Troops deserving of truth: Misleading video yields false hope, sparks controversy

“We have won against ISIS. We have beaten them and we have beaten them badly,” President Donald Trump said in a video posted on Twitter last December. In that same month, Trump announced that the United States would pull troops out of Syria soon on the pretext that ISIS had been defeated. A few weeks later, National Security Adviser John Bolton rolled back the declaration, establishing conditions that would keep troops there for months or even years, according to a New York Times article.

Thirty days to months to years. That video was a lie. What stands true is the hopeful sentiments that were shattered by the repercussions of this timeline. Those were true and real and impact the daily lives of loved ones.

Families should not have been given the false hope of soldiers returning sooner than they actually will, nor should the brave men and women fighting in Syria. It has been a long war, and the damage continues, so this address of information shouldn’t be dealt with like this.

According to a March 23 New York Times article, since Trump’s declaration on Dec. 19, 2018, there have been 182 attacks in Syria. Clearly, considering the numbers, the war is not over, so the declaration should not have been made in the first place.

This is a war that we rarely seem to hear about in headline news, but it supposedly took a big turn when the last ISIS-controlled area in Syria was liberated in March, according to the March 23 New York Times article. I say supposedly because the war with ISIS is far from over. Withdrawing the troops now might do good temporarily, but in the long run, keeping them there will prevent more damage from being done. Just don’t provide false hope. It just isn’t right.

In its staff editorial published on April 5, 2018, USA Today said that the problems that caused the war, such as destabilization and lack of security, need to be solved before the troops can leave. Syria also needs to be cleaned of military debris and hidden explosives need to be deactivated before any problem-solving begins and the troops are able to leave the country, which possibly stands true for today.

Graphic by Madison Gomez

We need a stated reason for why we’re staying there, if we are, because of  Trump’s video, and something more than just, ‘we’ll keep them there till they tell us to take them out.’ It would at least clarify the situation and perhaps console loved ones facing the hurt Trump just caused.

All of this mess is just exacerbated by the fact that the troops are still fighting after they were promised a 30-day release. Bolton inserted what Trump had omitted in his Twitter video, that there were conditions to be met before that withdrawal, according to a Jan. 6 New York Times article. Trump once again said something that was not completely true, the government seems to be disregarding the human aspect that the statement lacked. When appealing to the public, I feel like it’s fair to say that they should at least consider feelings on matters like this. Meanwhile, the government’s agenda seems to be set to make sure the pullout of troops results in peace, and Syria is saved from the reign of Assad and backers like Russia and Turkey, who are working to keep him in office as president.

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to hear that freedom is within reach, in the next 30 days and then to have that deadline extended possibly to years.

No one knows who the families at home are unless they openly talk about where their relatives are deployed. Many could be in the University of Indianapolis community. For any of those struggling here, just know you are not alone. The message that Trump sent out was inaccurate and hurtful, and your feelings of false hope are justified because that Twitter declaration was quickly overturned.

I do not know when this war will end, but the troops should stay as long as they must. But the damage done back home would have been far less harsh without Trump’s video. Do not tell people they are about to go home, that their son or daughter or wife or husband or whoever will soon see their soldier, when it is not true.