Trump Doesn’t Care If ISIS Terrorists Return To Europe

President Trump is basically saying he does not care if ISIS prisoners return to Europe to commit terror attacks.

As I noted in my post this morning about the Turkish incursion into northern Syria, one of the concerns about the apparently impending war between Turkish and Syrian forces is what it could mean for the fate of ISIS prisoners being held in the area. Most of these prisoners consist of Europeans who traveled to Syria to fight and train with ISIS and they are currently being guarded by Kurdish forces who are likely to abandon that duty in favor of fighting alongside their comrades against the Kurds. If that happens, then the obvious risk is that these prisoners, which are said to number as high as 11,000, will escape and that many of them will seek to return to Europe, where the obvious risk is that they will carry out terror attacks like those we’ve seen in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

Asked about these concerns, the President basically said he doesn’t care:


President Trump on Wednesday said he’s not concerned about ISIS prisoners potentially escaping as the U.S. vacates northern Syria, claiming the escapees would end up Europe. 

Trump was asked in the Roosevelt Room of the White House about the potential threat of an ISIS resurgence, should its fighters escape once the U.S. leaves the region. 

“Well they’re going to be escaping to Europe. That’s where they want to go. They want to go back to their homes,” Trump said

“But Europe didn’t want them from us,” he added. “We could’ve given it to them. They could’ve had trials they could’ve had whatever they wanted. But as usual, it’s not reciprocal.

The president’s comments aligned with his detached tone about the potential toll of his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria.

The idiocy of this statement cannot possibly be understated. First of all, a significant number of these prisoners are likely to attempt to return to the fight in Syria or Iraq, a battle that is far from over notwithstanding the representations of the President and his supporters Those who don’t do that are likely to return to Europe and attempt to resume terror attacks that have become far less common than they used to be. In one comment, the President has basically said that he doesn’t care about those consequences because those prisoners will be returning to Europe, not the United States.

Gee, I wonder how our European allies, who Trump has already alienated on numerous occasions as I’ve documented before — see hereherehere, and here — will feel about this.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Military Affairs, National Security, Politicians, Terrorism, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. His rantings on this situation in Syria dramatically, and tragically, underscore why someone with no real understanding of global politics, informed only by niche mass media, should not be president.

    The notion, for example, that the Kurds don’t deserve our help in this current moment because they didn’t help us at Normandy is such nonsense that I keep struggling as to where to start to even try and address it.

    Trump is utterly unfit for office. And he really, truly, does not know what he is talking about or doing and yet his decisions have profound significance.

    25
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Gee, I wonder how our European allies, who Trump has already alienated on numerous occasions as I’ve documented before — see here, here, here, and here — will feel about this.

    Gee, I wonder how any/all our allies feel about this. At some point they’re all gonna say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…. Not gonna happen.” Any deals the US makes going forward will have to be paid for up front.

    We elected a morally bankrupt narcissist once, they gotta figure he won’t be the last.

    11
    1
  3. Teve says:

    If this is the level Trump voters are going to operate at, and if our constitutional system is going to bias the results toward them, then it’s not going to last.

  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Seriously…this statement that the Kurds didn’t help us in Normandy was/is so dumb that anyone uttering it shouldn’t be allowed outside intensive protective care…much less allowed to have control of ~1,800 deployed nuclear warheads.

    10
  5. @Daryl and his brother Darryl: It isn’t the dumbest thing he has ever said, nor the most ahistorical (I keep thinking back to the airport in the Revolutionary War or whatever it was he was talking about).

    But I think that the reason this is really getting to me is that it is the direct and immediate context of people being killed as well clearly and unambiguously leading to long-term negative policy consequences.

    It is actually viscerally upsetting.

    The ignorance is appalling. It is barely grade-school level dumb, and he is POTUS and CINC.

    17
  6. Kathy says:

    Trump: “Don’t worry. The leak is not on our side of the boat.”

  7. Pylon says:

    In one comment, the President has basically said that he doesn’t care about those consequences because those prisoners will be returning to Europe

    To Trump’s base, this is a feature, not a bug. They figure that those refugee loving socialists in Europe deserve this.

  8. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Trump is utterly unfit for office. And he really, truly, does not know what he is talking about or doing and yet his decisions have profound significance.

    Different day, same unfitness…

    Yet, one of our political parties will defend him to the end. They see the unfitness (they must don’t they) yet they accept it, because to do otherwise is to let the dreaded, evil Left “win.”

  9. dmichael says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I use this comment thread to respectfully suggest that Dr. Taylor write a post about how to address Trump supporters (not Republican office holders who will be reached only by being thrown out of office). I am a follower of Lily Tomlin to whom the following is attributed: “I try to be cynical but I just can’t seem to keep up.” What further evidence of Trump’s unfitness (corruption, mendacity, stupidity, narcissism, illegality, etc.) would be necessary to convince them not to support this clown? I fear that the answer is nothing would be sufficient. Kurds will now be slaughtered. Today’s TPM headline: “Guiliani Pals Arrested.”

