Patterico's Pontifications

10/9/2019

As Turkey Begins Its Military Offensive, Trump Faces Criticism From Prominent Evangelicals

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:03 am



[guest post by Dana]

Last night, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius tweeted:

A bad situation in Northeast Syria is about to get much worse. Sources tell me that US officials have just informed the Syrian Kurds that Turkey is likely to attack on air and ground in next 24 hours. The US will do nothing. Targets are Tal Abyad and Ras al Ayn….

…Ironically Tal Abyad was the main supply route for ISIS in 2014-15 through an open border from Turkey. Turkey refused repeated requests from US to shut border. That’s a big reason why US decided to partner with SDF, which took the town in the summer of 2015.

…I’m also told that Turkish attack appears coordinated with the Russians. Russian-backed forces are mobilizing to invade the Kurdish area from the south — towards Tabqa and other spots. Meanwhile, ISIS is mobilizing sleeper cells in Raqqa and attacks have taken place tonight.

…And finally there is the scary issue of the thousands of ISIS detainees and families, who may be breaking out of camps and prisons after Turkish attack–with NO American back-up plan. This is a major disaster coming at us because of Trump’s decisions. Hours left to stop it…

It has already begun:

A planned Turkish military operation in northern Syria has now begun, the country’s president announced Wednesday, as Kurdish fighters say warplanes are already bombing civilian areas in the region.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted that the maneuvers being carried out against Syrian Kurdish forces – which Ankara considers terrorists allied with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey – are part of Operation Peace Spring.

“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” he said in a tweet. “#OperationPeaceSpring will neutralize terror threats against Turkey and lead to the establishment of a safe zone, facilitating the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.”

A spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces says Turkish warplanes have “started to carry out airstrikes on civilian areas”, causing a “huge panic among people of the region.”

Pentagon officials have confirmed that the U.S. will not be flying air support for the Kurds, in spite of the Kurds having requested the help. Fox News is reporting that U.S. military officials said that President Trump has ordered them to not get involved:

Meanwhile, President Trump is facing widespread disapproval within the GOP for his decision to pull U.S. troops from the region in advance of Turkey’s military offensive. Now, some prominent members of the evangelical community are also breaking with him on the decision. This is significant given how readily evangelical leaders have rationalized the President’s foul treatment of women and minorities, as well as choosing to look the other way with regard to his less than honorable character. Some are directly criticizing Trump for his decision, while others are taking a more diplomatic approach and carefully avoiding any direct criticism of Trump:

From Pat Robertson, host of the 700 Club:

“The president who allowed Khashoggi to be cut in pieces without any repercussions whatsoever is now allowing the Christians and the Kurds to be massacred by the Turks,” Robertson said. “And I believe — and I want to say this with great solemnity — the president of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen.”

And of course, some die-hard loyalists are still willing to carry water for the President:

After Trump complimented Turkey on Twitter as a “big trading partner,” the White House announced that President Erdogan will visit the United States on Nov. 13 at the invitation of President Trump. In light of what happened outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence after Erdogan’s first official meeting with Trump at the White House, demonstrators should be prepared.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

149 Responses to “As Turkey Begins Its Military Offensive, Trump Faces Criticism From Prominent Evangelicals”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (05f22b)

  2. yes, and the turks were striking the kurds in Kurdistan, at the heart of the Iraq war, when he had 150,000 troops, maybe Robertson should get some perspective,

    narciso (d1f714)

  3. Leaving our allies, the Kurds, to be slaughtered by Turkey… on a whim. And Jerry Falwell Jr.

    Disgusting.

    noel (f22371)

  4. Trump is not only selling out the Kurds. He has been selling out America since the day he took office. Impeached? He should be tried for treason, “adhering to our enemies giving them aid and comfort”, and executed.

    nk (dbc370)

  5. It is disgusting, Noel. When you realize that Trump set them up a few weeks ago by getting them to agree to Safe Zones before betraying them. There are hundreds of ISIS prisoners that could possibly be freed here. Trump has no valid US interest to his decision. We had what, 50 troops here? The ISIS operation wasn’t really using our people. We will have a hard time pulling that off now that no one trusts us. But the need might be back soon.

    What’s interesting is that whenever Syria comes up, we seem to be acting as Putin’s puppet. And with AG Barr lying to us about Trump’s collusion and obstruction, it’s easy to see what is going on here. They don’t think Trump will be in office for too much longer, so they are just using him up.

    If the GOP doesn’t reject Trump loudly, it will be a long term issue for the party.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  6. Turkey – for better or worse – is our NATO ally, with American nukes based within their country. We are bound by treaty to defend them, if they are attacked.

    Provide strong support for a Kurdish state, let Middle Eastern people sort out the Middle East or plan on U.S. boots on the ground in perpetuity.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  7. What do/did we have in that area, 50 troops?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  8. There are approximately 10,000

    Dana (5a97fa)

  9. #4

    I take it you are a vote for William Weld then?

    Appalled (1a17de)

  10. Turkey – for better or worse – is our NATO ally, with American nukes based within their country. We are bound by treaty to defend them, if they are attacked.

    Provide strong support for a Kurdish state, let Middle Eastern people sort out the Middle East or plan on U.S. boots on the ground in perpetuity.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 10/9/2019 @ 11:01 am

    Literally the talking points.

    Of course we also know that Turkey is the bad guy, the Kurds are the good guys, and a few months ago that was part of Trump’s talking points. Trump is saving ISIS and helping Russia at the expense of people Trump promised safety to. The administration used the expression “Safe Zone.” This is wrong. Muddy the waters with talk of alliances all you want. Kids are being bombed. We betrayed friends who helped us when we asked.

    It is deeply dishonest to tell the middle east people we will keep them safe, so toss your fortifications, and then a few weeks later abandon them, saying it’s up to them to figure this out. Russia has won such a generational victory over this.

    You thought Carter screwed Iran up? Trump says hold his 16 boxes of sudafed and watch this.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  11. So will the House now be launching a lawsuit over the Constitutional issue of whether or not a President may refuse to wage a war duly declared by the House? Although, now that I think about it, I don’t remember exactly who it was the House declared war on here – was it Syria or Turkey or the Kurds? It would be silly to think that the House would abrogate their Constitutional duty to declare war by essentially writing a blank check to the President and just allow him to wage war against whoever he pleased in whatever means he felt like – and then have the nerve to complain when the President cashes the check. As silly as a President signing an agreement of some sort with a foreign country without getting the Constitutionally-required advice and consent of the Senate in order to have an actual binding treaty with the United States, and then complaining when the next President to come along simply withdraws from the agreement on the basis that it’s not actually a binding agreement with the US.

    Jerryskids (702a61)

  12. …ISIS prisoners in Northern Syria, that is…

    Dana (5a97fa)

  13. Trump on the situation this morning, in part:

    “This morning, Turkey, a NATO member, invaded Syria. The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea. There are no American soldiers in the area.” 1

    “From the first day I entered the political arena, I made it clear that I did not want to fight these endless, senseless wars—especially those that don’t benefit the United States.” 2

    “Turkey has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place—and we will hold them to this commitment.” 3

    “In addition, Turkey is now responsible for ensuring all ISIS fighters being held captive remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form. We expect Turkey to abide by all of its commitments, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. ” 4

    Dana (5a97fa)

  14. 12… so it is 50 troops then. Is the U.S. the only nation responsible for keeping ISIS in check? We are the only nation that should be concerned? What is our interest in Syria?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. They struck Military Targets (depots). It is the first thing you do before entering. Remember, Turkey is attacking Syria. They’ve been doing it for centuries and Trump knows it. These two have to learn how to be neighbors.

    Mark (57ef87)

  16. In addition, Turkey is now responsible for ensuring all ISIS fighters being held captive remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form. We expect Turkey to abide by all of its commitments, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.

    You know how some people lie in a bizarre way, where they bring up specifically what they feel most guilty for lying about? Trump does not expect Turkey to protect the USA by keeping their buddies in prison. The Kurds that Turkey is murdering are bitter enemies of ISIS.

    And Trump just said (if you put these claims together) that keeping ISIS in custody does not benefit the USA. That it’s not a problem we should be concerned with.

    Remember, Trump’s praised the Clinton foreign policy more than any other. That’s the foreign policy of ‘it’s the economy stupid.’ It’s the foreign policy where we ignored Al Qaeda. Since 1999, Islamic State has pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda, as they are both the same people with the same goals.

