Jeffrey Sachs To President Trump: Please Get U.S. Out Of Syria, "We've Done Enough Damage"

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Columbia University professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, a writer of foreign policy textbooks and special adviser to the United Nations, issued a special plea to President Trump to stop the war in Syria now by ending the CIA's covert arming and funding of rebel forces.

"And so what I would plead to President Trump is: Get out, like your instinct told you... Get out. We've done enough damage in seven years," Sachs said to the president about the Syrian War on Friday's 'Morning Joe.'

Sachs explained: "This [Syrian civil war] happened because of [the United States]. These 600,000 [dead] are not just incidental. [The United States] started a war to overthrow a regime. It was covert. It was Operation: Timber Sycamore, people can look it up, the CIA operation. Together with Saudi Arabia, still shrouded in secrecy... A major war effort shrouded in secrecy, never debated by Congress, never explained to the American people. Signed by President Obama. Never explained."





President Barack Obama secretly authorized the CIA to begin arming rebel forces in Syria in 2013. However, the CIA had already been facilitating the flow of arms from Libya to Syria for more than a year before that, in collaboration with the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Qatar.

"Seven years has been a disaster, under Obama and continued under Trump," Sachs also said. "This is what I would call the 'Permanent State.' This is the CIA, this is the Pentagon wanting to keep Iran and Russia out of Syria, but we have no way to do that. And so we have made a proxy war in Syria.

Former NATO supreme commander Admiral James Stavridis debates Sachs, warning America not to allow "Middle East fatigue" to convince us to abandon the U.S. role in the Syrian civil war.

"We need to not walk away, but go to the U.N. Security Council and agree with Russia on a strategy for ending the fight," Sachs said. "Ending the fight means we stop trying to overthrow the government [of Bashar al Assad]. That we stop trying to support rebels who are committed to overthrowing the government. That is where this war continues. Because we, to this day, back rebels that are trying to overthrow a government, contrary to international law, contrary to the U.N. charter, contrary to common sense."

JEFFREY SACHS: I think we need to step back and not put this in partisan terms. This is a U.S. mistake that started seven years ago. I remember the day on your show when President Obama said Assad must go, and I looked at you and Joe and said, 'Huh? How's he going to do that? Where's the policy for that?'

And we now know they sent in the CIA to overthrow Assad. The CIA and Saudi Arabia together in covert operations tried to overthrow Assad. It was a disaster. Eventually, it brought in both ISIS, as a splinter group to the Jihadists that went in. It also brought in Russia.

So we have been digging deeper and deeper. What we should do now is get out, and not continue to throw missiles. not have a confrontation with Russia. Seven years has been a disaster, under Obama and continued under Trump.

This is what I would call the "Permanent State."

This is the CIA, this is the Pentagon wanting to keep Iran and Russia out of Syria, but we have no way to do that. And so we have made a proxy war in Syria. It has killed 500,000 people, displaced ten million.

And I'll say predictably so, because I predicted it seven years ago, that there was no way to do this. And it would make a complete chaos.

And so what I would plead to President Trump is: Get out, like your instinct told you, by the way. That was his instinct.

But then all the establishment, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Pentagon said no, no that's irresponsible.

But his instinct is right: Get out. We've done enough damage in seven years. And now we really risk a confrontation with Russia that is extraordinarily dangerous and reckless...

ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS: I think there are two problems with Professor Sachs's comments, although I certainly feel that sense of Middle East fatigue that we all have. Of course, it is not just Syria, it is Iraq, Afghanistan. There have been a whole series of things that have generated the kind of feeling that says let's pull out of the world and come back to the United States.

There are two fundamental problems with that: One is the use of chemical weapons, I think really does demand a response from the international community at a level of a military strike. I do support a strike here.

Secondly, I do think Professor Sachs is right to point out that this is a massive humanitarian disaster, I think the numbers are actually 600,000 dead and 14 million displaced. I am in complete agreement with him on the scale of this, but I would like to see the United States try and be part of the solution.

And here what I would do is look back to the Balkans in the 1990s, which looked somewhat like Syria of today. And there was eventually an international solution that included the United States and Russia working together. We've got a long way to go to get there, but if we just step away from it, as attractive as that feels to us, I don't think it is the right solution.

JEFFREY SACHS: We've got to remember how this happened. This happened because of us. These 600,000 are not just incidental. We started a war to overthrow a regime. It was covert. it was Timber Sycamore, people can look it up, the CIA operation.

Together with Saudi Arabia, still shrouded in secrecy, which is part of the problem in our country. A major war effort shrouded in secrecy, never debated by Congress, never explained to the American people. Signed by President Obama. Never explained.

And this created chaos. And so just throwing more missiles in right now is not a response. We need to, not walk away, but go to the U.N. Security Council and agree with Russia on a strategy for ending the fight.

Ending the fight means we stop trying to overthrow the government [of Bashar al Assad]. That we stop trying to support rebels who are committed to overthrowing the government. That is where this war continues. Because we, to this day, back rebels that are trying to overthrow a government, contrary to international law, contrary to the U.N. charter, contrary to common sense, contrary to practical path.

We cant do it. And it just creates an ongoing crisis, to the extent of facing an imminent confrontation with Russia.

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