President Trump on Wednesday distanced the United States from the conflict between Turkey and America’s Kurdish allies in Syria, saying that the battle “has nothing to do with us” as he defended his decision to withdraw American troops from northern Syria.
Donald Trump isn’t just a deeply stupid man who routinely gets his ass kicked on the world stage, he also has no conscience. And in that he echoes yet another of his nitwit, next-generation moral voids. And the Republican Party does nothing to stop him. The Republican Party owns him. The Republican Party watches him burn down the republic and does nothing. And as always, in Trump world, when faced with a disaster of their own making, they do what comes naturally: They lie.
Trump’s bootlicking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was first out of the gate:
The United States didn’t give Turkey a green light.
Trump’s bootlicking theocratic sidekick, Mike Pence, came next:
As the administration struggles to contain the fallout from President Trump’s abrupt troop withdrawal from northern Syria, aides have set about separating that decision from Turkey’s quick invasion.
“The United States of America did not give a green light to Turkey to invade Syria,” Vice President Pence said Monday.
Top State Department official Victoria Coates told conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt on his Tuesday radio show that it was “utterly untrue” that Trump authorized the invasion. “Across the board, the administration has been unified in conveying to our Turkish counterparts that this is a terrible idea,” she assured him.
And no, this was not strictly true, even glossed with a wink and a nod. The initial official White House statement made that clear:
Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey by telephone. Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria.
That was literally how the announcement began: No condemnation or criticism, just a shrug about a “long-planned operation into Northern Syria.” Which is also known as a military invasion. Or war.
The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial “Caliphate,” will no longer be in the immediate area.
The United States won’t participate, but it will get out of the way. Which we are supposed to interpret as conveying that the invasion is a terrible idea and not at all a green light. And never mind that the very allies who played the key role in defeating ISIS in the region are the targets of the invasion.
The United States Government has pressed France, Germany, and other European nations, from which many captured ISIS fighters came, to take them back, but they did not want them and refused. The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer. Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial “Caliphate” by the United States.
As usual, Trump then blames and further alienates America’s traditional allies. He then asserts that because the U.S. is getting out of the way as Turkey commences its long-planned invasion, Turkey would be responsible for the captive ISIS fighters. Because those captive fighters had been held by the very allies who also had played the key role in defeating ISIS in the region, and who were about to become the targets of the Turkish invasion to which Trump had given the green light. But like so many things Trump hallucinates, Turkey hadn’t signed on for that role:
As Turkey wages a violent campaign against Kurdish fighters and civilians across northeastern Syria, Turkish-backed proxy forces with ties to extremist groups are deliberately releasing detainees affiliated with the Islamic State from unguarded prisons, two U.S. officials confirmed to Foreign Policy.
In other words, Trump’s top priority was to announce the impending invasion, and that the U.S. would just clear out and let it happen. Not one word of criticism or condemnation, just a shrug that it was long-planned. Expected. Almost routine. No big deal. And as always with Trump, no thought to the consequences. Only when there was an immediate shocked public backlash of actual criticism and condemnation did Trump bother even to pretend:
if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)
The great and unmatched wisdom of a very stable genius. Also known as a psychopath. And Republicans did nothing. A few shook their heads, furrowed their brows, or even put out statements. It’s one of the greatest foreign policy disasters in modern American history, leaving innocent civilians and long-time military allies subject to slaughter while liberating the very terrorists those allies were helping defeat, and Republicans did nothing. Of course, Liz Cheney then once again proved that she truly is her father’s daughter by taking the Trump cabal’s mendacity to its logical conclusion. She blamed Trump’s disaster on Democrats.
But Trump’s greenlighting the invasion and slaughter of the long-time American allies who played a key role in containing ISIS wasn’t contained to giving tacit permission and a shrug. Because prior to the greenlighting, he set the Kurds up by having them stand down. And he helped Turkey prepare:
Two US officials told The Times that as Turkish military officials planned the assault over the past few weeks, they were provided with American surveillance video and information from reconnaissance aircraft. Information like this could prove useful in picking out targets for air strikes.
The White House declined to comment when contacted by Insider on this matter, and the Department of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
And then when Great Britain, France, Germany, and Poland proposed a U.N. resolution condemning the invasion that he had greenlit, Trump did what he always does: He sided with Vladimir Putin, in this case, to kill it.
At the United Nations Security Council, both the United States and Russia, for different reasons, refused to approve a European-proposed resolution condemning Turkey’s action. Russia, whose air power has been decisive in helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad all but vanquish opposition rebels, has formed a close relationship with Turkey.
Asked why the administration had balked at the word “condemn,” which is being used by U.S. lawmakers of both parties and allies in Europe, the second administration official said a policy decision had been made to describe the Turkish operation as “a bad idea.”
Because in the great and unmatched wisdom of a very stable genius, condemning Turkey for the slaughter to which he had given the green light is just too much. Telling them it’s “a bad idea” would really show them! As would this:
The State Department plans to craft waivers to continue U.S. arms sales to Turkey, despite escalating diplomatic tensions and economic sanctions over Ankara’s ongoing military operations against Kurdish forces in northern Syria, according to a senior defense official.
The official said the Pentagon expects the waivers soon so that “official business” between the United States and Turkey — a NATO ally — can continue.
And the Republicans do nothing.
Meanwhile, back in the world where people do actually think and do actually have consciences, American troops who fought and worked with the Kurds were furious. People are being slaughtered. American strategic interests are being gutted. Analysts were warning that key intelligence now could fall into the hands of Syria and Russia. Betrayed by Trump, and desperate for survival, the Kurds themselves began turning to Syria and Russia for help. The Islamic State Trump lied about having been defeated was given new life.
All any Democrat should be talking about is the fact that ISIS fighters are being freed because of Trump.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) October 16, 2019
Finally realizing that not everyone was as impressed with his great and unmatched wisdom as he was, the very stable genius then desperately attempted political damage control by telling Turkey to stop doing what he had helped them to do, apparently drafting his thoughts in crayon. Turkey’s leaders took Trump’s words so seriously that it was almost possible to hear their laughter.
Trump got his ass kicked on the world stage yet again, and because of it people were dying. People who had been American allies were dying. As always with Trump, there is chaos. As always, Trump retreated to talking points that might have been written by hostile foreign despots. And as always, with Trump, Vladimir Putin was smiling.
No amount of lies can hide the truth. No amount of spin can repair the damage. Republicans signing on to toothless congressional resolutions are but attempts at political cover. Every day that Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office is a continuing emergency to innocent civilians and to America’s national security. And the Republicans do nothing.