    Put all that aside. In a few years we’ll need help in the Middle East and promise safety and alliance. I hope those we ask see Trump as an anomaly and work with the USA. If not, that means Americans go and fight. Trump’s attitude is that ignoring the issue will protect American lives. That’s basically Neville Chamberlain’s idea. In the short term, he’s right, and in the long term, he’s wrong.

    This is such a political and strategic loser for everyone but Putin and Turkey and ISIS.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  17. China does the same thing to its people every day and I look forward to speaking out against them. Turkey and China both need to be punished for their anti-liberty behavior. If only we had a way to do so.

    NJRob (ba88af)

  18. It figures that Putin is taking up the southern flank. Thanks, Donald, for selling out the most democratic Muslim-majority region in the ME for a couple of dictators.
    Oh, and Trump is lying about Turkey being a big trading partner. They aren’t even in the top 30.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_trading_partners_of_the_United_States

    Paul Montagu (f9d74d)

  19. We had 150,000 troops at the height of the iraq war, didnt prevent the decimation of the christian population notably the assyrians,

    narciso (d1f714)

  20. THIS makes the evangelicals criticize Trump? Not the serial philandering, or consorting with prostitutes, or the lying, or all the other tawdry behavior?

    What took them so long?

    Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71)

  21. China does the same thing to its people every day and I look forward to speaking out against them. Turkey and China both need to be punished for their anti-liberty behavior. If only we had a way to do so.

    NJRob (ba88af) — 10/9/2019 @ 11:52 am

    Agreed 100%. Of course the President of the USA is demanding impeachment for a US Senator who criticized him, which is utterly unconstitutional. It’s not like in the Reagan days where the president recovers from being shot like a champ and calls for us to be an ideal and example. Trump was in a porno mag praising the strength of China’s tienanmen square massacre.

    I’d like to meet you halfway and just drop the US Politics aspect, but there’s a reason Russia and China are worse today than they were even with Obama.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  22. The United States does not endorse this attack

    I think that as soon as Trump made the decision to withdraw American troops, he endorsed the attack. And as soon as he got off the phone with Erogdan, he endorsed the attack.

    Dana (05f22b)

  23. The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea. There are no American soldiers in the area.” 1

    And why would Turkey care whether the U.S. thinks it’s a bad idea, when the decision to pull American soldiers out of the region spoke more loudly and honestly than any words?

    To our allies caught in a soon to be war zone, these words – There are no American soldiers in the area – must be some of the most devastating and demoralizing words a people can hear. That those American soldiers, albeit small in number, were able to hold the peace, also speaks loudly to the power and might of the U.S. military.

    Dana (05f22b)

  24. That those American soldiers, albeit small in number, were able to hold the peace, also speaks loudly to the power and might of the U.S. military.

    Great point.

    But that is a perception thing. We save a whole lot of our own lives by being perceived as tough. We can back it up… but not instantly and not without taking risks. Benghazi is a good example.

    Next time we need to stop thousands of ISIS I bet it takes something more like Operation Iraqi Freedom. And of course, there will be a next time. Had this sorted but it limited Putin so we had to get rid of it. Trump won’t feel a lick of guilt about it either. After all, he had his own personal Vietnam.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  25. There are no American soldiers in the area – must be some of the most devastating and demoralizing words a people can hear

    Probably music the the American soldiers ears. The latest Trump-hate seems to not care about them.

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  26. And this is the inevitable outcome as defenses are stretched thin with both the maintaining the detention of ISIS prisoners and as well as focusing on Turkey:

    The US partner in the fight against ISIS, the SDF has suspended their counter ISIS operations, according to a US official. The suspension of operations is because of their need to focus on the Turkish offensive

    Dana (05f22b)

  27. Dana… if we were to stay there to “protect the Kurds”… my question is this:

    For how long should we stay there?

    When do we leave?

    Are we prepared to carve out a state (or safe zone) from a legit country? (we should’ve done that in Iraq, but didn’t have the will).

    Did Congress really have a say in this? (this is my issue).

    I feel like no one is asking “okay… and then what next?”.

    whembly (51f28e)

  28. Of all the things evangelicals could criticize Trump on, they choose THIS?

    Gryph (08c844)

  29. Its a policy issue, meanwhile at this time you all were agog over the whole khashoggi matter, as if that was the worse thing. Turkey iran and russia form an axis against egypt jordan israel and the gulf states sans qatar.

    narciso (d1f714)

  30. Of all the things evangelicals could criticize Trump on, they choose THIS?

    Gryph

    It is pretty funny when it you put like that. The USA has never had a sleazier slimier president. Debate a Trump fan long enough and the justification they give will be nihilism (who cares if he’s moral… if he’s on our side).

    I’ll give them one thing: the religious right needs those Supreme Court nominations, and Trump gave them that. Since we live in the craziest political times, I expect RBG to die on election day for a Lame Duck extravaganza.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  31. Right the guy who put a nambla supporter in the education department who extorted the sisters of the poor and hobby lobby,

    narciso (d1f714)

  32. No, she’ll go disco granny at the Warren party, and as the covered gurney leaves the ballroom floor, Hawaii’s returns will merit a recount due to ballot-blanking by dejected Tulsi partisans (she didnt nab the VP nom).

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  33. whembly,

    As I said the other day, what an absolute mess, and pointed out Cooke’s commentary that Congress has avoided, evaded, and all together abdicated its responsibility with regard to the lack of
    a coherent foreign policy:

    Donald Trump may be an unusually ignorant and capricious president, but he is by no means alone in enjoying an almost completely free hand in the realm of foreign policy. For decades now — under both Democrats and Republicans — we have been moving toward a settlement that permits the executive branch to decide, on a whim, where, when, and how we are at war — and even what constitutes “war” per se. Today, we can see why that is a bad idea. Today, by the same token, we can see why that settlement persists. What, exactly, are the parameters by which President Trump is supposed to make his decisions? Congress has not declared war in, or with, Syria, and it has not voted to end a declaration of war in, or with, Syria. It has not made it clear whether it considers that the situation in Syria falls neatly under its previous authorizations of force, or whether it believes that the president is in violation of them. Those who favor a more aggressive foreign policy have not made their case in debate, nor have those who disagree sought in any arena to rebut them. There has been no push for a clarifying statute, no attempt to increase or withdraw funding, and no talk of commendation or impeachment. Instead, those who were elected to make exactly these decisions have, as a class, happily consented to their own impotence. Congress, to borrow a phrase, has become a seraglio of eunuchs, which, terrified of weighing in on matters of life and death, prefers to gripe on TV, to complain on Twitter, and to beseech the executive from the safety of the stump, while doing nothing of any consequence in either direction.

    Why is our policy a mess? Our policy is a mess because we do not have one. Instead, we have an oft-changing emperor who makes it up as he goes along while everyone else gripes. Eight years ago, President Obama involved the United States in removing the government of Libya, without ever going to Congress. He faced no consequences for this in either direction. Why would President Trump expect to rely on the advice or direction of the legislature? Why would anyone?

    With regard to abandoning our allies, it seems to me that we have allies around the world, and often times they do the fighting on behalf of us. Abandoning them off comes at a high price:

    Even if you’re a principled non-interventionist, how does abandoning the Kurds advance the national interest? A key objective of non-interventionism is relying on allies to fight our enemies, so America doesn’t get bogged down in wars. What lesson will this betrayal send to existing and potential allies, now and in the future?

    And is potentially letting 11,000 ISIS prisoners run free so we can move 100 U.S. troops really what principled non-interventionism looks like? If it’s not, will the principled non-interventionists please speak up?

    Dana (05f22b)

  34. If dubya had not invaded iraq none of this would have happened. Had all the votes been counted in floriduh instead of stopped by republicans on supreme court and gore became president 9-11 and afganistan war would never have happened as gore unlike bush didn’t need a second “pearl harbor” as the neo-cons did to invade iraq.

    lany (1128c8)

  35. There are no American soldiers in the area – must be some of the most devastating and demoralizing words a people can hear

    Probably music the the American soldiers ears. The latest Trump-hate seems to not care about them.

    BuDuh (b9b9a0) — 10/9/2019 @ 12:22 pm

    Or perhaps the American soldiers who fought to push back ISIS and defeat them would feel that, by abandoning the Kurds and increasing the liklihood of ISIS prisoners breaking free, they are not cared about, nor the immense sacrifices they made were worth it. Further, would it really be music to those soldiers’ ears to see their work and sacrifice undone as a result of, not ending the war nor sending troops home, but a decision made by POTUS that goes directly against his military leadership and advisers, and that even loyal members of his own party are criticizing?

