“I Am Ashamed”: U.S. Special Forces Watch As Turks Overwhelm Former Kurdish Allies

A U.S. Special Forces members in Syria told Fox News on the abandonment of our Kurdish allies has left left him “ashamed for the first time” in his career. He also says that the Turks have committed war atrocities after President Donald Trump overruled his military and state departments in suddenly pulling back troops. Trump responded on Thursday to the threat of thousands of extremist ISIS fighters escaping from prisons, including sites bombed by Turkey. When reporters pressed Trump on the widespread condemnation for the betrayal of the Kurds, Trump downplayed the alliance with the Kurds, 11,000 of whom died fighting to help the US mission against ISIS. “They didn’t help us in the second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy for example,” Trump said. “They’re there to help us with their land, and that’s a different thing.” Normandy is an area of France, not the US.”>Trump triggered further outrage by dismissing the Kurds (who lost 11,000 in fighting with the U.S. in Syria) by saying “They didn’t help us in the second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy for example.” It is a bizarre comment since Turkey was far from a reliable ally in World War II. Indeed, it signed a treaty with Germany and was accused of assisting the Nazis in critical ways, including chromite exports that kept the Nazi war machine going.

Notably, after getting Trump to back away from the protection of the Kurds, President Tayyip Erdogan is threatening Europe by pledging to send millions of refugees (including extremists) into their countries if they criticize his scorched earth invasion into Syria.

The Special Forces soldier who served along side of the Kurds expressed both shame and disbelief at Trump’s action (which was done without forewarning to our allies or even his own key officials). The soldier noted that Wednesday that “Turkey is not doing what it agreed to. It’s horrible. We met every single security agreement. The Kurds met every single agreement [with the Turks]. There was no threat to the Turks — none — from this side of the border.”  

Republican and Democratic leaders have expressed rare unity in condemning Trump’s move. In the meantime, Turkey is shelling civilian areas in its Orwellian named Operation Peace Spring.

The decision to pull back the U.S. troops (and insulting dismissal of the Kurds as allies) is indeed a shameful moment for this country. I can only imagine the emotions of our personnel who had to abandon their comrades in arms to make way for the Turkish invasion.

280 thoughts on ““I Am Ashamed”: U.S. Special Forces Watch As Turks Overwhelm Former Kurdish Allies”

  1. Between the comments Sec of D Esper and now sanctions, the administration is admitting the President did get rolled by Ertogen and is an ignorant fool who doesn’t know that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. The ramifications of this go way beyond Syria.

  2. Business Insider:

    “Defense Secretary Mark Esper issued the US’s strongest condemnation of Turkey’s military assault against Kurdish forces in northeast Syria on Monday, calling it an “unacceptable incursion” and “impulsive.”

    In his statement, Esper characterized Turkey’s assault as having “undermined the multinational ‘Defeat ISIS’ mission in Syria,” and confirmed it resulted in the release of many of the ISIS fighters that were imprisoned by the once US-backed Kurdish forces….”

  3. Ivan, given your apparent confidence in Trump’s “decision” you might want call the WH and remind them of the plan. We get a different story every few hours and don’t get whether it’s all going great as the Syrians and Russians take over for us or requires sanctions to get Erdogen’s attention as he must have misunderstood Trump ‘s clear surrender.

    1. https://abcnews.go.com/International/russia-prevent-clash-syrian-government-turkey/story?id=66284725

      I hadn’t seen any reports of Syrian forces fighting the Turkish army, or fighting any of the other forces that Turkey is using in their offensive.
      Since the Russians are telling them avoid combat between them, and if they intend to enforce that by patrolling the territory between them, that would seems to prevent a Syrian government rescue of the Kurds.
      It’s hard to know the intentions of each party and how this will all play out. One possibility may be that the Assad Syrian forces stay put, the Turkish forces continue attacking the Kurds, and Assad and Erdogan and the Russians are all satisfied to see the Kurds get demolished.

  4. The Kurds have turned to the Syrian government and they are moving into position. If you’ve been following the comments you can tell who knows what they’re talking about and who is talking out their ass.

    A good place to monitor the action in the war:

    https://syria.liveuamap.com

    The war in Syria was won back in Sept 2015 when the Russians were invited in and kicked the asses of the Western backed jihadis. The DOD backed SDF rushed to take the areas east of the Euphrates before the Syrians could cross in order to deny the government access to it’s oil resources. All these games are now over. Thank god Syria won. Thank god for the Russians. We didn’t defeat ISIS and the jihadis, they did. Soon, the Syrians and Russians will defeat Al Qaeda in Idlib despite our best efforts to protect them. The CIA is very upset, if they could kill Trump and get away with it they would.

