Impulsive moves can have disastrous consequences. President Trump ordered the immediate withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. troops from Syria, even as he ignored the advice of military and intelligence experts and lacked a plan of how to handle the fallout. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers criticized the pullout as a betrayal of our allies and a threat to counter-terrorism efforts.
The subsequent invasion by Turkey displaced over 170,000 Kurdish people and left Kurdish soldiers and civilians open to ethnic cleansing. ISIS fighters in hiding and those left behind in unguarded prisons are in a position to renew the ISIS threat. Military forces led by Russia and Sadat are moving in to fill the vacuum – a loss of U.S. influence in the Middle East.
In the five-year-long battle to defeat ISIS, the Kurds provided boots-on-the-ground and suffered loss of thousands of fighters. The 1,000 U.S. troops removed provided training and air-support to the Kurds. Lyndsey Graham, R-South Carolina, called President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops a “complete and utter national security disaster in the making.”
The U.S. is not getting out of the Middle East as Trump proclaims. As Trump was removing 1,000 troops from Syria, he was adding 2,800 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps Trump decided the support of oil-rich Saudi autocrats who pay cash for high-powered U.S. weaponry takes precedence over allied partners who pay with their lives in the fight against ISIS.
Past actions are often good predictors of future actions. Ignoring the experts in a field, acting on impulse to choose actions regardless of consequences, placing personal agenda before country – how many more indicators are needed? Would Trump also start a war if he felt it would get him re-elected?
Kathy Kascewicz of Fifield
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