    Dana (05f22b)

  36. Let’s accept for the sake of argument that the USA shouldn’t get involved in the fight between ISIS and the Kurds. Shouldn’t we at least be honest about it? If we’re going to abandon the fight, should be promise to enforce a safe zone that con’s ISIS’s enemies into exposing themselves terribly? Doesn’t this kind of deception eventually force the US to fight without allies, exposing ourselves to greater casualties?

    Sure, the families of those 50 troops are probably glad to get them home (if they did go home). If you take that slice and ignore the big picture, Code Pink was right all along. Are we supposed to flip flop on this kind of basic stuff just because the president is erratic?

    Dustin (6d7686)

  37. Right the guy who put a nambla supporter in the education department who extorted the sisters of the poor and hobby lobby,

    narciso (d1f714) — 10/9/2019 @ 1:03 pm

    No idea what you’re referencing, but it’s amazing how there’s an example of Trump doing all the bad things we can name about democrats. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-former-miss-arizona-tasha-dixon-naked-undressed-backstage-howard-stern-a7357866.html

    Dustin (6d7686)

  38. Turkey on the attack. Who could have foreseen this?

    noel (f22371)

  39. Rand Paul 2015:

    Kentucky senator Rand Paul, perhaps the most prominent non-interventionist in Congress, said in 2015 that the United States should defeat ISIS by arming the Kurds and promising the Kurds their own country: “I think they would fight like hell if we promised them a country.”

    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/rand-paul-on-the-kurds-then-and-now/
    Damn straight they deserve their own country. They deserve it more Assad and any of their neighbors.
    And in 2019, Paul used his MD and gave himself a ball-ectomy.

    I stand with @realDonaldTrump today as he once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy.

    Paul Montagu (f9d74d)

  40. To put it bluntly, President Obama left Trump an intractable situation in northern Syria. Back in the mid-2010s, after President Obama dismissed the Islamic State as a “JV team,” his administration scrambled to address the very real ISIS threat that had fomented in Syria. They had a range of allies to choose from in Syria, but they chose to empower the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which has close ties with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group regarded as a terrorist organization by the United States, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European Union, United Kingdom, and Japan. The Obama administration helped to install the YPG along hundreds of miles of Syrian-Turkish border. 

    There are compelling arguments that suggest their decision was more broadly linked to the Obama administration’s wider pivot toward Iran and away from traditional American alliances, an assertion policy expert Michael Doran has posited here. Regardless of their motivations, the alliance created an impossible situation for Turkey. The Turks, justifiably or not, were never going to allow forces that they believed to be terrorist enablers to post up indefinitely across their border. Absent some alternative to address Turkey’s security concerns, military action was all but inevitable.

    To complicate the situation even more greatly, the Obama administration’s decision entangled us in the fate of the Syrian Kurds as never before. We threw our weight vociferously behind their cause and vice versa. In the process, they took enormous losses in battles that we had declared to the international community were absolutely critical to our national security. With the Syrian Kurds, we had become allies. And that means an enormous amount.

    This entire quagmire was emblematic of the untenable situation the Trump administration inherited from the Obama administration. Eventually, Turkish security concerns would have to be addressed, but those concerns stemmed unfortunately from Kurdish fighters who had fought with honor alongside our soldiers. 

    After several attempts to solve the problem, the Trump administration dispatched some of our most seasoned diplomats to the region to offer the Turks a choice between two options: they could cooperate with us, and in return, we would assist them in addressing their security concerns by setting up a “security mechanism”; or they could unilaterally plunge into Syria and target the Kurds under their own auspices, in which case they would be entirely on their own and bear the full brunt of the consequences. Those consequences would include, but not be limited to, a potential impasse with the Kurds, thousands of ISIS fighters released into the chaos, international disapprobation, and potentially U.S. sanctions.

    For anyone paying attention, this bifurcation of options always had been at the center of the Trump administration’s policy in northern Syria. Indeed, just a few months ago, the Pentagon set up a Joint Center with Turkey to give them access to intelligence, so they could be assured we were holding up our end of the bargain on the cooperative security mechanism.

    But, true to form, our firefighting media was not paying attention. Thus, when President Trump announced this past Sunday that he will pull American troops out of northern Syria — after a call with Erdogan that must have gone poorly, given that the call ended with a Turkish threat to finally invade Syria — a cast of characters on both the right and left expressed frustration and anger at the announcement, claiming we were abandoning the Kurds and gesturing toward prolonged stays in the region.

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/09/trump-gave-turkey-a-choice-on-syria-cooperate-with-the-u-s-productively-or-risk-catastrophe/

    Ted Cruz’s sensible reaction is at the link as well.

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  41. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. You sly dog. I’ll bet you never thought this would be so easy, did ya?

    noel (f22371)

  42. Further would it really be music to those soldiers’ ears to see their work and sacrifice undone as a result of, not ending the war nor sending troops home, but a decision made by POTUS that goes directly against his military leadership and advisers, and that even loyal members of his own party are criticizing?

    I am really confused on your answer regarding “to what end.”

    Do you know of a specific strategy that Trump’s “military leadership and advisers” had prepared that would have been music to the ears of US soldiers?

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  43. Erdogans economy is spent, the opposition is making headway and the sdf is formidable.

    narciso (d1f714)

  44. He won’t let you see his taxes. He refused to cooperate with the Mueller probe. And now, he is stonewalling Congress on an impeachment inquiry.

    Somebody once said…. “You see the mob takes the Fifth, If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth?”

    Who was it? Who said that? I’m almost there. I will remember shortly. Hmm. Nope.

    noel (f22371)

  45. Sorry. Commented on wrong article.

    noel (f22371)

  46. BuDuh (b9b9a0) — 10/9/2019 @ 1:38 pm

    Say, what was the last name you commented here under? Cruz Supporter?

    I am really confused on your answer regarding “to what end.”

    Trump promised to fight ISIS via allies. ISIS=the guys who flew planes into the World Trade Center. We were succeeding at this with 50 troops and some willpower.

    Why did Trump support this if it’s such a bad idea? I am really confused.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  47. Say, what was the last name you commented here under? Cruz Supporter?

    Either you have forgotten that Patterico weighed in on this already, or this is malicious. He already informed you that I have only ever commented under this name.

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  48. 41… very interesting info at the link, BuDuh. Cruz’s comments and reactions to them, as well.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  49. @Dana… yes, it’s a mess and yes we will pay for it in the future with respect to our ability to form allies.

    However, if we don’t have clear objectives and the full public support, it puts our armed forces in a very compromised position.

    If we cannot answer why we’re there and for how long (as in, a clear winning objective), our armed forces shouldn’t be put in that hotbed of a mess.

    However, I’m on team Kurds here. I do wish there’s a better policy here… I’m just not sure what that looks like.

    If it is our responsibility, the our leaders need to articulate that for public support.

    whembly (51f28e)

  50. So more fallout from Obama’s dealings with those corksoakers in Iran, etc. Wonderful.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  51. How about less headlines from sources, like mr. Henry frese fmrly of the dia, and those who would print like miss macias and miss kube

    narciso (d1f714)

  52. The pesh merga are tough, unlike the folks lindsay lavished 500 million on, they ran like scalded cats

    narciso (d1f714)

  53. I know its not up to the standards of the beast or just security, being a first hand source

    https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/press-conference/617936.html

    narciso (d1f714)

  54. A Ukrainian source using English, narciso!?!? An obvious fake, the Bidens have done nothing wrong.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  55. This entire quagmire was emblematic of the untenable situation the Trump administration inherited from the Obama administration.

    Ms. Davidson is spinning. Obama f*cked up when he withdrew from Iraq, but he handed Trump a win in Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State was losing badly when Trump took office. All he had to do was stick with the plan, but he couldn’t do that.
    As far as getting the Kurds involved, they’re the most effective fighters

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  56. I know its not up to the standards of the beast or just security, being a first hand source

    You’re right, it’s not up to the standards. Interfax-Ukraine is a Moscow-based pro-Russian news agency. Nobody else has reported on this “story” because Ukrainians know they’re full of sh*t. Rosemont Seneca Partners is Hunter’s firm, not Joe’s, so it’s not news that money from Burisma went there. But those Moscow-based “news” agencies can’t be bothered with little details like that. They’re too busy churning out their pro-Putin propaganda.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  57. Say, what was the last name you commented here under? Cruz Supporter?

    Either you have forgotten that Patterico weighed in on this already, or this is malicious. He already informed you that I have only ever commented under this name.

