Trump is saying he doesn't approve of Turkey's military strike
On Wednesday, Trump condemned Turkey's military invasion of Syria by calling the operation "a bad idea." In the statement, Trump took no responsibility for opening the door to such military action after his surprise Sunday announcement that U.S. troops would leave the region.
"This morning, Turkey, a NATO member, invaded Syria," Trump said in his Wednesday statement. "The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea."
UPDATE: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that the U.S. never gave Turkey the greenlight for the invasion in Northern Syria, even though pulling out meant that was what would happen.
The statement seems to be at odds with a Sunday White House statement acknowledging Turkey would "soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria." In that statement, there was no condemnation from the Trump White House about Turkey's military intentions, and it was widely reported as endorsing the military operation.
Trump's Sunday announcement resulted in widespread bipartisan criticism. Even staunch Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) repeatedly lambasted Trump's decision, claiming it is "a disaster is in the making." Graham added that Trump's decision to withdraw from the region means "our Kurdish allies ... have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration."
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a member of House GOP leadership, wrote on Twitter that it was "Impossible to understand why [Trump] is leaving America's allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS."
Military experts widely expect Turkey to attack America's Kurdish allies, who helped the United States fight ISIS terrorists for nearly half a decade.
"This policy abandonment threatens to undo five years' worth of fighting against ISIS and will severely damage American credibility and reliability in any future fights where we need strong allies," Joseph Votel, a retired four-star general, wrote in a Tuesday op-ed.
On Wednesday, Trump claimed he abandoned Kurdish allies in the region based on a commitment to withdraw the United States from "endless, senseless wars — especially those that don't benefit the United States." Trump insists Turkey "has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place."
Trump made the decision to withdraw American troops from the region without consulting allies or even senior leadership at the Pentagon.
"A possible invasion from Turkey against the Kurdish elements of the SDF, coupled with a hasty U.S. departure, now threaten to rapidly destabilize an already fragile security situation in Syria's northeast," Votel added.
Days after Trump opened the door for a military operation, Turkey walked through it. As the fighting begins, Trump seems to want to backtrack and call the operation he once endorsed a "bad idea."
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.