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Talking with Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of American troops in the Middle East, is a paradoxical reminder of the limits of U.S. military power to determine political outcomes. American bombs helped destroy Daesh (ISIS) in Syria, but they can't stitch the rag doll of the Syrian nation back together. Turkey says it's protecting itself against the Syrian Kurdish organization known as the PKK, which dominates Afrin and which Turkey regards as a terrorist group. U.S. officials speak as if America isn't taking sides in Syria, now that Daesh is shattered. And certainly, the U.S. should move now to embrace all the pieces of Syria's ethnic mosaic.A sign of the new post-Daesh crackup in Syria was this headline in the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak about Votel's arrival in the war zone: "U.S. commander visits ... terrorists in Syria's Raqqa".This isn't the time to be pulling out America's 1,500 advisers from northeast Syria and creating an even bigger vacuum.
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