    BuDuh (b9b9a0) — 10/9/2019 @ 1:59 pm

    I take it by your oblique non-denial that I’m correct.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  58. and he’s an independent parliament member, of course the kyev post, the ukrinform, any local site, that a third rate stringer analyst would reference,

    narciso (d1f714)

  59. “We cannot leave our troops in foreign theaters forever.” – Ted Cruz

    Really Senator Yesbut?? As long as you keep borrowing from China to finance a protectorate for corporate interests, of course you can– see Germany, or Japan, or South Korea–etc., etc., for details.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  60. The ‘bring them home’ argument made sense in some areas, but with the Kurds we only had a few dozen people there. They were leveraging power and people incredibly well. Given that we’ll have to send a lot more people later, and we barely had anyone there now, this just isn’t a good faith argument. Are we bringing home everyone in South Korea and Japan? On every ship with more than 50 sailors? Why not?

    Dustin (6d7686)

  61. @28. That is pretty funny; religious zealots have always been an irrational lot.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  62. @60

    Ted “Carpet Bomb ISIS” Cruz? No way.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  63. The “bring them home” argument is not an argument. It’s a LIE. Trump is not bringing any American troops home. He is giving a license to the Turks to slaughter Kurds with a promise that we will not interfere. He is also giving a green light to the Syrian government and Russian troops to move in without any fear of confrontation with the United States. He is a treacher to the Kurds and a traitor to America.

    nk (dbc370)

  64. @62- postscript; re#28: wait ’til they learn NASA has discovered life on Mars. That should blow a few fuses. [Follow the water.]

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  65. what I discovered is how well connected burisma, is in European capitals, represented by the annual conference in Monaco, hosted by prince albert, which features fmr german foreign ministers, Italian prime ministers et al, figures on the left, although there is a randy corrupt wet tory named Pritchard, who is part of the organization that sends elections observers here,

    narciso (d1f714)

  66. Per the Dept. of Defense, the troops are being moved out of the way:

    Unfortunately, Turkey has chosen to act unilaterally. As a result we have moved the U.S. forces in northern Syria out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety. We have made no changes to our force presence in Syria at this time.”

    That doesn’t sound like they’re coming home to me. Further, it would only stand to reason that, if they were indeed being sent home, Trump would be crowing about it because it would be part of fulfilling his promise to reduce U.S. forces abroad.

    Dana (05f22b)

  67. it’s a little more complicated then that,

    https://heavy.com/news/2019/10/henry-kyle-frese/

    between this duo and ali Watkins is their honest reporting on the national security front,

    narciso (d1f714)

  68. The how dare you sect goes off the rails daily.

    mg (8cbc69)

  69. and he’s an independent parliament member, of course the kyev post, the ukrinform, any local site, that a third rate stringer analyst would reference,

    Your mouth is running off ahead of your brain, narciso. Interfax-Ukraine claimed that Joe Biden is involved with Rosement Seneca Partners, which is a lie.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  70. he handed Trump a win in Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State was losing badly when Trump took office. 

    I’m not seeing that in the timeline:

    https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/timeline-the-rise-spread-and-fall-the-islamic-state

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  71. Good word, treacher. I won’t call Trump a traitor, but I have repeatedly said that he is unpatriotic and un-American, and that his motto should be Trump First, America Second.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  72. This from Jennifer Griffin Fox News:

    I just spoke to a distraught US Special Forces soldier who is among the 1000 or so US troops in Syria tonight who is serving alongside the SDF Kurdish forces. It was one of the hardest phone calls I have ever taken.

    “I am ashamed for the first time in my career.”

    This veteran US Special forces soldier has trained indigenous forces on multiple continents. He is on the frontlines tonight and said they are witnessing Turkish atrocities.

    “Turkey is not doing what it agreed to. It’s horrible,” this military source on the ground told me.

    “We met every single security agreement. The Kurds met every single agreement. There was NO threat to the Turks – NONE – from this side of the border.” “This is insanity,” the concerned US service member told me. “”I don’t know what they call atrocities but they are happening.”

    This American soldier told me the Kurds have not left their positions guarding the ISIS prisoners. In fact “they prevented a prison break last night without us.”
    “They are not abandoning our side (yet).”
    The Kurds are “pleading for our support.” We are doing “nothing.”

    Troops on the ground in Syria and their commanders were “surprised” by the decision Sunday night.
    Of the President’s decision: “He doesn’t understand the problem. He doesn’t understand the repercussions of this. Erdogan is an Islamist, not a level headed actor.”

    Acc to this US soldier on the ground tonight in Syria: “The Kurds are as close to Western thinking in the Middle East as anyone. “It’s a shame. It’s horrible.” “This is not helping the ISIS fight.” Re: ISIS prisoners: “Many of them will be free in the coming days and weeks.”

    This US Special Forces soldier wanted me to know: “The Kurds are sticking by us. No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us.” Disappointed in the decisions coming from their senior leaders.

    Dana (05f22b)

  73. How is  “I have only ever commented under this name” an oblique non-denial?

    This is a personal attack that is not only unclever, it shows unseriousness. Maybe the moderators would like to apply the rules?

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  74. Erdogan is an Islamist,

    Everybody keeps forgetting that.

    nk (dbc370)

  75. well you all forgot about it, last year at this time, along with Qatar, which we are disengaging from, they sourced 80% of the khashoggi kerfluffle, which isn’t surprising they stick up for an Ilkwan,

    narciso (d1f714)

  76. “I am ashamed for the first time in my career.”

    But buduh said that they would like this move!

    I guess it turns out the people who sign up to defend our country from ISIS are actually fans of … doing that.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  77. “Turkey is not doing what it agreed to. It’s horrible,” this military source on the ground told me.

    “We met every single security agreement. The Kurds met every single agreement. There was NO threat to the Turks – NONE – from this side of the border.” “This is insanity,” the concerned US service member told me. “”I don’t know what they call atrocities but they are happening.”

    That sounds like a great environment to leave 50 US soldiers. To what end? Congress declares war on Turkey?

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  78. This is a personal attack that is not only unclever, it shows unseriousness. Maybe the moderators would like to apply the rules?

    BuDuh (b9b9a0) — 10/9/2019 @ 4:07 pm

    I agree I’m not being clever, though in my defense, I don’t see any need to be. I do not understand why you think it’s a personal attack. Obviously I interpret your non-denial normally. Not sure why you didn’t expect this.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  79. That sounds like a great environment to leave 50 US soldiers.

    Which Trump created! Trump created the environment. He gave Erdogan permission to invade and promised the United States would not interfere. And he is still leaving American troops in harm’s way.

    WTF! Trump didn’t get this much coddling from his parents as he’s getting from his butt gerbils. At least his father put him in a military school in an effort to make a man out of him. A futile effort.

    nk (dbc370)

  80. That sounds like a great environment to leave 50 US soldiers

    They are heroes for signing up to face risk, lose dear friends, all to stop ISIS. When Obama abandoned the cause in Iraq, I thought about my friends who didn’t come back. It wasn’t “music to my ears” as you describe it.

    This need of the same folks to defend literally anything Trump does, even when he’s blatantly flip flopping, and never admit a flaw in Trump no matter how they have to twist, is truly the most amazing thing about the Trump presidency.

    Trump had these guys fighting ISIS for a long time. Fighting ISIS was actually a significant aspect of his candidacy. Why was that a good thing, something the same people defending this move in this thread were praising not long ago (those who kept the same handle anyway)? How does it just so happen that everything Trump does is just right, and everyone criticizing him must be shut down? Obviously because a lot of Trump’s fans are crazy hacks. We all know it, but it’s really fascinating to me. Of all the US Presidents to get this kind of loyalty, it’s that one?!?

    Dustin (6d7686)

  81. This is not helping the ISIS fight.” Re: ISIS prisoners: “Many of them will be free in the coming days and weeks.”

    The timeline I posted at 4:02 notes everytime the Turkish military engaged and killed ISIS fighters. Why is it assumed that they would let the ISIS prisoners escape with their lives?

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  82. well the turks allowed sanctuary to Islamic state and nusra front, in the past, including access to medical care, why are they still in nato,

    narciso (d1f714)

  83. How is “I have only ever commented under this name” an oblique non-denial?

    Because you didn’t say it. You quoted someone else saying it about you (probably with some qualification you didn’t include, not that I really know or recall or even care).

    You could have just said “nope!” Instead you said “well he said I wasn’t! and how DARE you ask me! RULES!!!” Seems like you’re both touchy and non-denialish.

