Twitter is like the boyfriend you know you need to break up with. I need to stay away, but it sucks me in. A couple of days ago I heard that 45 had decided we were going to pull out of Syria. I figured General/Secretary Mattis would never let that happen, so I wasn’t concerned. I dismissed it as Trump being an idiot again. When the awful news came down yesterday that Mattis was resigning and we were actually leaving Syria, I fell into a panic.
I went to all the Twitter folks that I follow in times of crisis to get their takes and everybody was appropriately distressed. No one had any conciliatory messages except that perhaps at last Trump had gone too far and would get real pushback from Republican foreign policy hawks in the Senate. Unfortunately, that is not the only fire going on right now in the dumpster. We also have the government shutdown clock ticking and the stock market crashing……So I was up past 1:00 in the morning with feet frozen contemplating the disastrous new world with America in retreat as the forces of authoritarianism and despotism cover the planet in devastating atrocities before consolidating their power and making a war that will truly end all wars.
Some might dismiss my concerns as pessimism. Perhaps. I hope you are right. Some are cynical and expect that America has always been a sham and nothing has changed. For some, cynicism is a powerful anesthetic. They can continue to live like zombies, alive but dead to real conviction. My brain just doesn’t work that way. Cynicism is like a poison to my soul, as fatal to me as hemlock was to Socrates. I am an unapologetic believer in American exceptionalism. It is written on the fleshy tablets of my heart and will remain there until my corpse rots in the grave. When my Savior comes for me in the resurrection, the writing will be restored as it is a part of me. America has ever been my dream. I revel in her victories and the mightiness of her compassion. She is not perfect, but her imperfections are like spots on the sun; they are nothing in comparison with her greatness and beauty. Any warts from the past are swallowed up in the hopes of a better future. I rejoice when I see the influx of immigrants who come here with a sincere understanding of the miracle of representative government that unlocks the potential of human society like nothing the world has ever seen.
Like a gardener, I look across the planet, as if I were lady liberty herself. I see pockets of liberty’s fire that burn bright in the human soul, and I cheer for them from afar. I have friends on Twitter from all over the world that I follow. Kurds, Israelis, French, German, Indian (from India), and Ukrainian. Thanks to Google translate I can understand their take on the day’s news. They are my countrymen. I love them and want the blessings of liberty and prosperity to rest upon them and their families. I pray for them. Today I have rushed around trying to clean the house and prepare for Wesley’s birthday party, but I had to take a break to write for a while. I feel like my head is going to explode!
For a while years ago, I was rather obsessively following the war in Iraq. I was distressed with the rest of the world at the rise of Al Queda in Iraq and the deadly war of terror they waged with the Iraqi security forces who were daily found handcuffed in chains of unfortunate victims beheaded because they dared to believe in a Democratic future in Iraq. When the surge put them on the retreat, I hoped that perhaps those people might yet secure the blessings of peace and security for themselves.
Then President Obama decided the war was over, and ISIS was born in the vacuum we left behind. We abandoned our allies and the Syrian and Iraqi people paid the price in rivers of blood and horrendous atrocities. When we again committed to fight against terrorism in earnest, I was mystified when I heard about Iraqi forces that were armed with American weapons and trained by American soldiers, who left their weapons and even their uniforms and fled in retreat. The precious equipment including tanks, munitions, and firearms was handed over to our enemies. How could the Iraqi people do that? Didn’t they know the danger of ISIS and the importance of defending their homes and families? I was disgusted and angry.
I researched the Middle East and the different factions of Iraq, why Democracy has been so difficult for them to adopt, and why their military was so incompetent. Apparently the military leaders are Sunni, leftovers from Sadam Hussien’s government. They really don’t want Democracy or American/Iraqi victory. They were sabotaging their own army and their poor men fled in the chaos. It was discouraging to read about. But then, I came across the Peshmerga.
Peshmerga. The very word fills my heart with admiration. I love them as though they were my own people. They seem to me as if they are mythical warriors infused with heavenly fire. If there was an opposite to the Iraqis in battle competence, it is the Peshmerga.
They are composed of Kurds, a scrappy and fierce, loyal and resourceful people. They are steely with the determination born out of a crucible of suffering over hundreds of years. They have survived against astounding odds over the years. Unfortunately, they are feared and hated by the nations in whose land they live. Turkey especially has nursed a murderous desire to wipe them off the planet. The United States has given the Kurds a small fraction of the aid that Iraqi forces have enjoyed. Even though we Americans have been unsteady allies, they are devoted to us. They fight alongside our soldiers with the sure knowledge that only we have the honor and power to give them what they want most, security and peace in a homeland. They only want to be themselves and live in peace, but no nation will allow it. Their only hope is for the United States to make them a country or force representation for them in a government of an existing nation. Like Israel, they want a homeland, a place that they can have the right to exist. Like Israel, they need the steady support of the United States to survive.
Partisans were insisting that either we do another surge or continue with air attacks which were not working. The overwhelming majority of military leaders said, “If you want to win the war against ISIS without sending in another surge of troops on the ground, you need to arm the Kurds.” Mattis especially seemed to think that the Peshmerga were the key to securing the region. Their forces were battle hardened, fiercely loyal, and devestatingly deadly. Every bullet given to a Kurd would find it’s target in an enemy. Unfortunately, arming the Kurds would antagonize Turkey and Syria and everybody else that hates the Kurds, so it was a diplomatic nightmare.
Trump was smart enough to appoint Mattis as his Secretary of Defense, and he has done incredible things. He armed the Kurds as he wanted to do years ago. The Kurds and U.S. forces together have turned the tide against ISIS and they are nearly destroyed. Given a few more years, stability and prosperity might coax the war weary people to give Democracy another chance. With Democratic representation, the Kurds would at last have a voice and the chance at the life they fought for doing the work we didn’t want to do. The Peshmerga are heroes. They fought our battles against ISIS and they won them for us. They are our soldiers just as much as if they were commissioned in our army. We owe them our gratitude and our promise of reciprocal loyalty. Instead we are leaving them to almost certain death.
Turkey’s Defense Minister has already said that as soon as American forces leave the region, they will attack the Kurds and destroy them. The Kurds are more than allies, they are the personal friends and brothers in arms to our military men. It is no wonder that General Mattis resigned in protest. He is a man of honor. The Kurds were vital to his Middle East policy. To command his men to abandon their allies to certain destruction is immoral and unAmerican. I am ashamed of my country and our feckless leader. Donald Trump is a coward and a bully. He knows nothing of honor or loyalty.
It was all I could do last night to keep from packing a suitcase and flying to Syria. I would go and fight with the Peshmerga and die with them and they would know that at least one American would not leave them. Alas, my life is bound for a different fate, but my heart is with them, as it is with all those who fight for freedom. They are more American than most of us will ever be. They fight for a country that they don’t live in, for the hope of freedoms they have only heard about.
My love for the Kurds and profound respect I have for the Peshmerga fills my heart with a rage at their betrayal that I didn’t know I was capable of. For any of my friends and family who have hoped that my hatred of Donald Trump would abate, it grows by the day. The only way that it will be expired is by his complete rejection, impeachment, and removal from office. He is a blight upon humanity. The only place he is worthy to inhabit is a prison cell and until he is safely in one, I will fight against him and his kind. Those who glut themselves on the blessings fought for and died for by people they could never understand; those who live narcissistic lives of entitlement thinking that the fine things of the world are owed to them; the privileged few who think that they are God’s gift to the rest of the world while contributing nothing but bile. The stench of their filthiness rises to heaven along with the blood of those who they betray. God’s hand will not be stayed forever, and woe to those who are guilty when the sword of his justice falls.