A Few Thoughts On the Betrayal of the Kurds: I’m Ashamed and We Should All Be Ashamed

In 2008 the Georgian battalion that was part of the Coalition Forces of Operation Iraqi Freedom was attached to the brigade combat team that I and my teammates were assigned to. When Putin invaded the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia under the excuse of a border dispute and protecting ethnic Russians, the Georgian battalion was immediately ordered to return home and fight. The Georgians had only been part of the coalition because the Bush 43 administration had intimated that if the Georgians helped us in Iraq, then the US would support them joining NATO. The Georgians wanted to join NATO as protection from Putin’s interests in reestablishing what he believes is Russia’s rightful sphere of interest and historic near abroad. In reality, the Bush 43 administration wasn’t really going to push for them to join NATO and didn’t.

The brigade’s job was to help facilitate the Georgians’ movement home. To ensure they got from the combat outpost they had been operating from through the command forward operating base and on to one of the two large US bases adjacent to Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) from which they’d fly home. As they transited through many of us thanked them for working with us, wished them well, told them we’d be thinking of them. Some were stoic. Some wanted one last group picture with my female analyst – a former student of mine (frankly one of the best students I’d ever had undergrad or grad) who I’d recruited to my team and who was also an olympic class athlete who also did fitness competitions, which explains the enthusiasm for the pictures. And some asked us the question that will haunt me forever:

You’re coming, right? We came to help you, you’re coming to help us? Right?

I’d never before been embarrassed to be an American. And even though my service at that time was as a supervisory contractor, because all the civilians in the experimental Army program that had sent my teammates and I to Iraq had to be contractors by regulation because it was an experiment not a program of record, I have never been so embarrassed and so ashamed to be both an American and in service to America as I was that day. Because I knew, we all knew, that we weren’t coming. That these men, from a battalion that had suffered more KIA’s in our operational environment/area of responsibility than we had, were on their own. We weren’t coming. No one from US Army Europe or the South European Task Force or EUCOM or NATO was coming. We’d, or rather our national command authority both elected and appointed, had asked them to fight and die with us and we would not return the courtesy or repay the debt.

Today I read a Twitter thread by a reporter with a source from the Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground in Syria who is in harm’s way. That thread reported what her source was telling her, which was that the SDF in Kobani, as well as the civilians there, were not going to stand and fight this time as they had previously against ISIS. Instead they were all pulling out and heading to an American military base in the area in the hope that the Americans were both still there and that the US commander at that base would allow them to seek shelter and sanctuary there from the Turkish assault that the President’s rash decision has made possible. And when I read that thread I had two reactions. The first was that same sense of shame I had on that August day in 2008 as all I could do was wish Georgian Soldiers the best as they went back home to fight falsely hoping we would soon arrive like the cavalry coming over the hill in the nick of time in an old western.

The other feeling was amazement. Amazement that even though they knew that the President of the United States had betrayed them, had given approval for Erdogan to try to obliterate them in his ongoing ethnocidal and genocidal campaign against the Kurds under the cover of a counterterrorism operation, they still believed that if they could get to where the American flag was flying they would be safe. It is stunningly mind and emotion boggling, to the point that I am actually having trouble typing it out, that  knowing that they had been betrayed by the President of the United States, the belief of these men and women is that if they could get to territory held by the United States, in this case a military base, that if they packed up what they could, grabbed their families, and drove hard through an hours and miles long traffic jam of their friends and neighbors and fellow SDF in the middle of what is now a very hot war zone, that at the end of that exodus was hope. At the end of that exodus was safety. Because at the end of that flight from danger, through danger, was a berm and hescos and a gate with a guard tower where the American flag would be flying. In the face of this cruelest, most pointless betrayal their thoughts were to run to those wearing uniforms that bear the American flag – the flag of their betrayers. Because that flag, despite the betrayal, symbolized to them their last best hope for safety.

I have no idea if the base they are trying to reach is still there. I haven’t seen any follow on and follow up reporting, but I would like to believe that the commander of that base would open the gate and provide refuge to our erstwhile allies to lessen the betrayal and pay the moral debt that the President has now created for all of us Americans. And I’d like to believe that most will make it. But belief and hope are not strategies.

I don’t know yet, and I’m not sure we ever will know, how to properly assess the damage that will happen as a result of the President’s decision to betray the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurds and Arabs, Muslims and Syriac Christian alike, who had been decisively instrumental in successfully achieving our and our other allies’ strategic objectives of reducing ISIS’s physical caliphate. The SDF suffered over 10,000 Killed in Action and I’m not even sure the total number of wounded in action as the host country component to the by, with, and through strategy we’ve been using against ISIS since 2015. I know that as many ISIS detainees that can go into the wind will. And that they’ll scatter throughout the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and Europe, which will increase both discreet acts of terrorism and instability in all of the states and societies in those regions. We’ll also see increased refugee flows as both SDF and non SDF from the areas now or soon to be under attack by Turkey flee looking for safety. This will increase instability in adjoining states like Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. It will also create even more problems for our EU and NATO allies as many will try to flee there because the neo-nationalist and neo-fascist parties and movements in the EU member states, all funded overtly or covertly by Putin, leverage refugee flows from the Levant as part of their anti-governmental and anti-EU political activities. I don’t know how many US and Coalition military personnel, let alone civilians, will be hurt or killed because of the President’s rash actions, and I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to directly tie those injuries or deaths back to this decision to betray the SDF in specific and the Kurds in general, but they will occur nevertheless. And I have no way to quantify or qualify what this will do to our ability to find partners and allies in the future, but I’m sure, despite the President’s glib assurances this afternoon that “alliances are easy”, that it will make it much, much, much harder for the US to partner and ally with other state and non-state actors to achieve our national interests in the future.

