startling about this poll is not that most voters would rather their country was not involved in a war, but how the Democratic voters reacted to Trump’s statement. Republican voters approved of the message clocking in at 69%, with non-affiliated at an even 50%. And 55% of Democratic voters also agreed! Is the president finally swinging the opposition to his side? Are we about to embark on a new era of harmony among the American political parties?
In fact, Rasmussen made a point of not telling the respondents from whom that particular quote came. It would be interesting to run this survey again informing Dem voters that Donald Trump has a message for them. Would we see another 55% wholeheartedly agree, or would the number be lower?
When confronted with hot political issues of the day, we are used to seeing wins and losses in polling data; if one side has over 50%, then they win. But when it comes to US troops being involved in foreign wars, one would suspect that the average citizen would be in favor of not sending Americans to fight and die in foreign lands. Why only 58% across the board?
Perhaps, for an answer, we need to look to our elected lawmakers.
The president is already taking fire from members of Congress over this decision. They cite regional stability, ongoing commitments, and ethical considerations, but is the reality that some folks see war as an engine of power?
The Republican Senator from Maine, Susan Collins, lambasted Trump’s decision, saying:
“I said that President Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds … was terribly unwise. Today, we are seeing the consequences of that terrible decision. If the reports of Turkish strikes in Syria are accurate, I fear our allies the Kurds could be slaughtered.”
And this view has support across the aisle with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer predicting that “Congress will take some form of action.”
A Nation for War?
For now, it seems that the American public would rather not engage in endless wars, but as lawmakers and their friends in the media push this withdrawal as a poor decision, we are left wondering whether it is more a situation of political theatre rather than moral standing.
The disconnect between elected officials and the man and woman on the street continues to grow.