Calling It As I See It

Allen West Old School PatriotBY ALLEN WEST

When it comes to critical analyses and assessments, I must be objective and consistent. If there was something I called President Obama out for, then I must do the same with President Trump. I know that I run the risk of the flash mob denigrating me as a “Never Trumper” — which is far from the truth — but I earn respect, and guard my reputation, by being a straight shooter.

That is why I must firmly state that President Donald Trump is making completely the wrong decision with his tweet on removing our small force from Northern Syria. I understand President Trump using his social media platform to circumvent the liberal progressive media in order to get his message out. However, major foreign policy and national security decisions should not be made by impulse using a “tweet.”

As reported by Fox News:

The White House announced late Sunday that Turkey will soon move forward with a planned military operation in northeast Syria, as U.S. troops who have been deployed and operating with Kurdish-led forces in the area began pulling back from their positions.

The decision sent shockwaves through the region and Washington, with U.S. officials telling Fox News that top Pentagon officials were “completely blindsided” and “shocked” by the order to pull back hundreds of U.S. troops, a move that effectively green-lights the Turkey operation. President Trump spoke with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by telephone.

Some officials see the move as a betrayal of the Kurds, whom the U.S. supported against ISIS for years.

Speaking on “Fox & Friends” Monday morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called it an “impulsive decision” by Trump that would undo U.S. gains in the region and give ISIS fighters a “second lease on life.” He tweeted: “If press reports are accurate this is a disaster in the making.”

I humbly ask that you read my assessment before making emotional responses.

First off, there would not have been a growing ISIS threat and an established caliphate if it had not been for the permission given by Turkey’s Islamist leader, Recip Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan is one of the main reasons that ISIS developed. It was his, along with Qatar’s, support and allowing Islamic jihadist fighters to land in Turkey and freely cross into Syria, unchallenged, that gave rise to the savage and barbaric group that we endured for the second half of the Obama administration. Anyone that falsely believes that ISIS is 100% defeated is suffering from a clear delusion. There is no doubt that President Trump’s efforts enabled the destruction of the territorial integrity of the ISIS caliphate, but their brutal and medieval Islamic jihadist ideology has not been defeated. I have no reservation in stating that one of the unintended, or perhaps intended, goals that Erdogan had for ISIS was to destroy the Kurdish existence from Syria over to Iraq. We know that ISIS was focused on the genocide of Christians and the Yazidis, but in essence, they were a proxy terror force of Erdogan to rid him of his so-called “Kurdish problem.”

President Trump should not have any communications with a person like Erdogan. If anything, as long as Erdogan is Turkey’s leader, there should be conversations about expelling them from NATO. After all, Turkey has engaged in arms deals with Russia for the lethal S-300 surface to air missile system . . . a clear violation of NATO standing.

Second, President Trump enacted the exact policy we should be advancing in fighting regional Islamic jihadists, and their ideology. We must form alliances with entities who are our supporters. We can provide them with the training, equipment, and additional firepower to be the real foot Soldiers in these conflagrations. I have been to Kurdistan during my time in Iraq. As a Member of Congress I with the Kurdish Regional Government representatives in several policy issues. I can attest that in the Middle East, after Israel, the Kurds are our strongest and most willing allies. They have been there for us going back many years, and have stood by us after previous instances of being abandoned. We wanted the ISIS caliphate reduced, the Kurds stepped up and enabled that success. So, now we are going to turn our backs on them as Turkey, under Erdogan, will unleash his full military might against them? Ask yourselves: who will ever trust the United States of America again?

Let me explain something: we who take an oath to serve this nation in uniform know the risks and dangers. All we ask is for civilian leadership to give us clear guidance and direction for us to achieve victory . . . not tweets. If anything, President Trump should be talking to the Kurdish leaders, not Erdogan. Soldiers on the ground form bonds. Guess what? Have you ever heard about any Kurdish shootings of our soldiers deployed and embedded with them? No, and you never will. They are just that loyal, but we are about to sell them out.

Third, do any of you believe that Turkey will not just set the ISIS fighters, and families, free from detention? Erdogan is not someone to be trusted. He is the same person who once asserted that there is no “moderate” Islam, just Islam. That tells me all I need to know. Erdogan wants to be the new hegemonic power in the Islamic world. He wants a return to an Ottoman Empire dominance, and will lie and deceive in order to attain such.

The simple response that President Trump should have given to this Islamic jihadist is “No! No, we are not pulling out, we are not abandoning the Kurds, and we do not trust you.” We should have long ago removed our airbases out of Turkey, and Qatar, as well. We should not be acquiescing to this tyrant.

Just so that you understand, the leftist media made all kinds of excuses for Obama and the void he created in Iraq that was filled by ISIS. The same media will not be anywhere near as kind to President Trump.

So, why, at this time, when you have a strong Middle East foreign policy and have found success, would you make this a front-page story? I am going to say this: John Bolton’s absence is a major factor as to why this faux pas was announced.

No, I am not for incessant combat engagements, but when you have found a winning strategy, why jack it up?

This is the wrong decision, and I pray that President Trump revisits this and reverses course. When you are the President, the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, you cannot make decisions based upon political expediency, or your personal whims. You have to make decisions looking into the future and assessing the respective advantages, disadvantages, and consequences. Understand, as long as there is evil — and leaders with evil intentions — someone has to stand guard and lead.

The Fox News article continues:

The decision to give Ankara the green light was seen by the Kurdish fighters as a major shift in U.S. policy. Over 11,000 mostly Kurdish fighters in the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been killed fighting ISIS in Syria.

One U.S. commander who helped lead the anti-ISIS effort told Fox News the decision amounts to a propaganda victory for China and Russia, saying those countries can tell would-be U.S. partners that America will abandon them.

“No one will ever partner with us again,” the commander said.

As for Turkey’s intentions with the Kurds, the senior military officer said: “They are going to slaughter those cats.”

Trump voiced confidence that the U.S. will still be able to “crush ISIS again” if they threaten America.

President Trump, no savvy commander wants to fight over the same ground that he once won. Sir, who is going to stand with us to “crush ISIS again” after this? As the commander stated, the Erdogan and the Turks are gonna “slaughter those cats.” If that happens, President Trump, you will be the only person to blame. Is that the consequence you want, especially going into 2020?


Editor’s Note: This column previously appeared at The Old School Patriot. Used with the permission of the author.


Lt. Col. Allen B. West is the former U.S. Congressman representing Florida’s 22nd District, a Fox News Contributor, a contributing columnist for Townhall.com, the former Executive Director of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas Texas, and the author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom. Col. West is the third of four generations of military servicemen in his family. During his 22 year career in the United States Army, he was awarded the Bronze Star, 3 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals (1 with Valor device), and a Valorous Unit Award. In 1993 he was named the US Army ROTC Instructor of the Year. Col. West believes it will be principled constitutional conservative policies, not politics, which will secure a sound economic future for Americans.

LTC West is running for Chair of the Republican Party of Texas. To support his efforts, please visit his campaign website