The events of the past three days may likely be the worst national security and foreign policy decision ever made by a US president. Which, given the long rich history of bad national security and foreign policy decisions made by US presidents, is saying something. Based on the reporting it was made without any formal or even informal decision making process. Without any input or recommendations by the senior military advisors on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by the senior leadership of our Intelligence Services, by either the Geographic Combatant Commander or the Coalition Commanding General in the theater of operations, or by any of our allies in the Coalition. It is a rash, short sighted, stupid, self defeating, self harming decision. It is a decision that betrayed our host country allies; allies who have fought valiantly and suffered significant casualties as a result because they were willing to fight for their own chance for self determination. And it is a decision that shames all of us who are Americans, even those unable to recognize that they should be ashamed because the slavishly support anything and everything the President does.

Today, for the second time, I am ashamed to be an American. And I am also amazed that those we’ve betrayed still flee from danger through danger in the attempt to reach a base where the American flag may still fly because they believe, despite the betrayal, that at the end of that dangerous journey is hope and safety. And from that, in my shame, I take a small amount of hope.

Open thread.

Full disclosure: I served from October 2007 through November 2008 as the Cultural Advisor to the Commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division and was deployed with the brigade in Iraq in 2008. I have also served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commandant of the US Army War College (2010-2014), the Cultural Advisor (Temporary Assigned Control) to the Commanding General of III Corps (January – October 2012), the Cultural Advisor (Temporary Assigned Control) to the Civil Affairs Branch Chief (October 2012 – November 2013), the Cultural Advisor (Temporary Assigned Control) to the Director of the Institute for NCO Professional Development and the Commandant of the US Sergeants Major Academy (November 2013 through June 2014), the Cultural Advisor (Temporary Assigned Control) to the Commanding General of US Army Europe (December 2013 – June 2014), and a senior subject matter expert at the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue in the Middle East assigned as the Cultural Advisor to the Commanding General of US Army Europe (July – August 2014). I served briefly as a Senior Special Operations Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University Center for Special Operations Studies and Research at US Special Operations Command (May – August 2015). In May 2016 I provided the keynote and kickoff briefing on the regional and geo-strategic considerations of the Levant problem set for the Commanding General, Command Group, and senior staff of XVIII Airborne Corps prior to their deployment as the command element of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. In November 2018 I delivered the keynote address at the US Army Psychological Operations Regiment’s 100th anniversary regimental dinner. I currently work as a national-security consultant. The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of any of the commands, elements, or offices that I have ever advised and/or are currently supporting.






117 replies
  1. 1
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I’m fairly certain that none of this has anything to do with a tacky hotel located in Istanbul.

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  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    Sigh.

    It occurred to me this afternoon that once we get rid of Trump, be it through impeachment, the ballot box next year, or one too many Big Macs overwhelming his circulatory system, somebody will have to go out and try to clean up all of the messes he’s made. And while that somebody is doing so, the Lindsey Grahams of the country will be attacking them for ‘apologizing for being American’.

    I guess what I’m saying is that Trump is bad enough, but his supporters and enablers are arguably even worse, especially since we’ll have to deal with them after he’s gone

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  3. 3
    PhoenixRising says:

    who’s up for ‘The Killing Fields’ for movie night?

    Fun story time (content warning, this story upset my then 9yo once she understood it…at 14):

    We have a family friend who stole the last car in her village at gunpoint & took wounded soldiers she had been nursing to the outpost held by the last US troops in Cambodia/VN (border area). She was her family’s only survivor. She met her husband in May 1975, at the naval hospital in Baltimore, where he and 120 other sailors were billeted when Phnom Penh fell while they were in training. (He also has no remaining family. The Pol Pot government offered all the men a free trip home just after the revolution. The 4 who went, out of hope that they could save their wives & children, were shot dead as they got off the plane.)

    49 years later, the pain is fresh.

    These people are going to be slaughtered.

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  4. 4
    Martin says:

    Every day I think of Samantha Power:

    “simply put, American leaders did not act because they did not want to.”

    This is vastly worse.

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  5. 5
    zhena gogolia says:

    I am ashamed.

    I have to unplug for now.