  10. @dmichael:

    I use this comment thread to respectfully suggest that Dr. Taylor write a post about how to address Trump supporters

    This notion has been on my mind for time, along with a post of explaining to those who can’t understand why anyone would support Trump still might.

  11. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Its telling how Trump’s supporters here, like JKB and Drew, who have previously celebrated Trump’s foreign policy approach, will most likely avoid this (or the more recent NK postings) like the plague.

    None of them are prepared to address the realities of what his “non traditional” and “non expert” approach have (failed) to wrought.

    (aside – this isn’t to say the experts are always right (or listened to) regardless of party — there was a good twitter thread yesterday from some Obama advisors about how they had advocated against the initial plan of working with the Kurds because of the long terms challenges sustaining that commitment).

  12. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    along with a post of explaining to those who can’t understand why anyone would support Trump still might.

    I’d be interested in seeing your thoughts on this. I can think of at least six major possibilities (partisanship/partisan control, economics, social issues, existing in a media vacuum, lulz, ethnonationalism [separate from social issues]) that could account (by themselves or in combination).

  13. @mattbernius:

    this isn’t to say the experts are always right (or listened to) regardless of party

    I was thinking along those lines last night: often times experts make huge mistakes, often very deadly ones. But this current scenario is so much worse because it isn’t some miscalculations or mistake. It is just the result of someone who really does not understand what he is doing and has very little constraints on his behavior. At least an expert makes an informed, considered mistake. This is perhaps not a comforting distinction on many levels, but likewise an expert is far less likely to make such mistakes.

    And, of course, a lot of Trump’s actions in the global economy are just as dumb, it is just less obvious.

  14. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Trump has often said that he trusts his gut far more than he trusts experts.

    And, as he pointed out early on, he knows more than the generals do about ISIS because he watches “the shows.”

  15. Joe says:

    I hate to identify a silver lining on the backs of Kurds and others in harms way, but maybe, maybe, maybe this will push a few more Republicans to grasp for a path for Trump to be gone. After all, a man can dream.

  16. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    At least an expert makes an informed, considered mistake. This is perhaps not a comforting distinction on many levels, but likewise an expert is far less likely to make such mistakes.

    Agreed.

  17. Gustopher says:

    @mattbernius: I still think we are no worse off with North Korea than we would have been continuing the Obama policies, or the Bush policies, or the Clinton policies…

    Unless we want to have a major war with devastating consequences, things will stay on their current path.

    I propose assassination by heart failure — send Kim Jun Un gift baskets of foie gras, processed sugars and anything else we can get into his fat little face. It might take a while.

  18. @Gustopher:

    I still think we are no worse off with North Korea than we would have been continuing the Obama policies, or the Bush policies, or the Clinton policies…

    Take out the PR events and I am not sure the Trump policies are all that different from those listed.

    1
    1
  19. mattbernius says:

    @Gustopher:

    I still think we are no worse off with North Korea than we would have been continuing the Obama policies, or the Bush policies, or the Clinton policies…

    I’m not arguing those policies were necessarily right. However, to @Steven L. Taylor’s point, there were some significant PR wins for Kim, in addition to the canceling of the joint exercises. There’s also the issue of the diplomatic stress we have potentially caused allies like Japan.

  20. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “I propose assassination by heart failure — send Kim Jun Un gift baskets of foie gras, processed sugars and anything else we can get into his fat little face. It might take a while.”

    Send them to Kim? Or Trump? Both?

  21. CSK says:

    @wr: Trump wouldn’t eat foie gras. Maybe 3 buckets of KFC.

  22. Kathy says:

    @mattbernius:

    Exactly. If I may borrow a word, Trump embiggens the smallest dictator.

  23. de stijl says:

    Why would Kim forgo nuclear weapons and delivery systems?

    It is the ultimate get out of jail free card.

    North Korea knows it is seen as a rogue state – a rogue state with nukes is treated far differently than those without.

    Naive people are shocked and dismissive that countries act in their own intetests. They get discombobulated when they don’t fold under pressure from us. They are really stupid.

  24. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: What’s left to explain? They’ve been fed propaganda for decades and can no longer separate fact from fiction when it comes to the politicians on offer. Combine with your oft-explained point that we basically only have a binary choice and they go with their team. It’s not that complicated.

  25. @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    It’s not that complicated

    Oh, I know.

    Part of it is me just expressing frustration and part of it is my inner idealist that someone (either the commenter in question or a reader) will have lightbulb go off.

  26. Question Simple Anwers says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: so why does the US ave to be the smuck that burdened with detaining prisoners, who are citizens of our European Allies?

    They have refused to take responsibility for their citizens.