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Zakaria: Syria decision feels like Bush moment

CNN's Fareed Zakaria says President Trump's decision to remove troops from Syria feels worse than the moment former President George W. Bush announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq.

Posted: Dec 21, 2018 9:18 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2018 9:50 AM

President Donald Trump's decision to pull the US out of Syria ends a policy whose popularity with the American public had wavered, though Americans have consistently said ISIS -- which Trump claimed was defeated in the country -- remains a threat.

In April, 39% of American voters said Trump had been handling Syria well while 49% disapproved, according to a Fox News poll, with 16% believing he'd been too tough and 31% not tough enough. By party, a big majority of his Republican base approved (71%) compared to only 34% of independents and 14% of Democrats. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans said he'd been about right on handling Syria and a quarter thought he hadn't been tough enough. A plurality of Democrats (37%) agreed that Trump should be tougher.

In the same Fox News poll, 3-in-5approved of the US using military airstrikes -- which are likely to cease due to the withdrawal -- to punish Syria for using chemical weapons. Even 45% of Democrats agreed with the practice (45% disagreed). Republicans were in total support (83%).

The support for the President's handling of Syria had drooped from April 2017, when a Fox poll taken around the time of a Trump-ordered strike on the Assad regime in response to a chemical weapons attack found 48% approved of his Syria policy.

In announcing the US withdrawal from Syria on Wednesday, Trump also declared ISIS to be defeated in the country, a statement at odds with the view of many analysts, administration officials and experts. The terror group also operates in Iraq, where the US continues to maintain forces.

The view of the US military effort against ISIS has improved since Trump took office. In October 2017, 55% told Pew Research they thought the effort was going very or fairly well, the highest number to say so since Pew began tracking the question in October 2014. In October 2016, only 31% thought it was going well.

Americans have consistently stated a belief that the terror group threatens the US.

In a CNN poll from May, 59% said that ISIS still represents a very serious threat to the US. Even though that number is a huge majority, it's the lowest number who said that ISIS is a very serious threat to the US since CNN started tracking the question in April 2015. The highest was in May 2016 after President Barack Obama deployed additional special operation forces to fight ISIS in Syria.

In a CNN poll taken in January, less than half (46%) of respondents said they thought it was likely Trump would defeat ISIS during his tenure as president, while half said they thought it was unlikely.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154411

Reported Deaths: 3836
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
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George126425
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Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
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Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
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Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
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Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
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Perry6906
Lamar6898
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Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
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