    1. I will second that liveuamap.com provides an excellent insight into the daily situation on the ground in the various theaters it covers. In my view it provides far better links to information than most news outlets. Though brief on each event, it does at least give a person an avenue to seek further information.

      As to you comment, Ivan, on https://jonathanturley.org/2019/10/11/i-am-ashamed-u-s-special-forces-watch-as-turks-overwhelm-former-kurdish-allies/comment-page-2/#comment-1890663 that was one of the best assessments on the situation regarding the Syrian Kurds I’ve seen among the comments in some time. Good work.

    2. You’re mixing up the participants. IS was not aligned with most of the Syrian opposition – which was not all fundamentalists – and was defeated in N Syria and Iraq with our help by opposition groups including the Kurds.

      I refer you again to the numbers on the slaughter of civilians by the Russian backed Syrian government which you are cheering.

      1. “and was defeated in N Syria and Iraq with our help by opposition groups including the Kurds.”

        Anon persists. His explanation remains, the Kurds are our allies.

        Not true and the simple response to that errant idea: “misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows,” Tempest

      2. Anon1,

        I haven’t commented much on how ISIS is aligned and not aligned with the rest of the Syria opposition. The opposition is overwhelming jihadi with the goal of establishing sharia law. But there are different groups with different aims- ISIS is the one group whose openly stated aim extends beyond the borders of a single nation. The jihadist groups have waged a very brutal war among themselves for supremacy…ISIS largely won that war although Al-Qaeda remained largely in control of Idlib. It’s important to note that the groupings of jihadi forces are made up of many different local groups.

        I place the blame for the hundreds of thousands slain on those who started the war: the jihadis, the Sunni states(SA, gulf states), Turkey, and our beloved USA. Our war to topple Assad via proxy jihadi forces has failed, and I say thank God, the Syrian government, and the Russians. Without Russia’s intervention at the behest of Syria in Sept 2015, Aleppo falls, Assad is done for, and the jihadi’s take over with epic slaughter of secular forces.

        FYI, I’m cheering right now as I watch the Kurds come to their senses. Syrian forces have already moved rapidly to protect the Kurds and stop the advancement of Turkish forces. But were only part way there. I trust your following the war closely:

        https://syria.liveuamap.com

        The orange areas are where the Syrians have taken over from the Kurds. You’ll note that there’s this city labelled as Efrin in the North West that’s all in green. That area should have been orange, but the Kurds stood, fought, and died there in a pointless battle they couldn’t win about a year ago. Those were brave soldiers that died and they were let down by their leadership.

        The only deaths that are deserved are those of the jihadi and Turkish forces.

  5. Yes, it is “contestable”. Anyone who pretends to know the primary composition and nature of the revolt with respect to the objectives of its participants is just blowing smoke.
    There was a mixture of actual pro- democratic forces mixed in with those with regional grevances mixed in with Islamists and who knows what will else.
    We don’t know “who’s who” when an uprising in a society like that occurs. There were advocates early on of heavily arming ” the moderate” anti-Assad forces.
    Good luck with trying to figure out who they are. One program designed for that purpose packed it in when they could not vet enough “moderate” insurgents to arm. They had plenty of weapons to supply, but didn’t know who’d be using them.

    1. I think I addressed your concerns which are incorrect on the detail regarding the nature of the Libyan civil war – though less so than whe we started – a position you have an investment in to support your previously hardened opinion. But it’s a free country and if you favor inaction in the face of fast moving events, OK. Just realize by doing so you also make a choice with consequences..

    2. Your post is idiotic. First you say “anyone who pretends to know the primary composition and nature of the revolt with respect to the objectives of its participants is just blowing smoke.” And then you go on to describe what you think was the composition and nature of the revolt. Clearly you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about…you admit it in your first sentence.