    ReplyReply
  6. 6
    Mart says:

    We met a young Muslim couple when we were assigned facing seats on a rail ride to Scotland. I asked where they were from and the man said Iraq. I about turned purple. Blurted an apology. He said they were Kurds and fight with Americans. Still blushing as all I could think of was the Bush Sr. admin Kurd slaughter after we pulled out of the 91 war. Why do they keep trusting us? Fool me once…

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  7. 7
    sanjeevs says:

    t will also create even more problems for our EU and NATO allies as many will try to flee there because the neo-nationalist and neo-fascist parties and movements in the EU member states, all funded overtly or covertly by Putin, leverage refugee flows from the Levant as part of their anti-governmental and anti-EU political activities.

    I think this is one of the main reasons Trump/Putin are doing this. Create a flow of refuges and terrorists to recreate the conditions of 2014-2016 when the Putin linked far-right made their greatest gains.
    And there will likely be a Brexit vote (either General Election or 2nd referendum) coming up and Brexit is falling behind in the polls. They need to do something.

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  8. 8
    J R in WV says:

    Trump and all his minions are dispicable vermin who, if I believed they represented America in any way at all, would make me want to become, I dunno, Portugese, or Norwegian, or… anything but American.

    But I know Trump doesn’t represent America at all, so I can stay and fight for America, as She deserves!

    Today we contributed to the VA legislative fund and to Mark Kelly, running for the Senate in AZ !! I’m an old guy and wife is older and formally disabled, but we can support the Democratic Party and its candidates!!

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  9. 9
    Mary G says:

    I had never heard of us screwing over the Kurds in the 70s, which Henry Kissinger dismissed by saying covert operations aren’t missionary work. GHWB did it again. The fact that they still have faith in us is mind-boggling. I am also more ashamed to be an American than I ever have been. I want to help, but there’s no way to get fighter jets with a GoFundMe drive.

    I left a comment on that Twitter thread by Jenan Moussa you reference and now I have people I assume are from Turkey giving me propaganda that the Kurds are the real terrorists. I make a practice of not getting into unproductive dialog with people on Twitter, but it was way hard to restrain myself from hitting the all-caps key and raging at them. I know the Kurds aren’t boy scouts, but none of that justifies trying to kill them all.

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  10. 10
    Mike in NC says:

    I told my wife I was ashamed to be an American the night they called it for this lunatic. We must anticipate much worse, like trying to disband NATO for his master Putin.

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  11. 11

    this entire betrayal by trump on the global stage should shame every Republican for the next 100 years. I say “should” but it won’t because those bastards are too greedy and self-serving to ever care about their shame. >:(

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  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    This is becoming par for the course. The Ukrainians have also suffered well over 10,000 KIA and are told “Hey, you want those Javelins Congress voted? Make up some shit on the Bidens.” It’s gotten to where it’s hard to tell Uncle Sam from Uncle Vlodya.

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  13. 13
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I am weeping at this account.

    (Yes, Steve in the ATL, literally weeping.)

    ReplyReply
  14. 14
    GregB says:

    There is a global move to smother democracy and liberalism.

    The fascists are winning.

    ReplyReply
  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: No arguments here.

    ReplyReply
  16. 16
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Not to make light in this thread, but I suspect Steve may be drowning his sorrows after the drubbing that the Braves endured earlier this evening.

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  17. 17
    NotMax says:

    OT.

    For any interested, Kamala Harris will be showing up later in the hour on Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC show.

    ReplyReply
  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    Devastated, Silverman 😪😪😪

    ReplyReply
  19. 19
    Duane says:

    Do I understand correctly that US troops are still fighting with the SDF while being abandoned by Trumpov? Things are happening so fast. In any case this nut has to be stopped. What’s next. I don’t want to know.

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  20. 20
    J R in WV says:

    And thanks to Adam for these posts and comments !!!

    Your erudition and experience is so valued here!

    ReplyReply
  21. 21
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Duane: I don’t know. My understanding is the small number of US forces in the area were pulled back. Since that was about 50 personnel, I’m guessing they were the Special Forces guys on the Operational Detachment Alphas that were partnering with the SDF. I know SDF made a request for air support from the US and the Coalition, but I don’t think it was answered.

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  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: You’re welcome. I wish, though, I didn’t have to do this and similar posts.

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  23. 23
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    run the gubmint like a business!

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  24. 24
    jl says:

    The US betrayed the Kurds, and also created a counterproductive complicated mess.that creates serious and unpredictable risks. The situation was already a complicated mess, but a mess that was working for the time being, not leading to any foreseeable unpredictable risks, and one we had a plan to unmess it to everyone’s semi-satisfaction. As difficult foreign affairs problems go, this one was not high on the list.

    Did Trump betray the Kurds? Hard to say. Trump has displayed all the understanding of a blobfish. Hard to figure if Trump intended anything, he so stupid and ignorant.

    Edited to change lumpfish to blobfish. Doubt Trump can come up the high standards of a lumpfish

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  25. 25
    Japa21 says:

    Each succeeding Republican leaves a bigger mess for a Democratic administration to clean up. There was bound to come a time when it might be impossible to clean up the mess. I hope this isn’t it, but I am afraid it might be.

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  26. 26
    AliceBlue says:

    I broke down when I read about the people fleeing to an American military base that may not even be there anymore. Anger, shame and heartbreak have overwhelmed me.

