Our Betrayal of the Kurds: Let’s admit we made a big mistake
A week ago President Trump ordered the removal of U.S. troops from northern Syria. Our troops were there together with our allies, the Kurds, in a prolonged conflict to remove the terrorist group ISIS from Syria. This decision was made by our President but went against the recommendations of most of our National Security and Military leadership. The response from the Turkish government was quick and predictable. They sent troops to invade northern Syria to create a “safe zone”. It was an obvious “land grab” and the area is now anything but “safe”. The rapidly occurring events include the following:
- Hundreds of Kurdish civilians have been killed and their leaders feel betrayed by us.
- Thousands of captured ISIS terrorist soldiers are now escaping from prisons and detention camps
- The Kurds are now asking for help from the Syrian authoritarian ruler, Bashar al Assad.
- The Kurds, realizing that we have abandoned them, are also seeking a new alliance with Russia.
- President Trump has threatened Turkey with “crippling sanctions”, but these are still potential measures that have not been implemented. Such feeble threats have done nothing but embolden Turkey’s ruler Erdogan.
In a very rare demonstration of bi-partisan unity, almost all of our Congressional representatives who have weighed in on the issue, have criticized the President’s decision. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, one of Trump’s most faithful allies, announced that the White House “shamelessly abandoned” our allies, the Kurds. Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, rebuked the President and explained that “a precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran and the Assad regime…and it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.” This is quite revealing. If McConnell is right, much of the so called “war on terrorism” has been a huge mistake since the gains that were made with great sacrifice and cost, will now be lost.
Although I empathize with Trump’s desire to get us out of “stupid, endless wars” we must be very careful and wise in how we remove ourselves. If not, the solution is deadlier than the problem. President Trump, it takes courage and maturity to recognize one’s mistakes, especially when they occur in full public view. Be mature, retrace your steps, and change your policy.
2 thoughts on “We betrayed the Kurds: Let’s admit our big mistake”
I agree with you. But fortunately he changed his mind.
I assume you mean Trump has changed his mind (although Lindsey Graham has also done some backtracking on his statements). The problem is that once you make decisions (even this rash one by the president) they have serious consequences. Given the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, Turkey has invaded the country and killed hundreds of Kurds. Trump has a serious dilemma: he could send the US soldiers back into Syria, but that means he would have to admit his error in judgment. He is sending Pence and others to Turkey to broker a ceasefire, but I doubt this will be successful. Economic sanctions are a valid measure, but will probably not have any impact on Erdogan. The weakness of Trump’s isolationism is that when we need strong international alliances (NATO, the UN, etc.) we have already burned those bridges. There is still time to rebuild.