Bring Our Troops Home Without Dooming Allies

Any tenable stability achieved in the middle east is falling apart thanks to the withdrawal of American forces embedded with Kurdish units in Syria, the SDF. Let’s be clear, these troops have not been taken out of Syria, and there is currently no plan to remove the roughly 1,000 American military members still stationed there. Instead, we have shuffled troops away from our allies to give the violent right-wing president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a green light in continuing a longstanding campaign of Kurdish genocide. Our forces may have been working with the Kurdish fighters that helped us defeat ISIS, but that area we just abandoned also had Kurdish families, women and children, that were just trying to live their lives in a dangerous part of the world. Now the only thing preventing Turkish invasion is gone thanks to the whim of our deranged president.

It seems likely that Erdoğan capitalized on the professed corruption of Trump. As Trump himself has stated, “I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” and as our president has used his office to enrich himself, it seems likely that a threat to his hotels in Turkey would be more than enough to sell out our allies; allies that have been our greatest partners in the fight against ISIS. Now that Turkey is bombarding them, they no longer have the resources to secure over 10,000 ISIS detainees in their custody.

I’m committed to bringing our troops back home, and in the past, I have even given Trump credit for doing just that. This, however, is an egregious error. It would have been a far greater move to keep our embedded forces with the Kurds and instead plan a withdrawal of the 1,000 troops that still remain in Syria. It is possible to end wars, bring ground forces home, and use our military strength to prevent more wars from starting. The relationship we had with the SDF was a great example of a stabilizing partnership. It only required a small embedded unit that was completely welcomed by our allies, but it kept Erdoğan from starting another war in the middle east.

Instead of securing peace, our president once again blindsided our generals and proved to the world once more that our country cannot be trusted until Trump is out of office.

Ian Todd