    ReplyReply
  27. 27
    guachi says:

    The generals and admirals who sit on their hands and do nothing are a disgrace to the uniform.

    I have no choice. I’m enlisted and I reenlisted last month because there is no way I want to retire with Trump as my President.

    ReplyReply
  28. 28
    MomSense says:

    I’m ashamed, furious, heartsick. I can’t imagine the terror they are feeling and yet they hold it together to try to save their families.

    ReplyReply
  29. 29
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @Mary G:Try, “Like the Armenians?”

    Just be prepared to unplug.

    ReplyReply
  30. 30
    Calouste says:

    Has anyone pointed out yet to the shitgibbon that there were no Russians on D-Day either? So the US shouldn’t owe them anything by that standard.

    At least in that conflict they were on the same side, unlike in quite a few that were to follow.

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  31. 31
    Jeffro says:

    Thanks for post Adam – agree with/sorrow for/angry about it all EXCEPT: disagree with “we” should be ashamed.

    “We”…this crowd in particular and Dems/sensible Independents in general…have nothing to be ashamed about. We have been fighting and donating and calling and mobilizing in all sorts of ways for 3-4 years now. We saw this coming. We absolutely did.

    It’s on THEIR heads…the trumpov voters, supporters, donors, rally attendees, and most of all the knee-benders. They own it 110%

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  32. 32
    CaseyL says:

    The US has a habit of betraying people who fought for us and trusted us, and it goes a long, long way back. But betraying the same people three times within two generations is an impressive personal best.

    I think this one might be a game changer, put in context with Trump’s alienating most of our peer nation allies. I can’t see anyone anywhere trusting the US again for anything. Even getting rid of Trump won’t restore America’s reputation, because if we elected a corrupt ignorant brutish malignant narcissist once we could certainly do it again.

    ReplyReply
  33. 33
    Mike in NC says:

    @guachi: I retired after 30 years in 2010 and am thrilled my Certificate of Appreciation hanging on the wall has Obama’s signature, and not that of Cadet Bone Spurs.

    ReplyReply
  34. 34
    hueyplong says:

    This kind of detail on this single issue really hammers home the fact that the amount of damage Trump can do over the next 15 months challenges the imagination. [And that assumes away the non-zero chance that he somehow obtains a second term.]

    I’m somewhat embarrassed at the thoughts I am having about a significant percentage of my fellow Americans, who placed and are sustaining this pig in office.

    ReplyReply
  35. 35
    wenchacha says:

    The next Osama bin Laden will have plenty of willing followers.

    ReplyReply
  36. 36
    BobS says:

    “The events of the past three days may likely be the worst national security and foreign policy decision ever made by a US president.”
    Ignoring the warnings prior to 9-11 and invading Iraq in 2003 are pretty strong contenders.

    ReplyReply
  37. 37
    donnah says:

    Thank you, Adam, for the clarity. It’s ghastly.

    Journalist Bill Neely today was reporting as some of the news from the zone in NW Syria was breaking. He’s been reporting for forty years, I think, and he was visibly upset and also furious. His voice was shaking as he explained what was happening as a result of Trump’s actions. He said it was going to go badly and he dreaded what the next days would bring.

    It’s heartbreaking and terrifying.

    ReplyReply
  38. 38
    B.B.A. says:

    I’m a pacifist and an isolationist. I’ve long sought the day when the US military has no presence overseas and we leave other countries to take care of themselves.

    But not like this. Not like this.

    ReplyReply
  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @wenchacha: The next Osama bin Laden is likely crammed into a cage somewhere on our southern border wondering where his or her parents are.

    ReplyReply
  40. 40

    That Twitter thread chewed me up too.

    ReplyReply
  41. 41
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Gin & Tonic: no idea what you mean. I stopped following baseball at 5 pm earlier this evening.

    @MomSense:

    I’m ashamed, furious, heartsick

    Ah, didn’t realize you were a Braves fan!

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I am weeping at this account.

    (Yes, Steve in the ATL, literally weeping.)

    Ah, didn’t realize you were a Braves fan too!

    ReplyReply
  42. 42
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @B.B.A.: if I had a nickel for every Quaker Monroeist i run into….

    ReplyReply
  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: That’s because you’re good people. Unlike the President.

    ReplyReply
  44. 44
    patrick II says:

    The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of any of the commands, elements, or offices that I have ever advised and/or are currently supporting.

    I bet they do reflect their opinions, even if they are prohibited from saying so publicly.

    ReplyReply
  45. 45
    Another Scott says:

    It’s horrible what Donnie is enabling, but we’ll have to see what happens.

    Twitter:

    Mustafa Bali @mustefabali

    Ground attack by Turkish forces has been repelled by SDF fighters in Til Abyad. No advance as of now.

    1:07 PM – 9 Oct 2019

    From AlJazeera. They show a picture of some beat up Toyota trucks with machine guns manned by “Free Syrian Army” troops that are part of the Turkish invasion. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do most of the fighting (and dying).