    You’re also clearly the same dude. A statistical analysis of your comments shows a 99.7% correlation in punctuation and syntax.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  84. I do not understand why you think it’s a personal attack.

    Because I have never commented under any other name. If I were to always engage your posts with “weren’t you the guy who posted as happyfeet,” would you understand the personal nature of using such a falshood strictly as an ad hominem device?

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  85. Why is it assumed that they would let the ISIS prisoners escape with their lives?

    You do know what the I in ISIS stands for, right? It’s very relevant to an understanding of Turkish policy these days.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  86. You quoted someone else saying it about you (probably with some qualification you didn’t include, not that I really know or recall or even care).

    What are you talking about? You don’t make any sense.

    I will reward your personal attack effort and quit commenting here again.

    BuDuh (b9b9a0)

  87. On second thought you guys don’t really sound anything alike anyway.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  88. No doubt, it does appear to be a questionable move, and most of what I’ve read states as much, although in more descriptive terms. The Kurds will have to stand alone at some point and the US isn’t the only nation with an interest in keeping ISIS constrained.

    The cost effective way to do this, of course, would be to show these ISIS prisoners – every single one of them – the same mercy they showed the prisoners they took from the start of their activities.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  89. Agree with Haiku for once. If we just executed all the ISIS guys and then came home, that would be something. I don’t think we should be a murderous nation, but I do think the current strategy was often too gentle and takes too long, with nation building we’ll never persevere long enough like we had 50 years ago.

    Polls show a 5% jump in GOP support for removing Trump.

    That means most Americans want Trump removed from office. And now the Senators have a pretty good reason.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  90. yes, but then the western Europeans would complain, like the ones who had an Charlie Hebdo attacker on staff at the highest levels of domestic security, I know news down the memory hole,

    narciso (d1f714)

  91. So basically Erdogan said he was sending people in and instead of calling his bluff, Trump capitulated and ran away. Wonderful.

    Can you imagine what it would have been like if he had been President on 9/11? “I called up the leader of the Taliban and he said that they didn’t have any al quaeda in their country. I know the CIA says different, but they are deep-state traitors so I asked him and he said there weren’t any. What can I do? Plus they make really great blankets there. Really nice, excellent blankets. Great trading partner. No Al quaeda.” OBL would be drinking a really nice sparkling cider in Dubai tonight.

    Nic (896fdf)

  92. Everyone in the USA should start calling this the “New Turkish Genocide” and comment on how it is barely 100 years since their last one.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  93. This is an interesting take from an ME POLICY specialist…

    ”Over the last few days, a host of former Obama officials have been repeating this story, which is highly misleading, to say the least. Rice and her colleagues would have us believe that Team Obama created a highly effective plan for stabilizing the Middle East by working through groups like the YPG, and Trump, mercurial and impulsive, is throwing it all away by seeking a rapprochement with Ankara. That’s nonsense. In fact, the close relationship with the YPG was a quick fix that bequeathed to Trump profound strategic dilemmas. Trump inherited from Obama a dysfunctional strategy for countering ISIS, one that ensured ever-greater turmoil in the region and placed American forces in an impossible position.

    To be sure, the YPG are good fighters, and the American soldiers who have fought alongside them hold them in very high esteem. But the decision to make them the primary ally for defeating ISIS came at a hidden cost: the alienation of one of America’s closest allies. The YPG is the Syrian wing of the PKK, the Kurdish separatist group in Turkey.”

    https://nypost.com/2019/10/08/how-obamas-team-set-up-trumps-syrian-dilemma/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  94. Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy was bad.

    James Buchanan’s foreign policy was worse (once the South seceded).

    But Trump doesn’t HAVE a foreign policy. He has Calvinball.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  95. But Obama! But Clinton! But Chicago!

    nk (dbc370)

  96. Can you imagine what it would have been like if he had been President on 9/11?

    I have the tallest building in New York guys! And I will ruin the economy of anyone who takes credit for 9/11! Which my friends in Russia tell me is Georgia!

    Also, this betrayal started about a month ago when the administration tricked the Kurds with the safe zone stuff. That was an actual devious plan. John Bolton resigned a month ago tomorrow. I bet this is a really big part of what he’s going to want to write about.

    Soon, one way or another, Trump will be back on the sidelines, bashing the GOP, and some, hopefully most, of his fans will be acting like they never liked him. Surreal.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  97. Good grief!

    President Trump said Wednesday that it would be “easy” for the United States to form new alliances if Syrian Kurds leave the fight against the Islamic State to fend off a Turkish attack, noting that “they didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us in Normandy” and were only interested in fighting for “their land.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/trump-says-little-as-his-gop-allies-condemn-turkeys-incursion-into-syria/2019/10/09/c46210f6-eaab-11e9-9306-47cb0324fd44_story.html

    nk (dbc370)

  98. Da Cubz… da Bearz… da Bullschiff…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  99. 27: Those are all excellent questions. And here are some more:

    1. Do we (meaning the country, not armchair warriors prepared to send US troops everywhere at the snap of some fingers) prepared to oppose Turkey on the ground to save the Kurds?

    as part of 1, what percent of the 10,00 troops there are combat troops, versus, MP’s, cooks, clerks, comm specialists, etc. If past wars are a guide, barely 1,000 (if that) can be considered combat troops.

    as part of that, how many more (total)do we need to oppose Turkey on the ground?

    2. Do we kick Turkey out of NATO to protect the Kurds? (what happens to our airbase there?)

    3. Will the EU agree with those 2? Or just stand by as usual?

    4. What is the long term interest of the US, esp. as it relates to containing Putin? Being with Turkey or the Kurds?

    If the sum of all those is “Damn it, I guess we stick with the Turks,” then doesn’t all the outrage over what Trump has done boil down to more of the same?

    “We don’t like what he did, he did it abruptly, inelegantly, he did not pay ritualistic tribute to “our allies, the Kurds,” and we can’t see how it could be done differently, but it offends us.”

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  100. “Can you imagine what it would have been like if he had been President on 9/11?”
    Nic (896fdf) — 10/9/2019 @ 4:59 pm

    Yeah, sure dodged a bullet there.

    Instead we got one of those WMD/invasion thingies. Now, we just happen to have ISIS, Syria chaos, and the Kurds — by sheer coincidence!

    BTW, if Bush Jr thought hating Trump would buy him any friends, it’s really not working out:
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephenlaconte/mark-ruffalo-ellen-degeneres-george-bush-kindness

    Munroe (53beca)

  101. Trump only fights Americans.

    nk (dbc370)

  102. @100

    1. You don’t trick the Kurds into leaving themselves vulnerable by pledging your support and then getting them to leave the border unmanned.

    2-4. You tell Erdogan you aren’t moving your people out and any attack against your people is an attack against the US. Then you stand on the Kurd side of the border and stare him down. Erdogan would not have crossed if we had taken a stand.

    Trump either got backed down by a bluff or he sold the Kurds down the river for something we don’t know about yet.

    Nic (896fdf)

  103. Some time in May or June, the USA And Kurds begin negotiating about a Safe Zone.

    June 17, Iran blows up a Japanese Tanker,

    June 20, Iran shoots down a drone. We have a retaliation strike underway that is called off for completely mysterious reasons.

    July 17, Iran hijacks Adrian Darya-1 Tanker, which goes to Syria. We don’t do anything about it.

    September 4, the Kurds agree to a Safe Zone. There’s a massive withdrawal from strategic border positions.

    September 7, John Bolton accuses Iran of funding Russia ally Assad, claims the tanker was diverted there, not far from Tartus, a permanent Russian naval base in Syria.

    September 8, we learn that Trump invited the ISIS allied Taliban to Camp David

    September 10, John Bolton tweets “the Iranian regime are working overtime on deception.”

    September 10 is also when Trump claimed he fired Bolton.

    October 8, Trump abandons the Kurds in Syria. Turkey begins an operation to quote “clear” the kurds from NE Syria.

    October 9, the Kurds abandon their effort to fight ISIS because they can’t face them and the Turkish military at the same time. Russia’s 63,000 soldiers in the area are the only major military presence.

    I think Trump was under the impression he was brokering some kind of huge peace with Iran, the Taliban, and the Turkish, based on advice from his Russian friends. I think they made a deal with the Kurds to pull back from its positions and waited a calendar month before backstabbing them. I think Trump doesn’t even understand that he got played, and Bolton bailed on the naive plan so it wouldn’t define his career.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  104. @102 It sounds like you are saying we should’ve let Al Quaeda get away with killing thousands of Americans. Is that what you are saying?

