A month ago, when President Donald Trump abruptly announced plans to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, he declared that "we have defeated ISIS in Syria."
The terrorists, it seems, didn't get the message.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for last week's suicide bombing in northern Syria that killed four Americans — Green Beret Jonathan Farmer, 37; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent, 35; U.S. interpreter Ghadir Taher, 27; Defense analyst Scott Wirtz, 42 — and wounded three others.
The attack at a restaurant in Manbij highlights the deadly stakes that remain on a battlefield where, as the saying goes, the enemy has a vote. Apart from showing his hand on military plans in a war zone — something Trump the candidate said he would never do — the president's Syria policy has since devolved into confusion.
The troops would be gone in 30 days. Then it was four months. Then it was indefinite as national security adviser John Bolton set strict preconditions. Then, suddenly, U.S. military equipment (though not yet troops) began being pulled out.