From the New York Times in the USA, 20 December 2018:
The Trump administration has ordered the military to start withdrawing roughly 7,000 troops from Afghanistan in the coming months, two defense officials said Thursday, an abrupt shift in the 17-year-old war there and a decision that stunned Afghan officials, who said they had not been briefed on the plans.
President Trump made the decision to pull the troops — about half the number the United States has in Afghanistan now — at the same time he decided to pull American forces out of Syria, one official said.
The announcement came hours after Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, said that he would resign from his position at the end of February after disagreeing with the president over his approach to policy in the Middle East.
So, it looks like United States soldiers in Syria and half of United States soldiers in Afghanistan will not have to come back to the USA in coffins, but as living human beings. Neither will they be involved in killing Syrian or Afghan civilians any more.
That in itself is good. However, let us not forget that Donald Trump has escalated wars: in Somalia, etc., including in Syria and Afghanistan. Maybe he plans to invade Venezuela and for that he needs soldiers who are still in Syria or Afghanistan.
By Bill Van Auken in the USA, 21 December 2018:
The New York Times published an editorial Thursday invoking the authority of Trump’s national security adviser, the maniacal warmonger and international bully, John Bolton, citing his vow to expand the role of US troops in Syria to confront Iran.
It criticized Trump for having “overruled Mr. Bolton and the rest of his national security team.” His decision, the newspaper of record of what once passed for American liberalism, argued, had “sowed new uncertainty about America’s commitment to the Middle East, its willingness to be a global leader and Mr. Trump’s role as commander in chief.”
Thursday’s resignation of US Defense Secretary James Mattis has provoked a reaction of panic and near hysteria from leading members of both major political parties, the media and former top military and intelligence officials: here.
In the process, the Democrats are unashamedly aligning with the most reactionary forces within the state apparatus and the military. “Mad Dog” Mattis, the butcher of Fallujah, who once declared that “it’s fun to shoot some people,” has been transformed into a pillar of moral virtue. Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, declared on “Meet the Press” that “it breaks my heart” to see Mattis leave. He said he begged Mattis to “stay, stay as long as you possibly can,” because “we desperately need your mature voice, your voice of patriotism”: here.