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Since the three press conferences addressing Turkey, Kurds in Syria, and U.S. forces, there has been a near-miss of US soldiers. The hostile take is from Newsweek. The Department of Defense statement, on the record, gives us the facts we know from the US side.

The facts of this situation, even taken from the Newsweek post, contradict the “abandoned” narrative. That is, US forces were in an observation post within visual distance of the Turkish border, and close to some Kurdish positions, from which there may have been mortar, light artillery fire, across the border into Turkey. It is a long border, with lots of points of contact, compared to the small, shallow border section the past days’ actions and chatter concerned.

It is true both that being within a few hundred meters of an exploding artillery shell is not risk-free and that the carefully worded DoD report, suggests either just one shell or one volley of shells, since it was “explosion,” not “explosions.” Missing from the description is whether the US and Turkish forces were in direct radio contact locally. I would guess not, from the circumstances.

Consider the whole, carefully-worded statement:

DOD Statement on Artillery Incident Near Kobani
OCT. 11, 2019

Attributable to Navy Capt. Brook DeWalt, Director, Defense Press Operations:

First, this is on the record, with a name attached for accountability.

U.S. troops in the vicinity of Kobani came under artillery fire from Turkish positions at approximately 9 p.m. local Oct. 11.

So, there was not a wholesale withdrawal, let alone “abandonment.”

The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present.

See the Secretary of Defense and Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff emphatic statement about grid locations having been communicated to the Turkish military. Did the local unit commander actually have this information? See also the use of the singular form of “explosion.”

All U.S. troops are accounted for with no injuries.

If this was intentional, if it was an attack, then we should expect multiple “explosions” in volleys of shells, adjusted to walk into the US troops’ position. That is how an artillery attack works. Such attacks tend to cause injury and death.

U.S. Forces have not withdrawn from Kobani.

So, apparently we are not abandoning this set of Kurds in this town.

The United States remains opposed to the Turkish military move into Syria and especially objects to Turkish operations outside the Security Mechanism zone and in areas where the Turks know U.S. forces are present.

We gave y’all the cotton-pickin’ grid coordinates. You do know how to read standard grids, as a NATO member, right?

The U.S. demands that Turkey avoid actions that could result in immediate defensive action.

Keep it up and someone is going to get really hurt, turkeys. I refer you back to Friday’s tape and transcript, where Gen. Milley said:

GEN. MILLEY: So the no-strike — the — the Turkish military is fully aware, down to explicit grid coordinate detail, of the locations of U.S. forces, and — and we have been in coordination with them through the CAOC in CENTCOM, at various levels throughout CENTCOM and personally at my level. So all levels of the chain of command — me, McKenzie, everybody — is coordinating with the Turks to make sure that they know exactly where American forces are, and — and everyone has been told.

Q: Throughout — throughout Syria, not just (inaudible).

(CROSSTALK)

GEN. MILLEY: Throughout Syria and in the zones of incursion; and everyone is fully aware that we are the United States military. We retain the right of self-defense, and our soldier, sailors, airmen and Marines will defend themselves. That’s clear and it’s unambiguous with anybody.

The danger of starting to shoot, especially of lobbing shells and bombs, is that accidents can also happen. Sometimes friendly forces get caught. Turkish commanders really need to think through what they are doing to control their fires. Turkish commanders should be establishing direct FM radio contact with US forces at grid locations mapped in the Turkish commander’s area of operations.

Published in Foreign Policy
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There are 54 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. James Gawron Thatcher

    Cliff,

    Do you have a map that can show us the approximate locations that you are talking about with estimates of the location of Turkish, Kurdish, and American forces?

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
    • October 12, 2019, at 6:54 PM PST
    • 1 like
  2. Joe Boyle Member

    So many soldiers, so many guns, I hope that my trust in the President isn’t misplaced.

    • #2
    • October 12, 2019, at 7:11 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Cliff,

    Do you have a map that can show us the approximate locations that you are talking about with estimates of the location of Turkish, Kurdish, and American forces?

    Regards,

    Jim

    No. Now, wouldn’t that be nice to have? I expect anything like precise locations would be classified, to prevent bad guys from targeting small groups of our personnel, but a decent map by any news service or our government showing the current movement of Turkish ground forces and the deeper areas being struck by artillery and air attack would be helpful to make our case against the Turkish operation.

