Syrian Kurds have been our most trusted allies in the fight against ISIS, essential in helping us remove them from the battlefield and restore stability in that area. I strongly condemn President Trump’s decision to remove our troops from Syria, knowing full well that Turkey would invade at least twenty miles into territory occupied by our Kurdish allies, a move which also allowed ISIS prisoners to walk free, regroup, and re-arm. To abandon the Kurds now is a betrayal of that partnership and a clear message to anyone whose support we may seek in the future that the US cannot be trusted as an ally in the long run. This is the cost of weak, impulsive leadership.
This foreign policy disaster has had the silver lining of being a rare moment of some bipartisanship in Washington: many of our Republican representatives have found the courage to speak out against this poorly considered military action. We’ve also heard from many Christian leaders in American, and throughout the world, about the imminent dangers that now face the minority population of Christians in the region, who are estimated to number between 40,000 and 100,000.
I’ve been disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that Tom Reed supports Trump’s action, adding to the long list of times he has failed to show courage or moral leadership under this President. Rather than stand with strength and conviction on whichever side of this argument he resides, Reed issues meek, carefully worded statements that neither clarify the facts of the situation, nor his position on it. Reed’s half-hearted attempt to distance himself from the policies of the Trump administration, while making clear that he continues to support the president himself regardless of the damage he causes, now include this catastrophic decision to abandon our allies in the fight against ISIS. We need a vision for US leadership in the world that includes smart and strong diplomacy coupled with an unwavering commitment to human rights.
Trump, Reed and their shrinking group of allies in Congress have, with this cowardly and ill-conceived withdrawal, disrespected the selfless service of people such as my father and uncles who fought in World War II, their children who fought in Vietnam and down the family line to service today. Our forefathers designed the Constitution to mitigate against an imperial presidency. It is high time we should use it in their name, and in the names of all people who uphold traditional values of commitment, fairness and freedom.
I am calling for Congress to take swift action by passing the joint resolution being proposed shortly in the House and Senate to reverse this decision to withdraw from Syria, to protect our Kurdish allies, to ensure that ISIS fighters remain locked up and off the battlefield, and to keep Turkey within their own borders.