Trump On Syrian Kurds: They Didn’t Help Us At Normandy
Trump makes a particularly dumb comment about our alliance with Syrian Kurds.
Asked about the fate of Kurdish fighters and civilians in the wake of news of the beginning of the Turkish offensive in northern Syria, President Trump dismissed those concerns with what may be the most ignorant statement he’s made in quite some time:
President Trump on Wednesday criticized the Kurds, saying they didn’t help the United States during World War II and that they were only fighting for their land in Syria during the battle against ISIS.
“The Kurds are fighting for their land,” Trump told reporters at the White House during an event in the Roosevelt Room.
“And as somebody wrote in a very, very powerful article today, they didn’t help us in the second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy as an example. They mentioned names of different battles. But they’re there to help us with their land and that’s a different thing.”
Trump did not specify to which article he was referring, but some on Twitter pointed to an article written in TownHall by conservative Kurt Schlichter that included a reference to the Kurds and Normandy.
The remarks from Trump at the White House came as Turkey launched an offensive in northern Syria against Kurdish forces that had been allied with the United States in the fight on terror.
Trump insisted the U.S. has spent “tremendous amounts of money” helping the Kurds purchase ammunition and weapons.
“With all of that being said, we liked the Kurds,” Trump told reporters.
“When you say they’re fighting for us, yes, but they’re fighting for their land,” Trump added.
Here’s the video:
These comments did get some derisive pushback from Republicans who have already spoken up against the President’s decision to remove troops from northern Syria. This isn’t surprising, because the comment, which the President appears to have gotten from a column at the conservative web site Townhall, is really quite idiotic. Even leaving aside the dumb throwaway line that the Kurds didn’t fight with us in Normandy seventy-five years ago, the general observation that the Kurds were basically fighting to protect their own land and that they ended up being our allies because our interests coincided is equally idiotic. It is these kinds of intersecting, although not identical, interests on which alliances of often based, especially in wartime. It was the main reason that the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States were allies in World War II notwithstanding the fact despite the fact that our goals and interests were not exactly identical.
Additionally, this kind of dismissive comment from the President goes directly to the point I’ve made previously about the dangers that this move on his part poses to future American interests. Being this dismissive to the interests of an ally who has actually shed blood assisting the United States in the war against ISIS sends exactly the wrong message to potential future allies, one that we’ll likely to come to regret in the future.
Update: As both The New York Times and The Washington Post note, Kurdish fighters did contribute to the fight against the Nazis in World War II when their territory was largely under the control of the British Empire.