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US special forces in Syria are Obama's latest broken foreign policy promise

By       Message Trevor Timm     Permalink
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Reprinted from The Guardian

Obama was elected on a promise to pull back US troops from the Middle East. Instead, the presidency has been marked by mission creep

From WH Press Secy. Josh Earnest
WH Press Secy. Josh Earnest
(image by MSNBC News)
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The Obama administration announced on Friday it will send US special forces into Syria, breaking its repeated vow that Barack Obama would not send ground troops into the war-torn country. This is the latest in a series of U-turns and broken promises that further cements our Forever War and sets a disturbing precedent for whoever becomes the next US president in 2016.

These forces will supposedly be "advising and assisting" rebel armies in the northern Syria who are fighting Isis, including Kurdish forces, while not engaging in direct combat. (Separately on Friday, the prime minister of Turkey, a member of the anti-Isis coalition, threatened to attack the US-backed Kurdish troops, who are believed to be the most effective fighting force against Isis, yet also sworn enemies of the Turkish government.)

While the administration says they will only be "advising and assisting" we know that the US military has already carried out combat operations inside Syria. "Advise and assist" is the same thing the White House said that our troops would be doing in Iraq, but now the Pentagon is admitting: "We're in combat" in Iraq as well (and have been for months).

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The White House announcement says nothing about the contingent of CIA-backed rebels within Syria who, in addition to fighting Isis, also are also attacking the Assad regime. It's unclear how the special forces on the ground will fit into that equation. The administration will likely say they don't, but how can the public trust them at this point?

In 2012, Obama unequivocally said he would end the war in Afghanistan, and chided Mitt Romney the Republican nominee for not promising that. In 2013, Obama said: "I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria." In 2014, Obama said: "We will not be sending US troops back into combat in Iraq." At this point, all of those promises have been completely broken.

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Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to  The (more...)

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