After Turkey launched an offensive in Syria, the Trump administration withdrew forces from the region. US defense personnel were angered by the decision.
For decades now, the United States has been involved in the military activities of countries across the pond, including in the ongoing war in Syria to fight against militant Islamist terror group ISIS. Ever since our country launched the war against terror, it has become commonplace for our military to engage in warfare, especially in the Middle East. While this has been heavily criticized, United States President Donald Trump's recent Syria policy has received even more backlash. After Turkey went on the offense against neighbor Syria, launching airstrikes on Syrian Kurdish territory, the United States military was forced to withdraw from the region. Military officials have since claimed that Trump has left the Kurds essentially for dead in a land overrun by Islamist terrorists as they fight for democratic power, CNN reports.
View this post on Instagram
In conversation with the news outlet, over half a dozen United States military and defense officials have displayed "a deep sense of frustration and anger" at Trump's new policy regarding Syria. His refusal to support Kurdish forces in the fight against ISIS, and now, Turkey's military assault, has not been viewed from the most favorable perspective (to put it lightly). Both personnel deployed in Syria, as well as officials back at home base, have expressed dismay at Trump's inaction and how he has handled the situation in general. Criticism has come flowing in.
According to one US military official, in particular, a handful of senior officials are "livid" about how Trump and his administration have treated the Kurds, especially given their pivotal and crucial role in the fight against terror and ISIS in the region. Another defense official added that the President's inability to more actively, explicitly, and forcefully oppose the Turkish invasion or take measures to stop the assault implies that Trump has given Turkey a green light to continue their military attacks. Despite the Trump administration's public stance that they opposed the operation, little has been done to prevent or minimize it. A senior US official told CNN, "[Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces] are fighting a force that intends to eliminate their people because we green-lighted their operation." Meanwhile, one US Special Forces soldier on the ground in Syria, stated, "It's pretty messed up what's happening out here. We want to offer support. We do not want to leave them in this situation."
Trump administration officials have responded to the widespread criticism. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said it was important to not "overreact" to the Turkish operation. Additionally, Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy shared, "I like candor. It's important to have that. Obviously, you don't want to have disobedience, but... they have to have opinions. Everybody has opinions, you have a war of ideas, but ultimately that they, when national policy decisions are made, we salute and move out." James McConville, the Chief of Staff of the Army, added, "They should be extremely proud of what they've done. And there are higher-level strategic politics involved, but as far as what our soldiers have done, what our special forces have done, they've done an incredible job over there and they ought to be very, very proud of it." While our special forces may have done an "incredible" job, have they done enough? US military personnel seem to believe there is more to be done to help the Kurds and bring a halt to ISIS' terrorist activities.