    Nic (896fdf)

  105. Too many of those dates show weird action or inaction on our part. It all seems to be coming directly from Trump himself. I wouldn’t be surprised if Putin went ahead and further destablized our government when he has no use for Trump. It would only make them look more powerful if they did reveal a lot of this was their doing.

    Instead we got one of those WMD/invasion thingies.

    Iraqis voting. Which under their religious views, leads to a lot of dumb things, but over time, they would have worked it out. Over time, a more accountable government would have produced an advanced nation. But that would have taken decades, and Obama wasn’t going to let that happen, so now everyone just knows the whole effort was pointless. I guess it was.

    If you really want to fix the region, they really do need democracy. I know we can’t succeed at forcing it on them, but that’s mainly a result of our partisanship.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  106. 104

    “1. You don’t trick the Kurds into leaving themselves vulnerable by pledging your support and then getting them to leave the border unmanned.

    a. a US pledge of support at one time is thus a permanent, non-revocable pledge by the US for all time, then?

    2-4. You tell Erdogan you aren’t moving your people out and any attack against your people is an attack against the US. Then you stand on the Kurd side of the border and stare him down. Erdogan would not have crossed if we had taken a stand.

    a. so we prefer a battlefield ally against a treaty ally, and hope you’re right that Turkey won’t, act;

    b. We feed in kids from Iowa and Los Angeles etc., if you’re wrong. And congratulate ourselves on being in another armed conflict of no apparent value to the US.

    c. Sounds tough. Sounds dangerous.

    d. PS: Have a look at the patience of the US for such events: Vietnam; Iraq….the public will not support them very long. And we don’t have the draft anymore. And sorry, I was never asked if I want to devote US dollars to an “ally” forever, or lose Turkey as a NATO member for the Kurds.

    Trump either got backed down by a bluff or he sold the Kurds down the river for something we don’t know about yet.”

    a. I think anyone looking at the relative value of the Kurds, versus Turkey, and the practicality and cost–political and financial– of facing off against Turkey, can do it in their head.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  107. @108

    1a. It’s been less than 2 months. I think we could probably have kept it up for just a little while longer, you know.

    2a. If they are an ally, they won’t act. If they act, they aren’t an ally and it’s better to know it now than later.

    2b. This is always a risk in every diplomatic move that is even slightly risky. If you aren’t a coward, you hold the line.

    2c. When you play with the big boys, you have to wear your big boy pants.

    2d. If Turkey chose to attack a fellow NATO ally over the Kurds, that would be their choice. And if they did, they wouldn’t be much of an ally.

    extra a. You do it right, you get both. Now we will have lost the Kurds, Turkey (TURKEY!) thinks they can walk over us and the entire ducking world thinks we are dishonorable cowards (and they’d be right). Nice play. For Turkey.

    Nic (896fdf)

  108. When Trump is impeached and removed, I think it would be very wise to lock him up incommunicado in Gitmo so he won’t be able to give all our nuclear codes to Putin or Xi or Kim or all of them and who knows whom else. That’s what I think.

    nk (dbc370)

  109. HFM, you are basing your views on the idea that “Turkey in NATO” is a good thing. I tend to disagree, especially with an authoritarianism Islamist who is hostile to our other major ally in the area (Israel).

    I’d just tell the Kurds they can have their state if they accept the fact that none of it will come from Turkish ruled areas. And tell the Turks they will just have to live with the Kurds as neighbors, period.

    Kishnevi (31ec7b)

  110. I was curious to see if there’s been any reaction from the Israelis. So far none…whether because of Yom Kippur or other factors (like the fact they’re still trying to put together a government coalition).

    But there was this
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/live-stream-of-german-synagogue-attack-shows-brutal-yet-bumbling-assault/

    Kishnevi (31ec7b)

  111. a. a US pledge of support at one time is thus a permanent, non-revocable pledge by the US for all time, then?

    Maybe Trump could keep his word for more than a few weeks? The timing is so close and helps Turkey clear out the NE with the Kurds having abandoned strategic positions. Clearly the “safe zone” promise was made in bad faith. It was a deceptive promise of truce. You can’t defend that. These people fought and many of them died fighting ISIS with our promise of alliance, and we used the trust build in that war to screw them.

    Time for what’s left of the GOP to ask Pelosi to vote on impeachment ASAP. Let’s get this over with.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  112. I don’t think people realize how big the NBA is in Turkey. Can’t jeopardize that over some middling Kurds.

    Munroe (53beca)

  113. Describing Jerry Falwell Jr. as a “prominent evangelical leader” is a hoot. He has no religious degree, but is lawyer who has been involved in self-dealing and nepotism with university funds and property, as well as some very unChristian activities with his wife. He is also a practicing hypocrite:
    According to several people with direct knowledge of the situation, Falwell—the president of a conservative Christian college that frowns upon co-ed dancing (Liberty students can receive demerits if seen doing it) and prohibits alcohol use (for which students can be expelled)—was angry that photos of him clubbing made it up online.

    No wonder he and Trump are best buddies.
    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/09/09/jerry-falwell-liberty-university-loans-227914

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/09/10/jerry-falwell-nightclub-photos-miami-228054

    Rip Murdock (ad4321)

  114. I don’t think people realize how big the NBA is in Turkey. Can’t jeopardize that over some middling Kurds.

    Munroe (53beca) — 10/9/2019 @ 7:23 pm

    LOL

    That was a good one.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  115. “HFM, you are basing your views on the idea that “Turkey in NATO” is a good thing. I tend to disagree, especially with an authoritarianism Islamist who is hostile to our other major ally in the area (Israel).”

    Although they’ve been mostly a disappointment under Erdogan’s leadership, still probably a damn sight more valuable than Greece in the alliance.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  116. After the Kurds, who will be betrayed next?

    …. President Trump’s abrupt order to withdraw American troops there and abandon Kurdish forces, who have been stalwart American allies against the Islamic State, set off clanging alarm bells among officials in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
    And for a simple reason: If such a betrayal could befall the Kurds, Israelis from across the political spectrum are suddenly asking, what prevents the same from befalling another staunch American ally?

    “A knife in our back,” screamed the headline over a column by Shimon Shiffer in Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s biggest mainstream paper. “The conclusion we draw needs to be unequivocal: Trump has become unreliable for Israel. He can no longer be trusted,” the column read.

    Israeli fears have nothing to do with Turkey, and everything to do with Iran.
    ……
    The White House appeared reliable as long as the United States was imposing economic sanctions on Iran, and threatening the country with retaliation if it resorted to violence in response.

    But the White House has not been quite so dependable more recently, Israelis say.

    The Trump administration’s failure to hit back at Iran after repeated strikes on oil tankers and Saudi oil fields that were widely, if not undeniably, attributed to Tehran.

    He has undermined the credibility of American military threats, Israeli analysts said.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/08/world/middleeast/israel-us-syria-kurds.html

    Rip Murdock (ad4321)

  117. Ralph Reed’s new book:

    According to the book’s description, obtained by POLITICO, the original title for the book was “Render to God and Trump,” a reference to the well-known biblical verse, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” The message from Jesus in Matthew 22, has been used in contemporary politics to justify obedience to government — or in the case of Reed’s book, to Trump.
    In his book, Reed will “persuasively” argue evangelicals have a duty to defend the incumbent Republican leader against “the stridently anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and pro-abortion agenda of the progressive left,” according to the description.

    He will also rebut claims by religious and nonreligious critics that white evangelical Protestants “revealed themselves to be political prostitutes and hypocrites” by overwhelmingly backing Trump, a twice-divorced, admitted philanderer, in 2016.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/09/ralph-reed-trump-book-040920

    Rip Murdock (ad4321)

  118. I’d like to meet you halfway and just drop the US Politics aspect, but there’s a reason Russia and China are worse today than they were even with Obama.

    I’d be happy to do so if it is done in good faith. Do you think Ukraine agrees with you?

    NJRob (ba88af)

  119. I don’t think people realize how big the NBA is in Turkey. Can’t jeopardize that over some middling Kurds.

    It’s so huge that Erdogan has harrassed Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter, and accused him of “terror ties”.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  120. Sac Kings used to have Hedo Türkoğlu, a damn good player.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  121. Rip Murdock (ad4321) — 10/9/2019 @ 7:38 pm

    Not before 11/2020. Kurds don’t vote in US elections, but Americans who have made aliyah do vote, and while small in number, they are generally very proTrump and have strong influence on Americans Jews who haven’t made aliyah.