    • #3
    • October 12, 2019, at 7:12 PM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Reformed_Yuppie Thatcher

    “Akshually, our NATO ally bombing us is good” is a take that I look forward to reading in the next 24 hours. 

    • #4
    • October 12, 2019, at 7:45 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    The consensus on US military activities ended in 1969. Nothing new here.

    • #5
    • October 12, 2019, at 7:46 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. Reformed_Yuppie Thatcher

    Thank God Trump has done such a good job “reigning in” Erdogon. 

    • #6
    • October 12, 2019, at 7:49 PM PST
    • Like
  7. Joe Boyle Member

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    “Akshually, our NATO ally bombing us is good” is a take that I look forward to reading in the next 24 hours.

    Saw her on FOX yesterday. She’s still a hack.

    • #7
    • October 12, 2019, at 8:22 PM PST
    • Like
  8. James Gawron Thatcher

    To all:

    I’m trying to get information on what’s happening on the ground right now and prefer not to make too many grand policy statements.

    It is interesting that the same spineless creatures who have been desperate to avoid conflict with the Jihadist Pirate State of Iran (and praised Trump when he showed restraint), are now acting like fomenting an all-out war with Turkey is just the moral thing to do. I am very concerned about the Kurds too. However, Erdogan is a bastard that has leverage and intends to use it. Mnuchin’s heavy sanctions may have more of an effect than we think. The Turks like money and they know where it comes from. If Erdogan’s little adventure in Syria costs them big he may find himself in political hot water at home.

    The low black comedy in all of this is Erdogan actually threatening to release his 3 million Syrian refugees from their Turkish camps onto the EU. The idiot EU that has relentlessly stuck to its unlimited migrant policy deserves to be blackmailed this way. The EU needs to end the unlimited migrant nonsense, make their 2% GDP NATO commitment, and dump on this bastard Erdogan big time.

    Still what I’d like to see is that map of Northern Syria. If anybody has found one that has any detail at all please put it up.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #8
    • October 12, 2019, at 8:53 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  9. Reformed_Yuppie Thatcher

    Joe Boyle (View Comment):

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    “Akshually, our NATO ally bombing us is good” is a take that I look forward to reading in the next 24 hours.

    Saw her on FOX yesterday. She’s still a hack.

    I don’t know to whom you’re referring. I just knew that there would be someone out there who’d bless us with that take eventually. 

    • #9
    • October 12, 2019, at 8:56 PM PST
    • Like
  10. Al French, Count of Clackamas Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    The consensus on US military activities ended in 1969. Nothing new here.

    I think it was 1968, after the Tet offensive.

    • #10
    • October 12, 2019, at 9:20 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. D.A. Venters Member

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    • #11
    • October 13, 2019, at 6:14 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. DonG Coolidge

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    The low black comedy in all of this is Erdogan actually threatening to release his 3 million Syrian refugees from their Turkish camps onto the EU. The idiot EU that has relentlessly stuck to its unlimited migrant policy deserves to be blackmailed this way. The EU needs to end the unlimited migrant nonsense, make their 2% GDP NATO commitment, and dump on this bastard Erdogan big time.

    Bingo! Turkey is part of Europe and the gateway to Europe and if it is a problem, it is a European problem.

    • #12
    • October 13, 2019, at 6:58 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. James Gawron Thatcher

    Cliff,

    This political analysis of the situation from the Germans explains a lot. Listen until the very end and you realize that Erdogan is vulnerable to economic pressure and internal Turkish political pressure. If Erdogan actually is only going 30km deep in Syria to create his “safe zone” then there may be no way to stop him and all the Kurds can do is pull back and let him have it. We don’t really know whether he will stop there or that he will give the Kurds enough time to move or will kill many of them with his artillery anyway.

    Of course, the headline that the U.S. “pulling troops out has given Erdogan the green light to do this” is repeated in almost every newscast from every news source. Erdogan has been threatening to do this for a long time. We only had about 50 soldiers there. If Erdogan informs us that he is moving to take the 30km so get your men out of the way, what option did we have? Allow 50 of our men to die so we could get into an all-out war with the Turks?

    Right now the question is will Erdogan stop at 30km and will he avoid murdering a lot of Kurds to do it?

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
    • October 13, 2019, at 8:13 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. Steve C. Member

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    The consensus on US military activities ended in 1969. Nothing new here.

