Conservative columnist: Trump supporters have 'no one to blame but themselves' for devastating consequences of Syria withdrawal
Some Republicans who have been unwavering Trump supporters — from Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to evangelist Pat Robertson — are making an exception when it comes to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, asserting that President Donald Trump has done the United States’ Kurdish allies a huge disservice. But Never Trump conservative and Washington Post opinion writer Max Boot, in his October 14 column, asserts those backers helped pave the way for the Syria debacle by constantly giving Trump a pass.
“The Republican members of Congress who are apoplectic — ‘shameful disaster unfolding in Syria,’ tweeted Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming — have no one to blame but themselves,” Boot stresses. “They are the ones who continue to support a president who has been unabashed in his love of dictators, his disdain for human rights and his willingness to betray anyone or anything to advance his own interests.”
Since the withdrawal, Turkish troops under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have been entering northeastern Syria — raising fears that if Kurdish forces leave, they will no longer be guarding the captive ISIS terrorists being held in that area.
“There is scant chance that Turkish troops would have invaded northern Syria if U.S. troops were standing in the way,” Boot explains. “That is why President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked Trump to move the U.S. forces — and Trump, for reasons that remain mysterious, obliged.”
Dire warnings that captive members of ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria) would escape and Kurdish allies of the U.S. would be in danger are coming to pass, Boot laments.
“Now Kurds are being slaughtered, and Islamic State detainees are escaping,” Boot writes. “With chaos all around, Trump had no choice on Sunday but to order most U.S. troops to scuttle out of Syria in a humiliating defeat. Our forces are leaving so fast they could not take with them, as planned, some 60 ‘high-value’ Islamic State detainees — i.e., some of the worst terrorists on the planet.”
Another terrible consequence of the withdrawal, according to Boot, is the fact that Kurdish forces — abandoned by the U.S. troops they had been working with — have turned to Syria President Bashar al-Assad out of desperation. Those forces, Boot writes, “had no choice but to invite Syrian regime forces to come to their rescue, thereby handing a massive win not only to Bashar al-Assad, but also, to his backers in Moscow and Tehran. The one part of Syria that had been under the control of secular moderates — the Kurds are more progressive on women’s rights than anyone in the region aside from the Israelis — is now being divided between the brutal forces of Assad and Erdoğan”
Boot concludes his column by stressing that Trump’s apologists helped pave the way for the mess in northeastern Syria.
“Most of the time, the costs of the Trump presidency are inchoate — laws are broken, norms transgressed,” Boot stresses. “But when it came to immigrant children in cages or Kurds in the line of fire, the costs are all too human and horrifying. Are you happy now, Trump supporters? Is all this worth a corporate tax cut?”