TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Over the weekend, the administration announced plans to withdraw the remaining American troops still stationed in Northern Syria. Of the countless decisions Donald Trump has announced on Twitter, you’d think this would be the least controversial. There is no reason for Americans to remain in Syria. ISIS no longer controls cities there. We have no plans to overthrow Assad government. There’s no longer a mission. And yet it’s still a very dangerous place to be. Five Americans have been killed in Syria this year. That’s especially poignant, given how pointless it is. Whatever you think of Trump, he’s admitting the obvious and trying to fix it.
For once, Americans are coming home from a middle eastern tar pit, rather than staying forever. We ought to be celebrating that. Instead, official Washington is apoplectic. They’re telling us we’re not allowed to leave Syria. It’s immoral, they say. It’s a betrayal — not a betrayal of Americans. That wouldn’t be a problem in Washington. It happens every day. It’s much worse than that. It’s a betrayal of an ethnic group in the mountainous parts of southwest Asia called the Kurds. What exactly do the people on TV know about Kurds? Nothing really. It’d be shocking if anyone at MSNBC had ever met one. And yet suddenly today, everyone in DC seemed thoroughly outraged on their behalf:
JOEL RUBIN, FMR. DEPUTY ASST. SEC OF STATE: Yeah Eamon It’s psychotic. It makes no sense... Essentially: You can go to the slaughter at the hands of Turkey. I’m washing my hands of it.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: What is the message to abandoning these Syria Kurds who fought so valiantly for the US?
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And now it seems as if the US is leaving them out to dry.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yet again the Kurds are being betrayed by those who helped them.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: I just wonder where is US credibility in the region with both friends and adversaries after abandoning the Kurds again.
BILL NEELY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: What we have here is a betrayal. What we might have in the coming weeks is a bloodbath.
We’d love to tell you it was just the lefty hacks on CNN demanding that we stay in Syria, but unfortunately it wasn’t. Not even close. A ton of Republicans on Capitol Hill made the same point: Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, even Mitch McConnell. All of them seemed far angrier about leaving Syria than they ever are about illegal immigration or Americans dying of fentanyl ODs. Some of the angry senators cited Vladimir Putin, as if it was somehow 1982 again and Russia was the preeminent threat to American interests. The professional neocons, not surprisingly, went completely wild — wilder even than usual. Former Bush speechwriter David Frum suggested that President Trump was paying off Turkey for covering up Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Frum provided no evidence for this, and no one in Wasington asked him to. They were too busy nodding along in agreement. Watch Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina get so worked up by the idea of Americans leaving a foreign war zone that he forgets to make any sense at all:
GRAHAM: If I didn’t see Donald Trump’s name on the tweet I thought it would be Obama’s rationale for getting out of Iraq. So here’s what’s going to happen. This is going to lead to ISIS reemergence. Nothing better for ISIS than to create a conflict between the Kurds and Turkey. The Kurds will now align with Assad because they have nobody to count on because we’ve abandoned them. So this is a big win for Iran and Assad, a big win for ISIS.
But wait. Assad and ISIS are on different sides of the conflict. How can an American withdrawal be a win for both? Graham didn’t explain. He turned down our offer to come on tonight, so we can only guess. Nikki Haley, meanwhile, strongly agrees with Graham. After resigning as U.N. ambassador, Hayley took a job on the board of directors of Boeing. Three months ago, Turkey suggested it may back out of a $10 billion deal with Boeing to buy jets for Turkish Airlines. Today, perhaps not coincidentally, Haley tweeted this. Quote: “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. Hashtag Turkey is not our friend.”
End quote. Turkey is not our friend? That’s a surprise. Barely a year ago, official Washington was savaging Trump for the crime of undermining NATO. The Atlantic ran this headline: “Trump’s Biggest Gift to Putin Is Questioning NATO.” People like Nikki Hayley strongly agreed with that. But here’s the weird thing: The Kurds aren’t part of NATO. Turkey is. We’re bound by treaty to defend the Turks if they’re attacked. Indeed, at this very moment, Turkey is hosting about fifty American nuclear weapons. Is Turkey our enemy or our friend? Washington can’t decide. The one point everyone here can agree on is that the interests of foreigners are far more important than our own. It’s immoral to look out for our own people, they tell us, but virtuous to suffer for those who hate us. Hundreds of thousands of Americans die from drugs manufactured by our enemies abroad, and our leaders shrug. They could care less. Turkey threatens to invade northern Syria, a place not one on a thousand Americans could find on a map? That’s an historic crisis. What you’re looking at is a set of priorities so mindless and perverse and distorted, there’s no fixing them. In the end, the only solution may be relocating the Kurds to Youngstown. Only then will Washington finally care.