    I think it was 1968, after the Tet offensive.

    I’ll take 1945 for $100, Alex.

    • #14
    • October 13, 2019, at 8:36 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    The consensus on US military activities ended in 1969. Nothing new here.

    I think it was 1968, after the Tet offensive.

    I’ll take 1945 for $100, Alex.

    No, Korea was pretty popular until the Chinese came in. Not long for sure but I was in 8th grade and had a map of Korea on my bedroom wall to follow the war. The stalemate was the beginning of disillusionment. If only MacArthur had stopped at Pyongyang, which is the narrow point of the peninsula. His “Bataan Gang” staff were not competent.

    • #15
    • October 13, 2019, at 9:12 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. Skyler Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown: We gave y’all the cotton-pickin’ grid coordinates. You do know how to read standard grids, as a NATO member, right?

    To be fair, they’re NATO members that mostly give us access to the Black Sea and some bases in their country. We have never considered them very competent.

    • #16
    • October 13, 2019, at 3:21 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense.

    President Trump has been against “interventionist” policy from the start of his 2016 campaign. He rejected continuing our tepid Syrian deployments and got the generals in theater to give him a far sharper, quicker plan. This worked to end the enormous recruiting pitch of a physical caliphate.

    The most competent local forces in Syria were Kurds. They were desperately fighting for their homes. We partnered with them to end an existential threat to them and a strategic terrorist threat to us. Both sides got their part of the bargain, and that is where it ends.

    Before, during, and after the fight against the ISIS caliphate, the PPK sat on our official State Department list of terrorist groups. Successful Kurdish militia with local governments becoming regional are inherently in opposition to Turkey, threatening loss of eastern Turkey to a new Kurdish nation state.

    And Turkey is going through a rough period, with a popular leader pushing the idea of regaining prestige and power through a new sort of caliphate, undoing the Ataturk reform regime. And the snobby secular supremacist EU helped make this mess by refusing to admit a major NATO member to their club unless Turkey eliminated the death penalty. That was the excuse, at least.

    • #17
    • October 13, 2019, at 4:18 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    The consensus on US military activities ended in 1969. Nothing new here.

    I think it was 1968, after the Tet offensive.

    I’ll take 1945 for $100, Alex.

    No, Korea was pretty popular until the Chinese came in. Not long for sure but I was in 8th grade and had a map of Korea on my bedroom wall to follow the war. The stalemate was the beginning of disillusionment. If only MacArthur had stopped at Pyongyang, which is the narrow point of the peninsula. His “Bataan Gang” staff were not competent.

    I think you have it right.

    • #18
    • October 13, 2019, at 4:19 PM PST
    • Like
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: We gave y’all the cotton-pickin’ grid coordinates. You do know how to read standard grids, as a NATO member, right?

    To be fair, they’re NATO members that mostly give us access to the Black Sea and some bases in their country. We have never considered them very competent.

    Reading grid coordinates is an entry level task.

    • #19
    • October 13, 2019, at 4:22 PM PST
    • Like
  20. Skyler Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: We gave y’all the cotton-pickin’ grid coordinates. You do know how to read standard grids, as a NATO member, right?

    To be fair, they’re NATO members that mostly give us access to the Black Sea and some bases in their country. We have never considered them very competent.

    Reading grid coordinates is an entry level task.

    Relaying the grids as well. They aren’t very competent. It may have been an intentional signal to us, or it may have been incompetence. The sooner we leave, the better.

    All in, or all out.

    • #20
    • October 13, 2019, at 4:29 PM PST
    • Like
  21. D.A. Venters Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense

    How so? If the latest reports are true – that Turkish forces have moved in, and that Turkish backed militias are killing Kurds, including non-combatants – and the presence of US Forces in the area had heretofore deterred that action, and their withdrawal removed that deterrence – then how is that not an abandonment?

    If the US forces are still close enough to be within range of Turk artillery, and are under orders to do nothing to stop the slaughter, isn’t that a little extra twist if the knife?

    There may be a good reason for the withdrawal, maybe it was the best option under the circumstances. I haven’t yet heard any convincing argument of that but I’ll remain open minded. But even if someone makes that argument, then, like it or not, it is still an abandonment.