    Kishnevi (7595ea)

  122. Note to Pat Robertson. Romans 13:1 says all leaders are appointed by God. This is one of those “uncomfortable” verses, because if “all” means all, that means even the most evil and corrupt have been chosen by the Almighty. The “Heavenly mandate” isn’t decided by any human, least of all cash-grabbing self-promoting televangelists.

    JRH (52aed3)

  123. I suspect, in fact I’m almost certain, that St. Paul was trying to save the most zealous of the early Christians from Nero’s tunica molesta, an old Roman punishment for arsonists which became notorious under Nero for its use against Christians who may or may have not desecrated pagan shrines.

    nk (dbc370)

  124. Paul had a network of informants in the imperial court

    narciso (d1f714)

  125. That was the conjecture in taylor caldwells novel, i dont quite buy it

    narciso (d1f714)

  126. Sac Kings used to have Hedo Türkoğlu, a damn good player.

    I initially thought he was second-rate version of Stoyakovich, but Turkoglu has had a good NBA career.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  127. Erdogans persecuting kanter was obvious last yeae

    narciso (d1f714)

  128. @125. Interesting, nk. my Trump-loving relatives love to use that verse to justify everything Trump does and says :)

    JRH (52aed3)

  129. I mad for this gay((

    Alex (e8b4e7)

  130. You can also remind them of the older Scripture:

    The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
    Proverbs 16:4 King James Version (KJV)

    As well as Christ’s admonition to the Apostles

    Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
    Matthew 10:16 (KJV)

    to help them better understand what St. Paul might have intended.

    nk (dbc370)

  131. While the left uses the church to sell abortion, singlepayer and disarmament, and the pontiff cant get a clue even if it was given for free?

    narciso (d1f714)

  132. Be better, not bitter.

    DRJ (15874d)

  133. 82. BuDuh (b9b9a0) — 10/9/2019 @ 4:26 pm

    Why is it assumed that they would let the ISIS prisoners escape with their lives?

    It’s more scary than the idea of Turkey murdering prisoners of war. For a similar reason, it’s argued that letting Syrian refugees languish in refugee camps means that children growing up there will become terrorists. There need to be several more steps for that to happen.

    Sammy Finkelman (5b302e)

  134. 93. Kevin M (19357e) — 10/9/2019 @ 4:59 pm

    Everyone in the USA should start calling this the “New Turkish Genocide” and comment on how it is barely 100 years since their last one.

    The great and powerful Wizard of Oz has told us that if Turkey goes too far, and he’s not letting them know what exactly that is, he’ll wreck their economy, and now he told us how:

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1181553630354259968

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump

    We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters. Likewise our relationship with Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good. Turkey already has a large Kurdish population and fully….

    5:55 AM – 8 Oct 2019

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1181553636444426240

    Donald J. Trump

    ….understands that while we only had 50 soldiers remaining in that section of Syria, and they have been removed, any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency. We are helping the Kurds financially/weapons!

    5:55 AM – 8 Oct 2019

    Sammy Finkelman (5b302e)

  135. https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/10/turkey-and-the-kurds-its-more-complicated-than-you-think/

    All of this.

    We are grateful for the Kurds’ help, and we should try to help them in return. But no one wants to risk war with Turkey.

    On Monday, President Trump announced that a contingent of fewer than 100 U.S. troops in Syria was being moved away from Kurdish-held territory on the border of Turkey. The move effectively green-lighted military operations by Turkey against the Kurds, which have now commenced.

    Some U.S. military officials went public with complaints about being “blindsided.” The policy cannot have been a surprise, though. The president has made no secret that he wants out of Syria, where we now have about 1,000 troops (down from over 2,000 last year). More broadly, he wants our forces out of the Middle East. He ran on that position. I’ve argued against his “endless wars” tropes, but his stance is popular. As for Syria specifically, many of the president’s advisers think we should stay, but he has not been persuaded.

    The president’s announcement of the redeployment of the Syrian troops came on the heels of a phone conversation with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This, obviously, was a mistake, giving the appearance (and not for the first time) that Trump is taking cues from Ankara’s Islamist strongman. As has become rote, the inevitable criticism was followed by head-scratching tweets: The president vows to “totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey,” which “I’ve done before” (huh?), if Turkey takes any actions “that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits.” We can only sigh and say it will be interesting to see how the president backs up these haughty threats now that Erdogan has begun his invasion.

    All that said, the president at least has a cogent position that is consistent with the Constitution and public opinion. He wants U.S. forces out of a conflict in which America’s interests have never been clear, and for which Congress has never approved military intervention. I find that sensible — no surprise, given that I have opposed intervention in Syria from the start (see, e.g., here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). The stridency of the counterarguments is matched only by their selectiveness in reciting relevant facts.

    I thus respectfully dissent from our National Review editorial.

    President Trump, it says, is “making a serious mistake” by moving our forces away from what is described as “Kurdish territory”; the resulting invasion of superior Turkish forces will “kill American allies” while “carving out a zone of dominance” that will serve further to “inflame and complicate” the region.

    Where to begin? Perhaps with the basic fact that there is no Kurdish territory. There is Syrian territory on Turkey’s border that the Kurds are occupying — a situation that itself serves to “inflame and complicate” the region for reasons I shall come to. Ethnic Kurds do not have a state. They live in contiguous parts of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Most are integrated into these countries, but many are separatists.

    The Kurds have been our allies against ISIS, but it is not for us that they have fought. They fight ISIS for themselves, with our help. They are seeking an autonomous zone and, ultimately, statehood. The editorial fails to note that the Kurds we have backed, led by the YPG (People’s Protection Units), are the Syrian branch of the PKK (the Kurdistan Worker’s Party) in Turkey. The PKK is a militant separatist organization with Marxist-Leninist roots. Although such informed observers as Michael Rubin contend that the PKK has “evolved,” it remains a formally designated foreign terrorist organization under U.S. law. While our government materially supports the PKK’s confederates, ordinary Americans have been prosecuted for materially supporting the PKK.

    The PKK has a long history of conducting terrorist attacks, but their quarrel is not with us. So why has our government designated them as terrorists? Because they have been fighting an insurgent war against Turkey for over 30 years. Turkey remains our NATO ally, even though the Erdogan government is one of the more duplicitous and anti-Western actors in a region that teems with them — as I’ve detailed over the years (see, e.g., here, here, here, here, and in my 2012 book, Spring Fever). The Erdogan problem complicates but does not change the fact that Turkey is of great strategic significance to our security.

    While it is a longer discussion, I would be open to considering the removal of both the PKK from the terrorist list and Turkey from NATO. For now, though, the blunt facts are that the PKK is a terrorist organization and Turkey is our ally. These are not mere technicalities. Contrary to the editorial’s suggestion, our government’s machinations in Syria have not put just one of our allies in a bind. There are two allies in this equation, and our support for one has already vexed the other. The ramifications are serious, not least Turkey’s continued lurch away from NATO and toward Moscow.

    Without any public debate, the Obama administration in 2014 insinuated our nation into the Kurdish–Turk conflict by arming the YPG. To be sure, our intentions were good. ISIS had besieged the city of Kobani in northern Syria; but Turkey understandably regards the YPG as a terrorist organization, complicit in the PKK insurgency.

    That brings us to another non-technicality that the editors mention only in passing: Our intervention in Syria has never been authorized by Congress. Those of us who opposed intervention maintained that congressional authorization was necessary because there was no imminent threat to our nation. Contrary to the editorial’s suggestion, having U.S. forces “deter further genocidal bloodshed in northern Syria” is not a mission for which Americans support committing our men and women in uniform. Such bloodlettings are the Muslim Middle East’s default condition, so the missions would never end.

    A congressional debate should have been mandatory before we jumped into a multi-layered war, featuring anti-American actors and shifting loyalties on both sides. In fact, so complex is the situation that President Obama’s initial goal was to oust Syria’s Assad regime; only later came the pivot to fighting terrorists, which helped Assad. That is Syria: Opposing one set of America’s enemies only empowers another. More clear than what intervention would accomplish was the likelihood of becoming enmeshed, inadvertently or otherwise, in vicious conflicts of which we wanted no part — such as the notorious and longstanding conflict between Turks and Kurds.

    Barbaric jihadist groups such as ISIS (an offshoot of al-Qaeda) come into existence because of Islamic fundamentalism. But saying so remains de trop in Washington. Instead, we tell ourselves that terrorism emerges due to “vacuums” created in the absence of U.S. forces. On this logic, there should always and forever be U.S. forces and involvement in places where hostility to America vastly outweighs American interests.

