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.
In a move that reportedly shocked U.S. military and diplomatic officials, President Donald Trump suddenly caved to Turkish demands and ordered U.S. troops to pull back from the areas held by our Kurdish allies. The move is being widely denounced by both Democrats and Republicans as an abandonment of allies who have fought along side with us for years. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., denounced the “impulsive decision” by Trump and said that this could be “a disaster in the making.” The authoritarian president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is of course delighted and is expected to invade Syria now that U.S. troops are pulling back. Nikki Haley, Trump’s former United Nation ambassador, put it bluntly in saying that Trump was leaving our Kurdish allies “to die.” Likewise, Senate Majority Leader denounced the move and declared that it “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”
President Donald Trump has tweeted that he has fired National Security Adviser John Bolton. Bolton however pointedly contradicted Trump and said that he resigned. What is clear is that another high-ranking Trump official is out — an astonishing turnover of such officials in a single Administration. However, few are likely to object on this one given the unpopularity of Bolton in Washington, which viewed him as someone who has long advocated the use of military interventions and wars. Update: President Trump responded by saying that Bolton was indeed fired and he did not resign as he has stated.
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on a week of disturbing false statements from the two leading presidential candidates for 2020. Both stories should give voters pause. Indeed, this week has also seen candidates like Kamala Harris challenged on not one but two statements on her record and, in a way, her selective hearing. Yet, despite Donald Trump’s bizarre conduct in the Hurricane Dorian controversy, the more serious (and less covered) falsehood was Joe Biden’s statement about his claimed opposition to the Iraq War. As someone who opposed the Iraq War, it is frustrating to see former and current senators falsely claiming to have been duped or being opposed to the war. At the time, neither Democratic nor Republicans senators wanted to even hear from those of us who opposed the resolution. Indeed, the key hearing held was absurd with neither party calling opponents to the war. What is striking however is how little press was given to Biden’s false claim in comparison to the Hurricane controversy.
For those of us who opposed the war resolution on Iraq, the later spins by presidential candidates John Kerry and Hillary Clinton left us incensed. At the time, many of us criticized the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq as a blank check to President Bush that jettisoned the responsibilities given to them by the Framers. When they voted for the war, it was popular and that seemed the only determinative factor. When thousands died or were wounded and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, they followed the polls in belatedly opposing their own prior positions. Kerry and Clinton later insisted that they were tricked about the resolution despite such objections in the press. Now we can add presidential candidate Joe Biden who is raising objections over his insistence that he never really supported the war and that he “immediately” opposed it.
There was a rare public violation by an officer in uniform this week when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was met by Major Ginger Tate of the U.S. Army National Guard Signal Corps . Tate proceeded to give Biden some ceremonial coins but then added “I hope and pray that you will be our next president.” This could present a novel problem for the White House. Normally, the White House could strongly object to the violation of the Hatch Act, but the Trump White House (and particularly adviser Kelly Anne Conway) has been a flagrant violator of the Act and refused to take actions against those violating the Act in favor of the President.
Always check your batteries. There is a report out of the United Kingdom that an ISIS terrorist rigged a drone as a bomb only to kill himself. The reason? The terrorist failed to fully charge the drone which ran low in mid flight so it returned to its base automatically –detonating over the head of the terrorist.
President Donald Trump took a highly extraordinary — and in my view a highly inappropriate — step on Wednesday in ordering the Navy to rescind the achievement medals awarded to military prosecutors in the case against Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher was accused of murder and other crimes in his killing of a teenage ISIS fighter who was his prisoner in 2017 in Iraq. It is hard not to view the President’s intervention as retaliation against prosecutors who took an unpopular case and carried out their duties despite being publicly ridiculed by the Commander in Chief. The move undermines the professionalism and independence of the military justice system.
Washington is on edge this morning after congressional leaders were briefed on a strike on Iran and the military deployed assets for the pre-dawn attack only to have President Donald Trump rescind the order. Democrats briefed on the attack urged Trump to deescalate and he appears to have heeded such calls, not only from congressional leaders but some in his own Administration. Frankly, the decision to pull back is reassuring for many who felt like there was an orchestrated effort to push the U.S. into a war with Iran — a war reportedly encouraged by allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. military spent $20 million on parkas that were supposed to counter night vision googles and allow our Air Force personnel to move undetected in combat. Instead, the parkas were counterfeited Chinese products that lacked any night vision capabilities — exposing any troops to detection by the enemy. The persons responsible for this potentially lethal fraud were not just our friends in China but Ramin Kohanbash, 49, and other associates, operating a Brooklyn, New York, clothing and goods wholesaler. They are now criminally charged. If proven, the depravity of this crime is truly overwhelming. Kohanbash allegedly conspired with the Chinese to get rich at the possible cost of the sons and daughters of other Americans who are serving in war zones.
I wrote recently about the demand from the White House that the military move the USS McCain from Yokosuka Naval base during Donald Trump’s visit to Japan. It was a disgraceful insult to McCain, our military, and the country. My hope was that the White House would do that right thing and fire the staffers responsible for treating an active U.S. warship as a petty prop. Instead, Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that it wasn’t “unreasonable” for the demand to be made. In doing so, Mulvaney confirmed that the White House cares little for the principles of separating our military from politics or pettiness. Thus what might have been denounced as a terrible mistake is now embraced by the Trump White House as a reasonable use of our military to protect the President’s sensibilities. It not only makes Trump look like a unhinged egotist but also his Administration as cringing sycophants. It also contradicts the position of the Acting Secretary of Defense. That is quite an accomplishment even for a White House known for self-inflicted wounds.
The White House reportedly told the Defense Department that it needed to send away the the USS John McCain so that it was not around when President Donald Trump visited Japan. Named after Trump’s Republican critic, the ship had to be “out of sight” by the time Trump arrived for a visit to the Yokosuka base. Trump has denied knowing about the order, but did not say that he would find out who issued the order and fire them. The idea of White House staff dictating the movement of warships is extremely serious and the Navy should have refused. These warships have missions and are not props. Moreover, the people serving on these ships are not some collective pariah due to petty politics.
With the litany of political investigations abound in Washington, DC, another of lesser consequence–and admittedly equal in relevance–involved errant U.S. Navy Aviators who drew a ginormous sky-borne phallus using contrails.
Surely, most everyone in Okanogan County probably found a good laugh, but someone just had to complain to a Spokane news medium and the controversy unfolded.
I am greatly relieved that our national security was assured as a result of this investigation. Yet, unfortunately, the additional laughs garnered probably did not live up to the budget spent on their revelation.