On Tuesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – host Leahy welcomed weekly guest and One America News Network’s, Neil McCabe to the show to talk about President Trump’s recent decision to remove US troops from Syria.
During the middle of the second hour, the men discussed how many US troops are still on the ground and what positions they are in. McCabe also added that he felt the President does not have the facilities to operate a normal foreign policy and that may be what prompted his motivation for getting out of Syria.
Leahy: We are always happy to have our good friend Neil McCabe with One America News Network Washington correspondent for OANN join us. But we are particularly delighted to have Neil on today. Good morning Neil.
McCabe: Michael. How are you?
Leahy: Well, I am confused I must admit.
Leahy: I’m trying to figure out what the President actually decided in Syria and what the impact of that is. The first report was he is withdrawing all troops from Syria and that would cause a problem because the Kurds would be left defenseless according to some of the earlier reports.
And they are guarding, I don’t know 10,000 ISIS prisoners and they would all get free. Then I see our good friend at Breitbart, Charlie Spiering basically got a clarification on Monday that said President Trump was not immediately withdrawing troops from Syria and that he was just moving 50 troops around within Syria.
Leahy: Neil, (Gasps) help me out here. What is going on with the Syria policy?
McCabe: Well, I think the President is laboring with a disability. And the disability is that he cannot trust the people who are working for him. You have the Obama holdovers right? You have all of the people they sort of wormed into the civil service and sort of bureaucracy positions around the White House and National Security Council.
And then you have a problem, the Republican establishment people who were put into this administration because the President is a Republican but he wanted to run an effective coalition government because he thought if he made peace with Speaker Ryan and Reince Priebus and Mitt Romney that they would sort of let him be President. And of course, that’s not going to happen. And it certainly hasn’t happened so far.
And then you have the other problems are, one, about the Trump people who are consistently blocked because of the establishment people in the personnel office. And then I guess the final problem is that there are people who would love to work for this President but because the Senate Republicans only care about getting their former law partners and class-based contributors on the federal bench.
The only people who ever go through the Senate unscathed are the federal judiciary appointments. And so there are people who could help the President but why walk into that wood chipper because the Senate isn’t going to protect you.
And certainly all the other holdovers and the establishment guys and then the bureaucracy, they’re going to leak and lie and make your life miserable. And so the President doesn’t have I guess the facilities to operate a normal foreign policy and having said that he wants to get out of Syria. We never declared war on Syria.
Leahy: I don’t remember the debate about Syria.
Leahy: There was no debate.
McCabe: And so we’re there now.
Leahy: How many troops are there now?
McCabe: From what I understand there are 50 advisors who are working with the Kurds who are fighting under a sort of banner of what’s called a Syrian democratic force because we couldn’t trust the other people that we tried to work within Syria. We couldn’t’ trust any of them. And finally, we came upon the Kurds. And the Kurds, of course, have their own nationalist ambition.
The Kurds are the largest nationality in the world that does not have their own country. And there are Kurds in Iran. There are Kurds in Iraq. There are Kurds in Syria. And of course, there are Kurds in Turkey.
Leahy: And by the way in terms of the Kurdish diaspora. It turns out that Nashville has one of the largest Kurdish populations in America. A very large Kurdish population here.
McCabe: I was with the Kurds a week ago Saturday. I was in a meeting here in Washington of representatives of the Kurdish government in Iraq on the two year anniversary. They had a referendum to leave Iraq and become their own country. And of course, the United States came out against the referendum.
And then when the Iranian backed militia then attacked the Kurds right after that referedum the United States allowed it to happen. And so it’s a very difficult thing because the Kurds want to be our friends. The Kurds have bonds with us. I will tell you in the US military there is tremendous affection and respect for the Kurds.
And let me make this point, as a veteran of the Iraq war. There are more than 4,000 American servicemen and women killed in Iraq. Not a single one was killed in Kurdish areas. And guys would tell me, I never made it up there but guys told me when they went up to Erbil or the Kurd areas they said it was like going into Switzerland. It was beautiful. They were in their control camps.
I was riding around in unarmored Hum-V’s and Emrac trucks. These guys are riding around in MV’s with the doors off and their soft patrol caps. They’re not even in battle. So you know it’s a very difficult situation. Very difficult.
Leahy: So how many American troops are currently in Syria? And are they apparently, the White House is saying we’re not withdrawing them we’re just moving them around.
McCabe: I think the official number is that I heard was 50 advisors.
Leahy: 5-0. OK.
McCabe: 5-0. But what’s tricky Mike is that the Pentagon has learned how to play these games. So there are troops in Jordan and there are troops in Kuwait who can very easily show up in Syria.
Leahy: Ah, yeah.
McCabe: They’re not in Syria.
Leahy: So how many would you guess are physically on the ground? Like the day before the President’s announcement, how many American troops were on the ground in Syria would you guess?
McCabe: Well the 50 number is advisors. I would say that within an hour we could deliver 2,000 or 3,000 US troops into Syria if somebody was under attack.
Leahy: Got it.
McCabe: Those 50 guys are spread out because they’re working at academies. There are academies with sergeants. There are infantry academies. There are all these different training facilities. If one of those camps was under attack we could hit back immediately.
Leahy: So are these 50 now still within Syria? It sounds like that is what the President is saying.
McCabe: Somebody was putting up a video of US troops moving around. But I saw that last night. I just don’t understand. The thing is, if we have 50 guys who are probably Green Beret’s or some kind of special forces then we also probably have another 1000 civilian contractors who are military veterans who are sort of…
McCabe: Right. Quasi-military sort of contractors there. What it is is, and I’m hesitant to say it but I’ll just say it. It’s almost like a hostage situation where what we’re telling the Turks is, you don’t know exactly where the Americans are. And if you accidentally kill one of them there will be hell to pay. And so you don’t know where our guys are so that makes you back off. Once Turkey has been told there are no Americans in a specific area that area becomes a free-fire zone.
McCabe: And that’s probably what’s going on here.
Leahy: Neil McCabe, thanks for clearing that up for us. Thanks for joining us, Neil.
If you don’t already have One America News Network, call your local cable provider and watch One America News here in Nashville, Middle Tennessee.
Listen to the full second hour:
– – –