President Trump announced yesterday that he planned to withdraw American troops from Syria, a decision that has been widely criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike, and which lead to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ resignation. Though Mattis’ decision to resign was based upon the whole of Trump’s foreign policy, the withdrawal from Syria is seen as the straw that broke the general’s back; Mattis repeatedly refused to publicly endorse the withdrawal after Trump’s requests. Trump’s decision is viewed as premature, because, though it is at its tail-end, the conflict with the Islamic State is on-going in Syria. It seems the only person in favor of the withdrawal is Russian President Vladimir Putin who said “Donald’s right, and I agree with him.” With the United States absent Russian and Iranian influence over Syria will increase.
I wrote a few weeks ago about how the abuse of military power could be considered an impeachable offense, based on precedent set by British impeachments (written about by Professor Bowman here, pt. VIII). The withdrawal from Syria could be considered another impeachable military blunder in two ways: 1) unfitness, based on the general lack of wisdom that the withdrawal represents; and 2) that the action may have been taken at the urging of a foreign power, specifically Russia. Though Trump has offered justifications for his action, such as not wanting to be the “policemen” of the Middle East, if it turns out that this action was taken for no other reason than to appease Putin, then it is may be an abuse of military power warranting impeachment.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press