    The Kurds get a vote on how this turns out. I wouldn’t be surprised if Erdogan regrets this…

    Fingers crossed.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

    ReplyReply
  46. 46
    Yarrow says:

    The current President openly flaunts the oath he took and he betrays the country and our allies. I think that fits the definition of traitor.

    ReplyReply
  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Somebody up thread asked if we were helping the SDF/the Kurds. Here’s some reporting:

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  48. 48
    Zelma says:

    I don’t think this mess can be cleaned up. It is hard to believe the damage that man has done to the USA and to the world in less than three years. And it will just get worse. Our reputation is shot; no one will trust us again. And why should they?

    The kleptocrats have won.

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  49. 49
    oldgold says:

    @RichardEngel
    Hearing the same. Same tone. Same mood. Not frustration, but shame.

    @JenGriffinFNC
    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.”

    ReplyReply
  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @patrick II: That may be, but I’d rather have the disclaimer than not.

    ReplyReply
  51. 51
    Colleeniem says:

    @Adam L Silverman: that’s what I told my Congress critter’s staff when they first announced the separation policy.

    ReplyReply
  52. 52

    @Another Scott:

    The Kurds get a vote on how this turns out. I wouldn’t be surprised if Erdogan regrets this…

    I’ve been thinking along those lines as well.

    ReplyReply
  53. 53
    joel hanes says:

    I’d never before been embarrassed to be an American.

    Really? Viet Nam didn’t do it? _The_Quiet_American_ ? Operation Phoenix?
    Grenada? Contra death squads ?
    Cheney didn’t do it?
    Iraq II? Gitmo? Abu Ghraib?
    Newt Gingrich?
    Trump’s first two years?

    ReplyReply
  54. 54
    Duane says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That’s the report I saw here earlier. It sounds so bizarre, things happening quickly, processing that left me confused. It is shameful.

    ReplyReply
  55. 55
    SFAW says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Do you really want to make Barves jokes in response to what MomSense and SiubhanDuinne said, and what is causing their distress?

    Not your best look.

    ReplyReply
  56. 56
    Mary G says:

    This is quite the spin on this:

    Fears are growing among American officials that thousands of ISIS fighters may escape from prisons in Syria as the Kurdish personnel guarding them gear up for a fight with Turkey, which launched a military offensive in northeastern Syria https://t.co/oGN4C1SKgc— CNN International (@cnni) October 10, 2019

    Fears are growing? It’s been obvious since Sunday night’s tweet.

    ReplyReply
  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Duane: More from her:

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  58. 58
  59. 59
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @joel hanes:

    Iraq II?

    Each of us has our awakening at a different age. I was in college during Iran-Contra: I could have been aware enough to realize the atrocity. But I was asleep, just being an engineer. But Iraq II? Yeah, that hit right in the gut. And everything else that followed: Abu Ghraib, the complete clusterfuck we made of the entire country, and all the follow-on chaos. And the killing the killing the killing. So many dead Iraqis, both by our hands, and each others’ hands, as their country fell apart (b/c we kicked it apart).

    And yeah, Darth Cheney and his evil batman, Addington. But it’s on W’s head, and the NYmag writer who said that nobody, but NOBODY should ever be kind to Dubya again, she had it damn right. Let him be spat upon in public wherever he goes. That’s already far, far, far kinder than he deserves.

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  60. 60
    cain says:

    So what can we do? How can we get the U.S. back there and engaged and tell Turkey to back off? I don’t give a flying fuck what our president says, but I would think that Congress can signal something – override the decision, basically turn off the money tap whatever.. (eg they cant afford to leave the region.. no money) Something. I don’t know.

    I’m upset about what has happened today. Every Republican should be ashamed. When the time comes for more of their bullshit nation building ideas or reaching out the allies, I hope they get firmly rebuffed. No republican or republican president should get any respect or honor henceforth.

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  61. 61
    Jay says:

    Kobanî, the city that resisted ISIS for months and paved the way for its defeat is now being shelled by Turkish army.— Mustafa Bali (@mustefabali) October 9, 2019

    ReplyReply
  62. 62
    Butter Emails says:

    We’re going to end up with special forces troops put on trial for assisting the Kurds against orders, aren’t we?

    ReplyReply
  63. 63
    AnotherBruce says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m close to weeping. This is on Trump and his enablers. They have blood on their hands that will never be washed away.

    ReplyReply
  64. 64
    hueyplong says:

    How is that thoughts and prayers campaign going, Lindsey?

    ReplyReply
  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @joel hanes: There’s a difference between being embarrassed or upset and being ashamed. Especially as I was a baby/toddler during Vietnam and in high school for the mess the Reagan Administration made.

    ReplyReply
  66. 66
    cain says:

    @Mary G:
    We are going to hang this decision on every fucking Republican senator and House member – They stood by and said nothing and all there bullshit about being the strong nation that will defeat ISIS, now they and their goddam administration can watch over as ISIS comes back because of this.

    Trump has made us less safe and given aid and comfort to our enemies.

    ReplyReply
  67. 67
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Yarrow:

    flaunts flouts

    There. I feel better now.

