Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg excoriated President Donald Trump and his administration Sunday morning for the decision to withdraw the remaining US troops out of northern Syria in the coming weeks. On CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Buttigieg said, “This isn’t even a strategy or a policy—it is the president systematically destroying American alliances and American values and that makes America worse off.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Turkey invading northeastern Syria after US pulled troops from the area: “This isn’t even a strategy or a policy, it is the President systematically destroying American alliances and American values and that makes America worse off." #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/CNzUbbfk8R
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 13, 2019
Buttigieg is speaking from experience on the ground. He’s a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan as a Navy intelligence officer and has openly criticized Trump for avoiding service in the Vietnam War. “This is somebody who, I think it’s fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was the child of a multimillionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place,” he said, according to NBC News.
Now, Turkey has launched a military offensive against neighboring Syria just days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with Trump on a call that has been described by officials as including “various diplomatic exchanges.” In the call, Trump reportedly made a spur-of-the-moment decision to pull out of Turkey, which surprised his advisers.
The situation in Syria has deteriorated steadily since that call. Brett McGurk, who has served as a national security advisor in the last three White House administrations, outlined on Twitter that hundreds of thousands of people have already been displaced and ISIS is moving into the newly vulnerable part of Syria.
Only four days into Turkish attack and one week after POTUS-Erdogan call:
* UN: 130k displaced (likely to 3x)
* ISIS terrorists escaping (caught after years of painstaking effort)
* Syrians executed on roadways by Turkish-backed opposition forces
* Main US supply lines cut..
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 13, 2019
New York Times White House reporter Katie Rogers says that ISIS flags have already been spotted in the countryside near the Turkish border:
A Kurdish official also said that the flag of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, had been raised in the countryside https://t.co/2YliDPkI6u
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) October 13, 2019
And the New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi reported that ISIS detainees in the area have escaped:
An SDF commander has confirmed to me that the Ain Issa camp has fallen and all the detainees (a population of thousands that includes ISIS supporters, ISIS relatives and civilians) have fled. “An unbelievable mess,” the commander said. Latest message: pic.twitter.com/yDehTSKkux
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) October 13, 2019
On Sunday, Trump tried to rationalize his foreign policy via Twitter, saying that the two camps have been at war for years and that he is monitoring the situation closely. He also proposed imposing sanctions on Turkey.
…..The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2019