    President Obama has wrongly been blamed for “creating” ISIS by leaving a vacuum in Iraq. Couldn’t be the sharia supremacist culture, could it? No, we’re supposed to suppose that this sort of thing could happen anywhere. So, when Obama withdrew our forces from the region (as Trump is doing now), jihadist atrocities and territorial conquests ensued. Eventually, Obama decided that action needed to be taken. But invading with U.S. troops was not an option — it would have been deeply unpopular and undercut Obama’s tout that Islamic militarism was on the wane. Our government therefore sought proxy forces.

    Most proved incompetent. The Kurds, however, are very capable. There was clamor on Capitol Hill to back them. We knew from the first, though, that supporting them was a time bomb. Turkey was never going to countenance a Kurdish autonomous zone, led by the YPG and PKK elements, on its Syrian border. Ankara was already adamant that the PKK was using the Kurdish autonomous zone in Iraq to encourage separatist uprisings in Turkey, where 20 percent of the population is Kurdish. Erdogan would never accept a similar arrangement in Syria; he would evict the YPG forcibly if it came to that.

    Yes, we had humanitarian reasons for arming the Kurds. But doing so undermined our anti-terrorism laws while giving Erdogan incentive to align with Russia and mend fences with Iran. ISIS, meanwhile, has never been defeated — it lost its territorial “caliphate,” but it was always more lethal as an underground terrorist organization than as a quasi-sovereign struggling to hold territory. And al-Qaeda, though rarely spoken of in recent years, is ascendant — as threatening as it has been at any time since its pre-9/11 heyday.

    Those of us opposed to intervention in Syria wanted Congress to think through these quite predictable outcomes before authorizing any further U.S. military involvement in this wretched region. Congress, however, much prefers to lay low in the tall grass, wait for presidents to act, and then complain when things go awry.

    And so they have: The easily foreseeable conflict between Turkey and the Kurds is at hand. We are supposed to see the problem as Trump’s abandoning of U.S. commitments. But why did we make commitments to the Kurds that undermined preexisting commitments to Turkey? The debate is strictly framed as “How can we leave the Kurds to the tender mercies of the Turks?” No one is supposed to ask, “What did we expect would happen when we backed a militant organization that is tightly linked to U.S.-designated terrorists and that is the bitter enemy of a NATO ally we knew would not abide its presence on the ally’s border?” No one is supposed to ask: “What is the end game here? Are we endorsing the partition of Syria? Did we see a Kurdish autonomous zone as the next Kosovo?” (We might remember that recognition of Kosovo’s split from Serbia, over Russian objections, was exploited by the Kremlin as a rationale for promoting separatism and annexations in Georgia and Ukraine.)

    It is true, as the editors observe, that “there are no easy answers in Syria.” That is no excuse for offering an answer that makes no sense: “The United States should have an exit strategy, but one that neither squanders our tactical gains against ISIS nor exposes our allies to unacceptable retribution.” Put aside that our arming of the Kurds has already exposed our allies in Turkey to unacceptable risk. What the editorial poses is not an “exit strategy,” but its opposite. In effect, it would keep U.S. forces in Syria interminably, permanently interposed between the Kurds and the Turks. The untidy questions of how that would be justifiable legally or politically go unaddressed.

    President Trump, by contrast, has an exit strategy, which is to exit. He promises to cripple Turkey economically if the Kurds are harmed. If early reports of Turkey’s military assault are accurate, the president will soon be put to the test. I hope he is up to it. For a change, he should have strong support from Congress, which is threatening heavy sanctions if Turkey routs the Kurds.

    Americans, however, are not of a mind to do more than that. We are grateful for what the Kurds did in our mutual interest against ISIS. We should try to help them, but no one wants to risk war with Turkey over them. The American people’s representatives never endorsed combat operations in Syria, and the president is right that the public wants out. Of course we must prioritize the denial of safe-havens from which jihadists can attack American interests. We have to stop pretending, though, that if our intentions toward this neighborhood are pure, its brutal history, enduring hostilities, and significant downside risks can be ignored.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  136. The fact of the matter is, if he’d just kept 50 to 100 troops there, (really more) that would have been enough to stabilize the situation – and what is point of letting bad things haopen and then punishing Turkey? How is that a good outcome?

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  137. To me, the problem is that Trump acts precipitously, even rashly, and does not think things through. It may or may not be wise to exit Syria, but doing it this way puts the Kurds who helped us and many civilians in danger. It also risks releasing dangerous terrorists who can find refuge in the area.

    Using American power in ways that knowingly ignores collateral damage may be legitimate but it is not good for America’s interests. I suspect that, while foreigners in the future will still trust America and want American help, I doubt our traditional allies will trust Trump.

    DRJ (15874d)

  138. #111
    After Trump leaves the WH in early 2025 someone in the press will write a breathless sensationalist article, quoting whistleblowers who heard from someone who might know something about what someone else said about how these other guys had to change all of the nuclear codes as Trump was leaving due to deep and wide reaching national security concerns. It will be one paragraph of obvious, of course they change the codes, its not like every President since Ike has shared the same code, but the footnotes will detail the great concern and the great danger we’d been in as they scrambled to keep our country from plunging into the abyss like a Peruvian school bus.
    72 hours later everyone will finally realize it was all just routine protocol and then come up with a story about how Melania might have stolen a gravy boat from Camp David…. because “we cannot find it!!!!”

    steveg (354706)

  139. Of course we also know that Turkey is the bad guy, the Kurds are the good guys,

    Dustin, “the Kurds” who control this strip of Syria – a collection of ideologues who have been armed and supported by Damascus over the decades – have done appalling things to political dissenters and confessional minorities under their care. They have made a point of attacking Turkish Kurdish settlements and army outposts across the border (a big thing in the 90s was the deliberate targeting of village teachers) and they murder ex-members in Europe on a regular basis.

    Virtually every sin that the Turkish state has committed against Kurds has been committed by the SDF and its affiliates in north and eastern Syria, against “their own people” and others, and that includes destruction of villages and resettlement of populations. Turkish and Iraqi Kurds, with their own concerns about central authorities in Ankara and Baghdad, are well aware of the atrocities that have been perpetrated by Syrian Kurdish militants and don’t allow these groups to speak for them. The estimated 300,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees in Turkey might also have some views about “Rojava” and its implications for their safety and those of their relatives.

    That American foreign policy commentators who should know better are apparently unaware of this ugly history is unfortunate. Trump’s habitual unpredictability and oafishness hardly helps, but it doesn’t really excuse it either.

    JP (24566b)

  140. I’d just tell the Kurds they can have their state if they accept the fact that none of it will come from Turkish ruled areas. And tell the Turks they will just have to live with the Kurds as neighbors, period.
    Kishnevi (31ec7b) — 10/9/2019 @ 7:13 pm

    Yes, this is how I see it as well. The Turks may well find out, the hard way, that the Kurds are there to stay.

    felipe (023cc9)

  141. Time for what’s left of the GOP to ask Pelosi to vote on impeachment ASAP. Let’s get this over with.
    Dustin (6d7686) — 10/9/2019 @ 7:22 pm

    I think so, too. But if history has taught me anything about politics, it is that nothing is ever over. I wish I could compel all of Congress to wander for 40 years in the desert. they are a stiff-necked people.

    felipe (023cc9)

  142. “I wish I could compel all of Congress to wander for 40 years in the desert. they are a stiff-necked people.”

    They have to be stiff-necked, how else will they get their heads so far up their backsides?

    Colonel Haiku (111e13)

  143. “Describing Jerry Falwell Jr. as a “prominent evangelical leader” is a hoot. He has no religious degree…”

    First, no one is perfect.
    Second, no one is perfect.
    Third, as far as a degree is required to be a religeous leader:

    1Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 2Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 2 Cor 3:1-3 KJV

    felipe (023cc9)

  144. whembly (fd57f6) — 10/10/2019 @ 10:47 am

    In my advanced years, I hold my remaining time as precious. So when I saw the wall-o-text at #137, I scrolled down to see the author’s name. The name “whembly” has proved, to me, reliable, reasonable, and of such good faith that I read the whole comment. It was worth it. Thank you, Whembly. I found your thoughts to be well ordered, constructive, and ultimately persuasive.

    felipe (023cc9)

  145. Colonel Haiku (111e13) — 10/12/2019 @ 10:53 am
    Heh, amen, brother.

    felipe (023cc9)

  146. narciso (d1f714) — 10/12/2019 @ 11:50 am

    That’s just evidence of someone pushing the Overton window. $49 tax/gal too much? ok, let’s make it $10.

    felipe (023cc9)

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