Despite the storm and fury, the Syria withdrawal policy is unambiguous and going forward.
After an extended question and answer session with the press on December 26, Trump was privately briefed on the anti-ISIS effort by LaCamera, who told the president that only a few pockets of ISIS militants remained in Syria’s Euphrates Valley. Trump praised the effort, I was told, but then issued his order. “I want us out of Syria,” the Centcom officer with whom I spoke quoted Trump as saying. “There wasn’t anything ambiguous about it,” the Centcom senior officer added. “There were no qualifiers, no conditionals, and so far as I know, nothing about that conversation has changed.” Put another way, while any number of civilian Pentagon officials speculate that the military has been given leeway in implementing the president’s directive, that is not the understanding among senior Centcom officers. “Nothing has changed since that meeting,” I was told. “We’re out.”