    • #21
    • October 13, 2019, at 5:35 PM PST
    • 1 like
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense

    How so? If the latest reports are true – that Turkish forces have moved in, and that Turkish backed militias are killing Kurds, including non-combatants – and the presence of US Forces in the area had heretofore deterred that action, and their withdrawal removed that deterrence – then how is that not an abandonment?

    If the US forces are still close enough to be within range of Turk artillery, and are under orders to do nothing to stop the slaughter, isn’t that a little extra twist if the knife?

    There may be a good reason for the withdrawal, maybe it was the best option under the circumstances. I haven’t yet heard any convincing argument of that but I’ll remain open minded. But even if someone makes that argument, then, like it or not, it is still an abandonment.

    As you know perfectly well, there is no actual military option for the U.S. to go to war against NATO (Turkey).

    You also know that this president, who you hate, is real credibility in his threats of destroying the Turkish economy. That is the real answer if Turkey actually starts widespread slaughtering of civilians.

    • #22
    • October 13, 2019, at 5:53 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. D.A. Venters Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense

    How so? If the latest reports are true – that Turkish forces have moved in, and that Turkish backed militias are killing Kurds, including non-combatants – and the presence of US Forces in the area had heretofore deterred that action, and their withdrawal removed that deterrence – then how is that not an abandonment?

    If the US forces are still close enough to be within range of Turk artillery, and are under orders to do nothing to stop the slaughter, isn’t that a little extra twist if the knife?

    There may be a good reason for the withdrawal, maybe it was the best option under the circumstances. I haven’t yet heard any convincing argument of that but I’ll remain open minded. But even if someone makes that argument, then, like it or not, it is still an abandonment.

    As you know perfectly well, there is no actual military option for the U.S. to go to war against NATO (Turkey).

    You also know that this president, who you hate, is real credibility in his threats of destroying the Turkish economy. That is the real answer if Turkey actually starts widespread slaughtering of civilians.

    My point here has absolutely nothing to do with the President, whom I do not hate. (Not a big fan, but I don’t hate him and I earnestly wish he had made a different decision here.)

    Whether this action meets the definition of the word “abandonment” does not depend on the identity of the president.

     

    • #23
    • October 13, 2019, at 6:06 PM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Reformed_Yuppie Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense

    How so? If the latest reports are true – that Turkish forces have moved in, and that Turkish backed militias are killing Kurds, including non-combatants – and the presence of US Forces in the area had heretofore deterred that action, and their withdrawal removed that deterrence – then how is that not an abandonment?

    If the US forces are still close enough to be within range of Turk artillery, and are under orders to do nothing to stop the slaughter, isn’t that a little extra twist if the knife?

    There may be a good reason for the withdrawal, maybe it was the best option under the circumstances. I haven’t yet heard any convincing argument of that but I’ll remain open minded. But even if someone makes that argument, then, like it or not, it is still an abandonment.

    As you know perfectly well, there is no actual military option for the U.S. to go to war against NATO (Turkey).

    You also know that this president, who you hate, is real credibility in his threats of destroying the Turkish economy. That is the real answer if Turkey actually starts widespread slaughtering of civilians.

    That’ll be very comforting to the civilians as the 7.62 rounds penetrate their skulls while they kneel on the side of a road. “Thank goodness the Turkish GDP will drop next year. At least my death won’t be for naught.”

    • #24
    • October 13, 2019, at 6:08 PM PST
    • Like
  25. Skyler Coolidge

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense

    How so? If the latest reports are true – that Turkish forces have moved in, and that Turkish backed militias are killing Kurds, including non-combatants – and the presence of US Forces in the area had heretofore deterred that action, and their withdrawal removed that deterrence – then how is that not an abandonment?

    If the US forces are still close enough to be within range of Turk artillery, and are under orders to do nothing to stop the slaughter, isn’t that a little extra twist if the knife?

    There may be a good reason for the withdrawal, maybe it was the best option under the circumstances. I haven’t yet heard any convincing argument of that but I’ll remain open minded. But even if someone makes that argument, then, like it or not, it is still an abandonment.

    As you know perfectly well, there is no actual military option for the U.S. to go to war against NATO (Turkey).

    You also know that this president, who you hate, is real credibility in his threats of destroying the Turkish economy. That is the real answer if Turkey actually starts widespread slaughtering of civilians.

