The Atlantic Politics Daily: Who Americans Now Leave Exposed

Stories from on the ground with America’s Syrian, Kurdish and Iraqi allies fighting a version of a forever war. Plus: Is another chief of staff shakeup in the works?

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Today in Politics

(Martyn Aim / laif / Redux)

As Turkey moves in on northeastern Syria after the removal of American troops, exposing America’s Kurdish partners in the fight against ISIS, take a moment to consider who exactly the American withdrawal leaves exposed.

Mike Giglio has spent years tracking the rise and fall of ISIS. The stories he tells from on the ground with America’s Syrian, Kurdish and Iraqi allies fighting a version of a forever war will leave you breathless.

ISIS made its car bombs in factories and outfitted them with metal armor and enough explosives to incinerate a building or a Humvee. For months they’d been coming, one after another, at the soldiers, the pilots speeding through the fields and streets like the War Boys of Mad Max, blazing forward in their clanking death machines, chasing suicidal glory.

They had killed some of the battalion’s best soldiers in this way. Of all the forces aligned against ISIS, the soldiers of the ICTF were its deadliest enemy. They were elite and attacked with the support of America’s air force and intelligence, but at the same time they were soldiers of Iraq. They were men like Ibrahim Abu Hamra, a.k.a. Red, the Humvee’s driver, a meaty sergeant with cream-colored skin and strawberry hair who looked Irish. He was a longtime ICTF soldier and new father who had managed to maintain the fiction to his wife that he worked a desk job.

→ Read the rest of this selection from Mike’s forthcoming book, Shatter the Nations: ISIS and the War for the Caliphate.

—Shan Wang

What Else We’re Watching


Will Mick Mulvaney be out of a job soon? The president’s acting chief of staff (that’s right, he’s still in an acting capacity) survived a year. But that doesn’t mean his job is safe, especially as the White House battles congressional committees investigating the president, Peter Nicholas reports. Earlier this year, Mulvaney told our White House reporters that everything was awesome; fun, even.

The Whistle-Blower Is Not the Story: A narrative is catching on in both right-wing media and the anti-anti-Trump left: The whistle-blower alleging Trump made an improper request of Ukraine’s president to open an investigation into the Bidens is politically motivated. So what if the whistle-blower was motivated by politics? Adam Serwer argues.

+ The White House is most definitely not going to be cooperating with any impeachment inquiry-related requests. A letter, signed by the president’s lawyer, is light on legal arguments, David Graham argues.

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About us: The Atlantic’s politics newsletter is a daily effort from our politics desk. It’s written by our associate politics editor, Saahil Desai, and our politics fellow, Christian Paz. It’s edited by Shan Wang.

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