    ReplyReply
  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @cain: Unless Congress formally declares war on Turkey and does so with a veto proof majority, there is nothing Congress can really do. The sanctions that Senators Graham and Van Hollen are proposing aren’t going to make a difference, because the President is going to veto them. Tweeting about it, which appears to be Senator Graham’s preferred course of action, is completely pointless. Especially as he doesn’t even tag the President in his tweets.

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  69. 69
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Butter Emails: That will be a possibility, though I doubt the chain of command would find cause to move forward from the investigations.

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  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    This is on Trump and his enablers. They have blood on their hands that will never be washed away.

    Can’t add a word to this. You speak truth.

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  71. 71
    Jay says:

    The story of that epic resistance in #Kobane which resulted in the remarkable battle synergy that would roll back ISIS https://t.co/0BjZPUYC0e— Robert Troy Souza (@robsouza2012) October 9, 2019

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  72. 72
    SFAW says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Tweeting about it, which appears to be Senator Graham’s preferred course of action, is completely pointless. Especially as he doesn’t even tag the President in his tweets.

    Brave, brave Sir Lindsey

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  73. 73
    Mary G says:

    You need a VERY strong stomach to read this CNN story about Caesar, a former forensic photographer in the Syrian military police who snuck more than 50,000 photographs of people tortured by the Assad regime out of the country in 2014. He’s been trying to get the other countries in the world to do something about it ever since. A UN motion was vetoed by Russia, so all the UN did was let him exhibit some of the photos in their building.

    As for the US:

    Some in Congress are listening. They even have a sanctions bill in his name. The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act would slap new sanctions on Syrian leaders and would commit the US to support international prosecution of those accused of human rights abuses. The bill has passed the House of Representatives three times since 2016 with bipartisan support. Each time it has languished in the Senate, where it sits today.

    Yet again, #MoscowMitch sees that nothing gets done, even something as minor as sanctions.

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  74. 74
    Duane says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It always get worse with Trumpov. He’s left Americans in danger. People he’s sworn to protect. He should not be in command.

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  75. 75
    Jay says:

    T and I will be making a decision on where we go in the next few days.

    One option is to go to Royjova to help out.

    Doing so would align with my families history with the International Brigaides.

    Tough choices coming.

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  76. 76
    dww44 says:

    @dmsilev: So agree with this and hadn’t considered that we will have to continue to endure the slings and arrows of the partisan GOP’ers long after we are rid of Trump himself. These days I can barely stand to look or listen to any of them, especially the snarling lips of Lindsay Graham.

    I had been thinking in the last few days that we are also going to have rebuild a functioning government bureaucracy and reestablish the trust between civil servants and the taxpayer. To do that we will need a couple of decades when Democrats are the ascendant political party and is able to legislate goodness back into our democracy.

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  77. 77
    Mary G says:

    Doesn’t this seem a bit wimpy. even if true?

    News: The Biden campaign has sent a letter to NYT exec editor Dean Baquet excoriating the newspaper. The Biden campaign says NYT has "had an outsized hand in the spread" of the "baseless conspiracy theory" that Biden abused his office for his son.More: https://t.co/fCJ8Ii32Ds— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 10, 2019

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  78. 78
    Mary G says:

    OMG, Dodgers.

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  79. 79
    Duane says:

    @cain: It was correctly pointed out to me that we can count on republicans for nothing. There never was much doubt. No courage, no shame. They’re no better than Trumpov. They’ll go with him to ruin.

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  80. 80
    Yarrow says:

    @Amir Khalid: Glad you feel better. That’s what really matters.

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  81. 81
    Mary G says:

    @Mary G: OK, my bad, not so wimpy, according to Brian Stelter’s newsletter:

    The Biden campaign said in its letter that publishing the op-ed shows “how little” The Times “has internalized the sobering lessons of 2016.”

    “Despite voluminous work done by the independent press and fact-checkers — including some by The Times — to refute the heinous conspiracy theory that Donald Trump attempted to bully Ukraine into propping-up for him, the paper ran an op-ed by none other than Peter Schweizer, making more malicious claims about the Biden family,” Bedingfield wrote. “This leaves us with a critical question: are you truly blind to what you got wrong in 2016, or are you deliberately continuing policies that distort reality for the sake of controversy and the clicks that accompany it?”

    Since I no longer have a NYT subscription, I didn’t know they went back to the “Clinton Cash” guy. Of course, the Times said they’ve been perfectly fair.

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  82. 82
    Jay says:

    Less than a week ago:

    We recognize the strain securing foreign terrorist fighters puts on the SDF and appreciate their willingness to assist with this important task. However, these foreign terrorist fighters are a global problem that requires global cooperation to solve. @CJTFOIR @SOJTFOIR pic.twitter.com/3Kl8sCH0XW— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) October 3, 2019

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  83. 83
    SFAW says:

    @dww44:

    To do that we will need a couple of decades when Democrats are the ascendant political party and is able to legislate goodness back into our democracy.

    If recent history is any indicator, we’ll be lucky to get a couple of years, maybe four.

