Should have brought them home

The USA needs to get its troops out of the Middle East, out of Africa, and out of Europe immediately:

U.S. troops were among those killed in an attack in northern Syria Wednesday — the same day that Vice President Mike Pence claimed ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the attack, “has been defeated.”

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria, Operation Inherent Resolve, said a tweet that “U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today.” A U.S. military official also confirmed to CBS News senior national defense correspondent David Martin reports by Kurdish media outlets that at least two Americans were among the dead in the city of Manbij, not far from the Turkish border, after an explosion hit a coalition convoy.

The U.S. military has not said how many Americans were among the bombing victims, but at least one report said as many as four U.S. service members were killed. If true, Martin notes that it would be the single largest loss of U.S. life in Syria since American forces were deployed there in 2015.

The attack comes just weeks after President Trump declared ISIS defeated and said U.S. troops were coming home.

I’ve been reading the history of what many military historians consider the first true guerilla war, the Peninsular War between the occupied Spanish and Portugeuese and the French empire of Napoleon. And one of the remarkable synchronicities between that war and the US wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria is the way in which the imperial power kept thinking that because it was winning all the battles, it was winning the war.

From A History of the Peninsular War, Vol. II by Charles Oman.

The net result of Heudelet’s operations was that the Marshal, at the cost of immobilizing one of his four infantry divisions, obtained a somewhat precarious hold upon the flat country of Entre-Douro-e-Minho. The towns were in his hands, but the Ordenanza had only retired to the hills, and perpetually descended to worry Heudelet’s detachments, and to murder couriers and foraging parties. Meanwhile 4,000 men were wasted for all purposes of offensive action. Vigo, Tuy, and Valenza had all been abandoned, and touch with the army of Galicia had been completely lost.

Even this modest amount of success had been denied to Soult’s second expedition, that which he had sent under Loison towards the Tras-os-Montes. The enemy with whom the French had to deal in this region was Silveira, the same officer who had been defeated between Monterey and Chaves in the early days of March, when the 2nd Corps crossed the Portuguese frontier. He had fled with the wrecks of his force towards Villa Real, at the moment when Soult marched on Braga, and the Marshal had fondly hoped that he was now a negligible quantity in the campaign. This was far from being the case: the moment that Silveira heard that the French had crossed the mountains and marched on Braga, he had rallied his two regular regiments and his masses of Ordenanza, and pounced down on the detachment under Commandant Messager, which Soult had left in garrison at Chaves.

Over and over again, the French armies would defeat the Spanish and Portugeuese armies, only to find themselves under constant low-level attack on the peripheries, as their messengers were murdered, their supplies stolen, and their outposts overrun. The USA can literally never win the wars it is trying to fight, and it is a complete waste of time, men, and material to try and prove otherwise. Because victory requires the acceptance of US rule on the part of the defeated, and that is simply never going to happen in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria.

 Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.