      1. I should have been more specific, and my response was to the claim that this was a revolution sparked primarily by pro- democratic forces.
        When you have a number participants from known factions mixed in together in an uprising ( and probably other factions we’re not familiar with, like warlords, etc.), you can’t determine if the primary driving force behind the revolution is pro-democratic, pro- Islamic and jihadist, opportunists looking to expand their influence over a village or a region, etc.
        And the jihadist aren’t likely to declare their intentions to the governments who might support the revolution, or to the media. During the course of the revolution, they are more apt to claim that they want a free, Democratic Lybia.
        So while you can generally identify some of the elements, some of the factions that are involved, you can’t make a blanket statement that this is primarily an uprising driven by pro-democratic forces.
        Any more than you can make a blanket statement that it’s driven by jihadist. You might know some of what’s “in the mix”, but you can’t determine what percentage of those in the revolution want to oust the government because they want a democratic state, because they want an Islamic/ jihadist state, or something else.
        Right now, this General Hartf?, a key anti-Khaddafi participant in the uprising, is fighting with the Tripoli government.
        He is not an Islamist or jihadist, he was part of the movement against Khaddaffi, and he’s fighting the Tripoli- based government that replaced Khaddaffi, and is teetering.
        We know some things about him, but if he’s dominant and overwhelms the current semblance of a national government, will he be an el-Sisi type of strongman?
        That’s the “something else” in the mix, where he might be a potential dictator and is prinarily in pursuit of a power grab, or if he believes he can stabilize Lybia and put it on a path to democracy.

        1. While my last two comments were posted in response to anon1’s 5:53 PM comment (that it was “incontestable” that the Libyan uprising was driven prinarily by Democratic forces), they were posted out of sequence.

  6. Below is from the powerline blog. Any of those that feel differently want to tell us where the logic fails?
    —-

    A Sensible Take on Syria
    Posted: 11 Oct 2019 03:24 PM PDT
    (John Hinderaker)
    Liberals’ foreign policy views are inconsistent, but entirely predictable: whatever a Republican president does, they oppose. Thus, Democrats applauded when President Obama prematurely withdrew American troops from Iraq, enabling the rise of ISIS. But when President Trump pulled a few hundred out of Syria, it was: OMG! The Kurds!

    James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation and the Institute of World Politics gave an interview to the Daily Signal that gives the best take I have seen on Trump’s recent Syria move. You really should read it all, but here are some highlights:

    When President Trump came in office, he actually expanded the U.S. footprint in Syria, because military advisers made the argument that … you couldn’t take down the caliphate—in other words, destroy the physical state that the terrorist had—if we didn’t actually have forces in there working with indigenous groups that were fighting ISIS, chief among them, the YPG, which is a armed Kurdish group.

    And so President Trump actually increased the U.S. footprint in Syria. Then subsequent to that, after the caliphate was destroyed, the president wanted to withdraw U.S. troops. The military advisers and several allies, including Israel, said, “Well, look, there’s still concerns that need to be addressed.” So we’ve maintained a small footprint in Syria for the last year or so.
    ***
    [W]e estimate it’s a relatively small print of a few hundred Americans in uniform that are spread around the areas that are not controlled by the Syrian government.
    ***
    Let’s start by what the Turks are doing. They’re not invading Syria. There is a portion of Syria which borders Turkey, which right now is kind of uncontrolled. Nobody really controls the port. The Syrian government doesn’t control the border. There are Kurdish groups in that area and the Turks wanted to control that area. It’s several kilometers wide, so it’s really a small chunk of Syria.

    Why do they want to control it? Well, one, they don’t want it to be a platform for Kurdish terrorist groups, not the Kurdish people. There’s a difference, right? There are Kurds all over the region. There are Kurds in Iran. There are Kurds in Iraq. There are Kurds in Syria. There are Kurds in other places. So when you say the Kurds, that’s a lot of people spread all over the Middle East, but there are Kurdish groups which are affiliated with specific terrorist groups, like the PKK, which is a terrorist group [that] … focuses on attacking Turkey.

    So they don’t want terrorist groups to use that area as a platform to attack Turkey. They want to control their border and they would like to create a space because they have probably a million refugees or more from Syria that are living in Turkey. The Turks would like to create a space so those people can move back into Syria. It’s a relatively limited objective that the Turks have outlined.
    ***
    What did the U.S. do? Well, if you actually read the statement of the Department of Defense, which actually explains this, we didn’t give permission for the Turks to do this. They didn’t ask permission. And the reality is we can’t stop them from doing this. We have a couple of hundred soldiers in the entire country. We don’t have enough … to prevent the Turks from doing anything unless we’re going to start bombing the Turkish military, which I don’t think we’re going to do.

    So they didn’t ask our permission. They said they were going to do this and what we did, which was actually probably appropriate, [was] we made sure that Americans weren’t in harm’s way, so if things went bad, our guys wouldn’t get hurt.

    We should be really clear here, because what the U.S. government did [is] they said, “Look, you’re going in here. You are responsible for what you do. There are civilians in there. Protecting those civilians … that’s your job now.”