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  84. 84
    cain says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    @cain: Unless Congress formally declares war on Turkey and does so with a veto proof majority, there is nothing Congress can really do. The sanctions that Senators Graham and Van Hollen are proposing aren’t going to make a difference, because the President is going to veto them. Tweeting about it, which appears to be Senator Graham’s preferred course of action, is completely pointless. Especially as he doesn’t even tag the President in his tweets.

    Maybe if we made the President feel like he was a fool.. dunno.. he seems to love these right wing assholes more than his own country.

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  85. 85
    cain says:

    @SFAW:

    If recent history is any indicator, we’ll be lucky to get a couple of years, maybe four.

    Hopefully, once we’ve balanced out our voting areas this will be less of a problem. Gerrymandering is the core issue here. It holds hostage everyone, including Republicans.

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  86. 86
    randy khan says:

    Well, considering how ashamed I am that our country has allowed itself to have someone like Trump as President, and my horror at so much of his foreign policy, I guess I just am adding this to the list. It is shameful, but it’s a measure of our times that this is just the latest outrage, instead of being as singular as it would be in any other Administration.

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  87. 87
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: Yes. A cease and desist demand would be a bit more forceful.

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  88. 88
    dmsilev says:

    @Mary G: I just came out of a condo board meeting, and a couple of my neighbors were giving us play-by-play commentary of the game interspersed with the regular business. Let’s just say that there was a sudden spike in the profanity level which hopefully will be reflected in the minutes.

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  89. 89
    Jay says:

    The SDF are imperfect partners, but they accomplished what we asked of them, at a cost of over 10k killed, often placing *our* priorities ahead of their own. And most importantly, the word of the US as a partner is supposed to mean something. This is shameful, and so are you. https://t.co/v2pQNebNdA— Mike Nelson (@mikenelson586) October 7, 2019

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  90. 90
    SFAW says:

    @cain:

    Hopefully, once we’ve balanced out our voting areas this will be less of a problem. Gerrymandering is the core issue here. It holds hostage everyone, including Republicans.

    I hop you’re right, but I don’t think anything substantive would have (vis-a-vis gerrymandering) until 2022 or 2024. And considering what happened in the 2010 midterms, I’m concerned we’ll be back to all-evil, all-the-time starting in 2023. [Although I hope President Warren (um Gotteswillen) paid attention to the screwing the Rethugs gave the country during Obama’s tenure.]

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  91. 91

    @Mary G: FTFNYT.

    As for today… I don’t have words. I think I might unplug and try to go to sleep early, although I have little confidence that I can.

    Thanks for this piece, Adam. It’s times like this where I have to fall back on Mr Rogers’ words, in order to keep myself going. Look for the helpers. At least our country isn’t totally devoid of them yet.

    Ceterum censeo factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

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  92. 92

    @SFAW: Keep in mind that 2010 was a redistricting election, as is 2020, so “getting shellacked” didn’t just mean losing the House, the loses in state legislatures gave the GOP control over redistricting.

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  93. 93
    SFAW says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    Except I think the changes from the 2010 Census did not go into effect until 2012.

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  94. 94

    @SFAW: True, I don’t see your point.

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  95. 95
    SFAW says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    I started to explain, then I realized I misread (or misunderstood the focus of) your previous comment.

    So, I think you and I are on the same page. My (attempted) original point — i.e., before you replied — was that we may only have two years (2021-2023) of Dem control. And that’s assuming enough Rethug Senators are unexpectedly defeated. Because the electorate — or at least, 40-plus percent of it — is too fucking stupid, or racist, or fascist, to do what results in the maximum good for the maximum number of persons.

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  96. 96
    mrmoshpotato says:

    OhNoSheTwitnt with a funny thought on this debacle.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if our military was like “We’re pulling our support from you, Mr President, because you didn’t help us during Vietnam” and then collectively just quit— The Volatile Mermaid (@OhNoSheTwitnt) October 10, 2019

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  97. 97

    @SFAW: If we do well in 2020, we can get favorable redistricting for the 2022 midterms.

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  98. 98
    Raoul says:

    Adam @top “The events of the past three days may likely be the worst national security and foreign policy decision ever made by a US president. … it was made … without any input or recommendations by the senior military advisors on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by the senior leadership of our Intelligence Services, by either the Geographic Combatant Commander or the Coalition Commanding General in the theater of operations, or by any of our allies in the Coalition.”

    There is so much wrong here. But one thing among them that I wonder. How big a hit will this be to morale for US service members. In the region, but also serving elsewhere. Even at home.

    I would think it’ll be bad. It’s like we just teleported to the final year of the Viet Nam war. Only with even more rash, ill-conceived , and dangerous ‘decision’ making by a toxic, sociopathic narcissist.

    This is an horrific situation. I appreciate this particular OP, and your candor and frankness throughout the 2.5 year rolling crisis, Adam.

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  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    My theory about what Erdogan said to Trump that made this sound like a good idea is something like “Like you, I am very concerned about the dangerous people massed on our border.”