    That’ll be very comforting to the civilians as the 7.62 rounds penetrate their skulls while they kneel on the side of a road. “Thank goodness the Turkish GDP will drop next year. At least my death won’t be for naught.”

    Not caring. They can defend their own people. 

    • #25
    • October 13, 2019, at 6:38 PM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Reformed_Yuppie Thatcher

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense

    How so? If the latest reports are true – that Turkish forces have moved in, and that Turkish backed militias are killing Kurds, including non-combatants – and the presence of US Forces in the area had heretofore deterred that action, and their withdrawal removed that deterrence – then how is that not an abandonment?

    If the US forces are still close enough to be within range of Turk artillery, and are under orders to do nothing to stop the slaughter, isn’t that a little extra twist if the knife?

    There may be a good reason for the withdrawal, maybe it was the best option under the circumstances. I haven’t yet heard any convincing argument of that but I’ll remain open minded. But even if someone makes that argument, then, like it or not, it is still an abandonment.

    As you know perfectly well, there is no actual military option for the U.S. to go to war against NATO (Turkey).

    You also know that this president, who you hate, is real credibility in his threats of destroying the Turkish economy. That is the real answer if Turkey actually starts widespread slaughtering of civilians.

    That’ll be very comforting to the civilians as the 7.62 rounds penetrate their skulls while they kneel on the side of a road. “Thank goodness the Turkish GDP will drop next year. At least my death won’t be for naught.”

    Not caring. They can defend their own people.

    I genuinely respect that you’re honest about it. 

    • #26
    • October 13, 2019, at 6:45 PM PST
    • Like
  27. Skyler Coolidge

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    Skyler

    Not caring. They can defend their own people.

    I genuinely respect that you’re honest about it.

    I have seen and carried enough dead Marines. When I was in, I signed on to defend the United States. When I am ordered to risk my life, I will, without hesitation. I only ask that it not be requested so lightly, and certainly not to defend communists that put our treaty with Turkey in jeopardy.

    • #27
    • October 13, 2019, at 7:54 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  28. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense

    How so? If the latest reports are true – that Turkish forces have moved in, and that Turkish backed militias are killing Kurds, including non-combatants – and the presence of US Forces in the area had heretofore deterred that action, and their withdrawal removed that deterrence – then how is that not an abandonment?

    If the US forces are still close enough to be within range of Turk artillery, and are under orders to do nothing to stop the slaughter, isn’t that a little extra twist if the knife?

    There may be a good reason for the withdrawal, maybe it was the best option under the circumstances. I haven’t yet heard any convincing argument of that but I’ll remain open minded. But even if someone makes that argument, then, like it or not, it is still an abandonment.

    As you know perfectly well, there is no actual military option for the U.S. to go to war against NATO (Turkey).

    You also know that this president, who you hate, is real credibility in his threats of destroying the Turkish economy. That is the real answer if Turkey actually starts widespread slaughtering of civilians.

    That’ll be very comforting to the civilians as the 7.62 rounds penetrate their skulls while they kneel on the side of a road. “Thank goodness the Turkish GDP will drop next year. At least my death won’t be for naught.”

    How many wives and mothers screaming and crying as they lay on top of their husbands’ and sons’ American flag draped coffins will it take for you to feel good about American foreign policy in a very imperfect world?

    • #28
    • October 13, 2019, at 9:20 PM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Reformed_Yuppie Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense

    How so? If the latest reports are true – that Turkish forces have moved in, and that Turkish backed militias are killing Kurds, including non-combatants – and the presence of US Forces in the area had heretofore deterred that action, and their withdrawal removed that deterrence – then how is that not an abandonment?

    If the US forces are still close enough to be within range of Turk artillery, and are under orders to do nothing to stop the slaughter, isn’t that a little extra twist if the knife?

    There may be a good reason for the withdrawal, maybe it was the best option under the circumstances. I haven’t yet heard any convincing argument of that but I’ll remain open minded. But even if someone makes that argument, then, like it or not, it is still an abandonment.

    As you know perfectly well, there is no actual military option for the U.S. to go to war against NATO (Turkey).

    You also know that this president, who you hate, is real credibility in his threats of destroying the Turkish economy. That is the real answer if Turkey actually starts widespread slaughtering of civilians.