    There are thousands of ISIS fighters detained in that area. If you wind up taking control of them, you’re responsible for them. If those guys … get out and they’re running around the country, you have to capture them and then detain them because if those guys, bad guys, spill out, that’s your fault. …

    I don’t think we left the Turks off the hook at all.
    ***
    The one we’re talking about specifically is called the YPG, which is a subset of a group called the SDF. They are an armed militia that we partnered with to help fight ISIS and to track down ISIS guys and detain them. And indeed, they’re detaining many of these guys. They’re not an ally. … They’re very, very good fighters. That doesn’t make them nice guys.

    To be fair, defeating the caliphate as rapidly as we did under President Trump would not have been possible without arming them. Having said that, they’re not an ally of the United States. We don’t really owe them anything, other than we made a transactional deal to work with them to defeat the caliphate. And we have transactional deals to help them when they do [things that are] helpful to us. As long as we’re fulfilling that obligation, that transactional obligation, I think we’re OK.

    People always say, “Well, the Turks are going to kill these guys.” Well, if the YPG … has a war with the Turkish military, yeah, they probably will shoot each other. One of the things that the United States could do is help broker that because they shouldn’t be fighting each other. And the Turks have legitimate concerns about terrorists.
    ***
    We have limited interest in Syria, we have limited capabilities, and we have limited influence. The question is how to use that best? These people that talk about a couple of hundred soldiers—which to be honest, are a speed bump to bad actors in that country—they’re not going to end the war in Syria. They’re not going to solve the problem. They’re not going to protect the Kurds.

    The U.S. can be a limited force for good, and the question is, how do we do that? How do we best leverage our footprint to be a limited force for good?

    1. Doofus’s wingnut source:

      “The Centre for Research on Globalization promotes a variety of conspiracy theories and falsehoods.[26] It has reported that the 11 September attacks were a false flag attack planned by the CIA,[2] that the United States and its allies fund al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and that sarin gas was not used in the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, which globalresearch.ca articles characterized as a false flag operation orchestrated by terrorists opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[6][21] Other articles published on the site have asserted that the 7 July 2005 London bombings were perpetrated by the United States, Israel, and United Kingdom.[13] Chossudovsky has himself posted articles on the site which suggested that Osama bin Laden was a CIA asset, and accusing the United States, Israel and Britain of plotting to conquer the world.[13] The Centre has also promoted the Irish slavery myth, prompting a letter by more than 80 scholars debunking the myth.[25]

      According to PolitiFact, the Centre “has advanced specious conspiracy theories on topics like 9/11, vaccines and global warming.”[8] Foreign Policy notes that the Centre “sells books and videos that ‘expose’ how the September 11 terrorist attacks were ‘most likely a special covert action’ to ‘further the goals of corporate globalization.'”[22] A 2010 study categorized the website as a source of anti-vaccine misinformation.[23] The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab described it as “pro-Putin and anti-NATO”.[27] The Jewish Tribune described the Centre as being “rife with anti-Jewish conspiracy theory and Holocaust denial.”[28] Writing for the New Republic, Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, Lecturer in Digital journalism at the University of Stirling, describes the Centre’s website as a “conspiracy site”.[24]

      In November 2017, The Globe and Mail reported that the Centre’s website was “in the sights” of NATO information warfare specialists investigating “the online spread of pro-Russia propaganda and of disinformation.” According to the Globe, NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (StratCom) believed that the site was playing a “key accelerant role in helping popularize articles with little basis in fact that also happen to fit the narratives being pushed by the Kremlin” and the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad. The report described the site as an “online refuge for conspiracy theorists” and suggested that NATO specialists viewed it as “a link in a concerted effort to undermine the credibility of mainstream Western media—as well as the North American and European public’s trust in government and public institutions.”[6] Asked to comment on the report, Chossudovsky responded through his lawyer, saying that the Centre did not have ties to pro-Russia or pro-Assad networks, was not “affiliated with governmental organizations” and did not benefit from their support.[6]…”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Chossudovsky#Centre_for_Research_on_Globalization

      1. I used that source because it accurately covered the economic improvement under Khaddaffi in Lybia, the great increase in literacy, advances in healthcare, etc.
        There are “more acceptable” sources that will verify this, if you bother to check.
        One reason that I posted that information was that Khaddaffi did have a base of support in Libya.
        This wasn’t as clear-cut as “the dictator vs. the Libyan people. A combination of improved living standards, regional and tribal loyalties, and those uninterested in changing the status quo gave him a base of support.
        It’s not like we have polling to give us an idea of how many Libyans supported him, how many opposed him, or how many were indifferent.
        I’m not going to pretend that I know those percentages. Those who claim that “the Libyan people” overthrew Khaddaffi might pretend to know, but based on what?

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