Photos published by Agence France-Presse (AFP) reveal that President Barack Obama lied when he told the American people that there are no U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.
The AFP pictures, which include the one shown here, prove that U.S. Special Forces soldiers are directly engaged in combat operations with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the latter's efforts to capture the unofficial capital of ISIS, Raqqa.
Despite the photographic proof of American military forces fighting in the field along side their Syrian "allies," the Defense Department continues to insist that the 300 or so U.S. soldiers in Syria are there for nothing more than to "advise and assist" the Syrian Democratic Forces and other majority-Kurdish troops battling ISIS.
According to a report on the photos published last week in the Washington Post, U.S. Special Forces troops were "clustered around what appears to be an advanced Mk.47 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The system, built by General Dynamics, is primarily used by Special Operations units and has not been widely sold outside the United States."
A leader in the Kurdish militia confirmed to AFP that U.S. ground troops were actively engaged in the fighting. AFP reported last week:
SDF field commander Hawkar Kobane told AFP that "US forces are taking part in this operation" alongside his own troops.
"On the rooftop of this house, there are US forces using (anti-tank) TOW missiles to fire on the explosives-rigged cars that Daesh [ISIS] is using to attack the SDF."
Apparently in order to disguise their identities, the U.S. forces were wearing insignia of the Kurdish militia on their uniforms.
Despite the photographs and the testimony of witnesses fighting alongside the Americans, the Department of Defense denies that U.S. soldiers are involved in directly participating in combat missions in the area.
"They are in an advise-and-assist mission. They are not on the front lines," said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.
That's odd, Mr. Cook, considering Kurdish war fighters tell AFP reporters that American troops are "present at all positions along the front."
"They are not on the forward line," Cook insists.
The smacks of the sort of Defense Department double-talk that is the argot of the military arm of the American empire. Not to mention that it places people in the difficult position of trusting the word of a Pentagon spokesman or of a Kurdish militia leader.
It is this imperial deployment of the U.S. military that violates not only the Constitution, but the international rules of engagement, as well. The Ron Paul Institute took note of this disdain and disregard for the rule of law and the law of the land.
It must be remembered that the presence of US military forces inside Syria is contrary to both U.S. and international law, as they have not been invited by the internationally-recognized Syrian government nor have they been authorized by the U.S. Congress. It is an illegal and highly risky military operation.
Now that there is irrefutable evidence of the engagement of U.S. ground troops in a foreign civil war, perhaps "conservatives" will abandon their hawkish pursuit of Pax Americana and will turn to the peace, prosperity, and power that comes from adherence to the Constitution's limits on the waging of war.
To this end, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will introduce a measure aimed at restoring Congress's authority to declare war, forcing the president back inside the boundaries of his constitutional power. As it stands, thousands of American servicemen are sent from pole to pole at the sole discretion of the man in the Oval Office.
For over a decade now, consecutive presidents have assumed the monarchical prerogative of ordering the military might of the United States to build up puppet governments, break down those reluctant to recognize the rule of an American emperor, and to create then crush new regimes.
Our Founders warned of this situation and its effect on liberty.
"The same causes which have rendered the old world the theatre of incessant wars, and have banished liberty from the face of it, would soon produce the same effects here. A standing military force, with an overgrown executive will not long be safe companions to liberty," said James Madison during the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Some eight years later, Madison's stance on war's power to eviscerate freedom had not softened:
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
George Washington, a man who personally felt the bite of the dog of war, counseled his countrymen that if they were to pursue the path of peace and prosperity, they must — at all cost — avoid global military ventures.
"Every true friend to this country must see and feel that the policy of it is not to embroil ourselves with any nation whatever, but to avoid their disputes and their politics, and if they harass one another, to avail ourselves of the neutral conduct we have adopted," said the Father of His Country and its first executive after the ratification of the Constitution of 1787.
As the recently released photos document, American Special Forces troops are fighting (and likely dying) in the wars of another nation, their commander-in-chief ignoring the "neutral conduct" that our Constitution and its drafters demand.