    That’ll be very comforting to the civilians as the 7.62 rounds penetrate their skulls while they kneel on the side of a road. “Thank goodness the Turkish GDP will drop next year. At least my death won’t be for naught.”

    How many wives and mothers screaming and crying as they lay on top of their husbands’ and sons’ flag draped coffins will it take for you to feel good about American foreign policy in a very imperfect world?

    There’s a lot of screaming and crying over dead husbands tonight. And wives. And children. If it were an unavoidable conclusion then that would be that. But this didn’t have to happen. Americans weren’t being killed. That imperfect world was being held together by the presence (and implied threat of) American might. We weren’t losing people. It wasn’t a choice between stay and lose Americans or leave. And I know that I’m not the crazy one here because pretty much every single person in the halls of power has agreed that this was an unremittingly stupid thing to do. Hell, Gen. Mattis resigned over a similar plan. Unless you think Jim Mattis doesn’t care about the lives of American soldiers…

    • #29
    • October 13, 2019, at 9:37 PM PST
    • Like
  30. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I think the “abandonment” narrative holds up fairly well under these circumstances. In fact, these facts may highlight it even more. If US forces are saying, “Hey, man, look at your grids! You’re supposed to be shelling Kurds, not us!” I’m not sure how that is supposed to make the Kurds feel less abandoned.

    A lot of the discussion on this move has centered around our involvement in Syria and the Middle East generally. If this move was made as part of an announced general withdrawal, then at least you could tell the Kurds that our broad policy was changing and we weren’t going to send our troops into harms way in the region at all anymore. We would be withdrawing our military protection from everyone. But here, we apparently just withdrew a little bit, just enough to allow the Turks to have their way inside that zone. This, in effect, tells the Kurds (or at least certain Kurds), “Our broader interventionist policy is not really changing, we’re just backing off in this one little area so the Turks can kill you without worrying about hitting our guys.” Still abandonment, arguably even more egregious abandonment.

    Nonsense

    How so? If the latest reports are true – that Turkish forces have moved in, and that Turkish backed militias are killing Kurds, including non-combatants – and the presence of US Forces in the area had heretofore deterred that action, and their withdrawal removed that deterrence – then how is that not an abandonment?

    If the US forces are still close enough to be within range of Turk artillery, and are under orders to do nothing to stop the slaughter, isn’t that a little extra twist if the knife?

    There may be a good reason for the withdrawal, maybe it was the best option under the circumstances. I haven’t yet heard any convincing argument of that but I’ll remain open minded. But even if someone makes that argument, then, like it or not, it is still an abandonment.

    As you know perfectly well, there is no actual military option for the U.S. to go to war against NATO (Turkey).

    You also know that this president, who you hate, is real credibility in his threats of destroying the Turkish economy. That is the real answer if Turkey actually starts widespread slaughtering of civilians.

    That’ll be very comforting to the civilians as the 7.62 rounds penetrate their skulls while they kneel on the side of a road. “Thank goodness the Turkish GDP will drop next year. At least my death won’t be for naught.”

    How many wives and mothers screaming and crying as they lay on top of their husbands’ and sons’ flag draped coffins will it take for you to feel good about American foreign policy in a very imperfect world?

    There’s a lot of screaming and crying over dead husbands tonight. And wives. And children. If it were an unavoidable conclusion then that would be that. But this didn’t have to happen. Americans weren’t being killed. That imperfect world was being held together by the presence (and implied threat of) American might. We weren’t losing people. It wasn’t a choice between stay and lose Americans or leave. And I know that I’m not the crazy one here because pretty much every single person in the halls of power has agreed that this was an unremittingly stupid thing to do. Hell, Gen. Mattis resigned over a similar plan. Unless you think Jim Mattis doesn’t care about the lives of American soldiers…

    We did not “leave,” as the OP shows. We would lose people if we were warned by a NATO ally that they were going to launch an attack in a particular area and we said we would use the bodies of our soldiers as a trip wire (for what next action?). The halls of power gave us the real slaughter of Kurds and Marsh Arabs under G.H.W. Bush, and the religious/ethnic cleansing of Christians in Iraq, under G.W. Bush and Obama. Those same halls of power, including Mattis, never demanded we militarily confront Turkey over earlier attacks on Kurds over the decades.

    What is different this time is Trump.

    • #30
    • October 13, 2019, at 9:50 PM PST
    • 1 like
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