On Wednesday morning, President Trump engaged in his habitual victim-blaming in a shameful effort to defend his callous betrayal of America’s Kurdish allies in Syria. Using language that implies that they somehow deserve the mass slaughter and ethnic cleansing that the United States left them to at the hands of Turkish invaders and their jihadist proxies, Trump claimed that they were “no angels.”
To add insult to injury, he went on to say that he believed the utter catastrophe he had created on the Syria-Turkey border as “strategically brilliant.”
More Trump, via @justinsink: “I view the situation on the Turkish border with Syria for the United States [as] strategically brilliant”
— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) October 16, 2019
"It's not our problem," Trump says in Oval Office of Turkey's invasion into Syria. He adds that the Kurds are "not angels." Also, he says this: "They've got a lot of sand over there…. There's a lot of sand they can play with."
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) October 16, 2019
Last week, President Trump held one phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and impulsively upended eight years of established American foreign policy, giving the green light to Turkey’s plans to annex northern Syria, purge the Kurdish People’s Protection Forces (YPG) -led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition from its border, and resettle two million Syrian Arab refugees in Syrian Kurdistan.
Turkey’s invasion unfolded with frightening speed, and it only took a few days before videos of grisly war crimes and indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas flooded social media. Blindsided by the Trump administration and facing down the barrel of a potential Turkish genocide, the SDF was forced to strike a deal with Syria’s murderous dictator Bashar al-Assad and Russia, ceding control of their territory to Damascus in exchange for their lives.
That deal will likely bring a swift end to the unique nation-building project the SDF had been carrying out in northern Syria.
While no armed group locked in a brutal war against psychotic terrorists like ISIS will emerge from that conflict as an “angel” — just ask the United States, which murdered over 6,000 civilians with its anti-ISIS bombing campaign — the Kurdish YPG were the closest thing to angels in a region overrun with demons. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, better known as Rojava, was run as a decentralized ecosocialist enclave founded on the principles of democracy, gender equality, ecological sustainability, and religious/ethnic/cultural pluralism. Their first elections were held in September 2017 and saw a stunning 70% voter turnout.
While it certainly was not without its flaws, it was a kindling of hope that the United States should have fanned and protected. Instead, Trump, who is clearly adopting Turkish talking points, is trying to dehumanize the victims of his betrayals, as he did with the thousands who died in Puerto Rico thanks to his neglect. His behavior has been beyond disgraceful and his remarks are a black stain on the soul of the United States and the values we stand for.
Trump says Turkey invading Syria has "nothing to do with us," adds that the Kurds "aren't angels" pic.twitter.com/JooscZplZR
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 16, 2019
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.