Senator Lindsey Graham, who is usually one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters, has lashed out at his decision to withdraw US troops from northeastern Syria ahead of an imminent incursion by Turkey.
The move, Graham said, will result in a return of the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), make the Kurds ally with the Syrian government, destroy Turkey’s relationship with the US Congress, and leave a stain on US honor, the senator argued. He said he would file a motion in the Senate seeking a reversal of the decision.
* Ensures ISIS comeback.
* Forces Kurds to align with Assad and Iran.
* Destroys Turkey’s relationship with U.S. Congress.
* Will be a stain on America’s honor for abandoning the Kurds.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 7, 2019
Trump said the withdrawal of troops from Syria was long overdue and justified abandoning the Kurds to a likely Turkish onslaught by saying the US paid “massive amounts of money and equipment” to the Kurdish militias to fight against IS.
Quite a few critics of President Trump lashed out at what they call a betrayal of the Kurdish militias and submission to the wishes of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ankara considers Syrian Kurds to be terrorists and for years has criticized the US for supporting them.
US politicians with quite differing views found themselves in the same camp, united in condemnation of Trump’s move. The president’s 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, and his former envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, blasted the US leader for siding with Turkey against the Kurds.
Let us be clear: The president has sided with authoritarian leaders of Turkey and Russia over our loyal allies and America’s own interests. His decision is a sickening betrayal both of the Kurds and his oath of office.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 7, 2019
We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) October 7, 2019
Interventionism arch-advocate Bill Kristol lamented an erosion of US leadership, while Mike Gravel, the anti-militarist former senator, said all Americans “should hang their head in shame” over Trump’s actions.
With the betrayal of the Kurds and Trump’s full-on America First tweet storm this morning, is there a single principled internationalist, a single believer in American global leadership somewhere in the Trump Administration who will resign in protest?
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 7, 2019
There is no higher disgrace to America than the abandonment of the Kurds, fighters for freedom and independence, to the hard-right forces of Erdoğan. Every American should hang their head in shame.
— Mike Gravel (@MikeGravel) October 7, 2019
Some commenters, however, pointed out that most of the people crying treason today should re-examine the flaws of US foreign policy, which long predate Trump’s arrival in the Oval Office.
“But the Kurds…” is 100% a valid argument. These guys are brave and they fought with us. And we made promises.
But that’s the problem, isn’t it? We’re always making promises. To everyone. Our crappy, chickenhawk foreign policy has been decades of promises.
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) October 7, 2019
Today, the commentariat is almost uniformly opposed to Turkish intervention in Syria.
This is the same commentariat that was almost uniformly with the Turkish-backed rebels throughout the war.
Turkey has been our teammate in Syria & always prioritized the anti-Kurd fight.
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) October 7, 2019
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