Syria, the Kurds, and “Mormons to the Rescue?”

Syria, the Kurds, and “Mormons to the Rescue?” October 18, 2019


Kurdish area
A 1992 CIA map showing the Kurdish region of the Middle East. Things probably haven’t changed much since then.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain)


New York Times: “Mormons to the Rescue? The reddest faith in America is also the one most skeptical of Donald Trump.”


“Mitt Romney says everybody knows it ‘is wrong’ to ask a foreign government to probe a political rival”




You may perhaps have missed this Hamblin/Peterson background article in the Deseret News from a few days ago.  Perhaps you missed it deliberately:


“The Kurds, caught between four modern countries”


Now let’s look at some links about the current disaster:


The estimable conservative commentator David French makes the same distinction between Trump and the Trump administration that I myself have been careful to make over the past two or three years.  I hold Mr. Trump himself in low esteem, but have been pleased by many (though by no means all) of the actions of the current presidential administration, notably including its judicial appointments.  But French argues that, with the departure or effective neutering of many of Mr. Trump’s best advisors, the distinction between Trump administration and Trump are collapsing:


“More Evidence the Guardrails Are Gone”


I’m very pleased to see this important article by the very fine conservative writer Jonah Goldberg:


“To Trump, Alliances Are Strictly Business: Integrity’s got nothing to do with it.”


To those of us who were already familiar with candidate Donald J. Trump’s long and well-documented history of cheating workers and contractors, cheating on his wives, cheating with the wives of other men, and so forth, his behavior in the matter of Syria, Turkey, and the Kurds doesn’t entirely come as a surprise.


One thing that is becoming clearer, however, is the fact that electing a person to the presidency merely because he has been successful in business (as Mr. Trump claims to have been, and may occasionally have been) is misguided.  Particularly if that business career has been marked by apparently gross ethical problems.


“ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων,” said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus around B.C. 500.  Or, as his remark (Fragment 119) is often translated, “Character is destiny.”


I notice, by the way, that most if not all of those who have been defending Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw the 26 or 28 U.S. military advisors from Kurdistan as a noble example of his concern for American lives and his care for our boys in uniform, seeking to get them out of harm’s way by removing them from far distant foreign entanglements, have been distinctly silent about his virtually simultaneous decision to deploy 1800 additional U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia.  Curious, that.  But notice, too, his boasting that, unlike the Kurds, Saudi Arabia is paying us to send our troops there.  Now, I get it.  Saudi Arabia is wealthy.  But is anybody else disturbed by the mercenary overtones that arise when it seems that American protection is for sale?


Here’s an early response to the Trump decision about Turkey, Syria, and the Kurds that I had missed until today:


“The U.S. is Now Betraying the Kurds for the Eighth Time”


And here are some more recent items that I find worthy of mention:


“Kurdish humanitarian groups left to fend for themselves as Northern Syria goes from refuge to frontline”


“Kurds say Turkey is violating hours-old ‘ceasefire’ in northern Syria”


“Kurds accuse Turkey of using napalm and white phosphorus”


“U.N. Investigates Possible Chemical Weapons Use by Turkish Forces in Syria”


“A letter to Kurdish soldiers from a US military wife”


“On Syria, Trump is pushing Republicans too far”


“McConnell Says He Wants ‘Something Stronger’ than House Resolution Condemning Syria Troop Withdrawal”


“Romney: Abandoning Kurds ‘a bloodstain’ on US”


“Romney Demands Answers from White House on Syria Decision: ‘American Honor Has Already Been Tarnished’”



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