Opinion » Editorial

Despicable: The Madness of King Don



Here's a new illustration of the meaning of "despicable." The current inhabitant of the White House had this to say via tweet, after a solid week of Turkish atrocities in northern Syria — atrocities that were the result of the president's ordering

American troops to stand down and allow Turkey to invade the Syrian-Turkish border:

  • Greg Cravens

"After defeating 100 percent of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria and Assad to protect the land of our enemy? Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!" 

How many things are wrong with this absurd and heartless braggadocio? First of all, U.S. forces did not defeat ISIS. That victory — unhappily incomplete but still substantial enough to bring final triumph to the very brink — was largely the work of the Kurds, the one ethnic force in the Middle East with the vigor and resolve to attend to such a difficult task. The Kurdish people have been allied with the United States' efforts from the beginning of this country's commitment to the region. Their losses in battles with ISIS forces have been correspondingly great, amounting to 11,000 casualties in the last five years of combat.

The Kurds are up against it again, this time against our so-called Turkish "ally," which these days is under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a strongman of the sort our man in the White House is unable to resist, just as he is unable to resist the charms of such others as Vladimir Putin in Russia and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. Kim Jung Un of North Korea is thus far mostly an honorary member of the fraternity of bully boys who have Trump's number, but he's surely on the cusp of full membership.

Who are the Kurds? Besides having been a faithful and courageous American ally doing the dirty work of fighting ISIS, they are a valiant democratic-minded nation-in-being that has so far not been allowed to be. Sold out in the international wheeling and dealing that followed both world wars, the Kurdish population endures in its hopes for the future — once again endangered by the current attempt at ethnic cleansing by the Turks, who resent the appeal of Kurdish nationhood to that portion of the Kurdish diaspora that is trapped in southern Turkey.

And who are Russia, China, and Iran? All nations that, one way or another, are considered bona fide adversaries to America. And Assad, the dictator of Syria? Yet another strongman, and one whom an impulsive Trump once hurled missiles at to prove his manhood.

The only silver lining to the current situation for us Tennesseans is the fact that three of Trump's staunchest Republican congressional allies — Senators Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander, and Representative Mark Green — have condemned his actions in Syria. That's the merest sort of crack in local GOP solidarity with Trump, but it's a start.

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