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  100. 100
    Mike in DC says:

    @Mary G: I think it’s a start. A warning shot, if you will.

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  101. 101
    Mary G says:

    @Raoul: Yeah, I had that thought earlier on Twitter; I can see a lot of the best troops who have other options and hate this happening quitting and we’ll be stuck with the sociopath and psychopaths who like to kill and the incompetents as a higher percentage of our forces, which will make us less safe.

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  102. 102
    jl says:

    Idiots run our country.

    @davidalexander5
    Pompeo says U.S. did not give green light to Turkey’s Syria incursion
    https://twitter.com/davidalexander5/status/1182156438434701312

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  103. 103
    Kent says:

    I don’t know if this was mentioned yet on this thread.

    We just learned on Lawrence O’Donnell tonight that the day Trump announced the withdrawal from Syria was Vladimir Putin’s Birthday.

    It’s that fucking simple.

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  104. 104
    Kent says:

    @jl:

    Idiots run our country.

    Not idiots. T R A I T O R S

    They know EXACTLY what they are doing.

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  105. 105
    Dan B says:

    @GregB: Christopher Wiley had a great interview on Amanpour and Co. last night about the techniques that are being turned on us to generate chaos and prime right wing beliefs.

    A friend said she heard similar things from an ex Microsoft employee. We have to recognize it. Authoritarians have no qualms with lies and distortions.

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  106. 106

    […] more background on the history of the Kurds and our constant betrayal of them, read this post by Adam L. […]

  107. 107
    SFAW says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    I hope you’re right, but considering how hard groups in power fight to prevent others from having power, I’m not optimistic that there will be substantive change.

    As I said, I hope you’re right. And I hope I’m wrong.

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  108. 108
    Chris says:

    @jl:

    I can think of multiple reasons why he’d have done it. I suspect a big one, though, might be simply having it pointed out to him that the Kurds are a bunch of nonwhite people surviving on America’s money, and that someone should really Make A Statement.

    These people really really really get off on hurting and killing people. And they don’t care how little sense it makes.

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  109. 109
    Booger says:

    So have we established to a reliable degree that “These Colors” do, in fact, run? Because I’d like to have that in my back pocket the next time some Lee Greenwood junkie steps up. Sickening, just sickening.

    ETA: Have we just sown the next dragon’s teeth which will sprout into a new crop of people who will hate America not ‘because of our freedoms” but because we did horrible things to them?

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  110. 110
    Avalune says:

    I know this is a dead thread by now but I was just reading it and it echoed my thoughts from last night when I first heard about these poor people rushing for the military base, hoping that somehow we’d still save them and how upset it made me…and how I hoped that we’d let them in but reality suggested we probably wouldn’t…we’d do what we were told instead. It is absolutely crushing. I have nothing to add. This just…resonated with me.

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  111. 111
    Chris says:

    @CaseyL:

    The thing I keep thinking is “you know what? De Gaulle was right. We do need nukes.” His whole premise for his foreign policy was that you couldn’t simply trust the Americans to do the right thing – if push came to shove, would they really be willing to risk New York to save Paris? Maybe and maybe not, but it’s irresponsible to simply trust in them, treaty or no treaty.

    Welp, as the Kurds are one if not the first people to find out… it’s true.

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  112. 112
    joel hanes says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I remember Lester Maddox, and Bull Connor, and the Pettus bridge.
    I was fifteen when I read _Black_Like_Me_
    I was sixteen when I learned that the US was systematically assassinating local South Vietnamese leaders who supported the Viet Cong. I was seventeen when I read _Bury_My_Heart_At_Wounded_Knee_.
    I was eighteen when I began to understand about the United Fruit Company.
    I had been drafted and was twenty during Watergate.

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  113. 113
    Chris says:

    @cain:

    Congress in general and Lindsey Graham & co. can absolutely do something. With a president facing impeachment, Republicans in Congress have a ridiculous amount of leverage to call him and say “reverse your decision, or you might just lean on our support at impeachment time and find it’s not there anymore.”

    They just don’t want to do it.

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  114. 114
    Ruckus says:

    @Mart:

    Fool me once…Why do they keep trusting us?

    When all you have is two choices, bad and none, that bad one doesn’t look the same as it should.

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  115. 115
    Ruckus says:

    @Mary G:

    but none of that justifies trying to kill them all.

    Not it does not. But killing them all has been a stable of opposition assholes since the beginning of time. I believe that the concept is that if you kill most of them the rest will fall in line. But the world has changed and there are too many people living in it to continue with the kinds of politics that people like Putin and trump think are proper. Too many things are going wrong because the old ways, say the rethuglican party, don’t work at all any more. Not that they really ever worked except for a very few. And the very few don’t have many places left to roam any longer, because the world can’t work like that any longer. Anywhere. The constant war for just survival for the few, the ones that have chosen themselves as the victors, the wealthy are destroying the planet for everyone else.

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  116. 116
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @joel hanes: It is not my fault that you are old. But hopefully spry.

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  117. 117
    joel hanes says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It is not my fault that you are old

    ;-)

    ReplyReply

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