You may recall JFK’s famous speech in Berlin where he said these immortal words, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” or “I am a Berliner.” This was a precursor to Ronald Reagan’s, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Eventually, that wall did come down.
Well, today I say, “Ez Kurd im,” or “I am a Kurd” (or “I am Kurdish”). In other words, I identify with the Kurds, and I feel their pain. I am unsure what our exit strategy for leaving Syria should be, but it should not be withdrawing in a manner that leaves a trusted ally vulnerable. That is what we have done, and it deeply saddens me.
The White House is not pursuing a strategy, they are pursuing an impulse. Everyone is sick of fighting in the Middle East. We have little to show for the trillions of dollars spent there. Things are hardly better, and may be worse, than pre-2001. As sad as that is, it does not justify leaving Syria in the manner we have. It is shameful, like leaving your dead and wounded on the field of battle. Why would anyone trust us? I certainly wouldn’t.
America now untrustworthy
I have just watched, with horror and great sadness, pictures of the slaughter by Turkish forces of our allies, the Syrian Kurds. This genocide is an action that has been permitted and condoned by the man we put in the White House.
These people came to our aid in the fight against ISIS and did the bulk of the actual fighting at great cost to themselves in casualties, thus sparing the lives of hundreds of American military personnel. And this is how we thank them?
What has happened to this great country of ours that we would allow this to occur? Where are our morals, our ethics, our common human decency?
We are no longer “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Rather, in his “great and unmatched wisdom” (his words, not mine) our president has perhaps irreparably labeled us as false friends and untrustworthy allies. How sad. Shame. Shame. Shame.
Hilton Head Island
We can’t take any more Trump
Once again, in his “great and unmatched wisdom” — his words, not mine — President Donald Trump has put this country at great risk. To abandon your allies is one of the greatest follies in foreign policy. Every 10-year-old understands the value of friendship, trust, and mutual support. Apparently, our president cannot even rise to this level.
I’m not a fan of multiple wars or fronts in the Middle East, but once you have made commitments, especially with forces that fight the ultimate evil, ISIS, you don’t desert them after a phone call with a foreign despot. Trump could have had no doubt of Turkey’s intentions.
This is definitely not the president’s first blunder in foreign relations, nor certainly his last, but it points to the lack of any cohesive, intelligent, forward-thinking policy. Foreign policy is complex, nuanced, and full of pitfalls. You don’t make snap decisions based on whims and uninformed promises to your followers.
Yes, I intentionally used the word followers instead of constituents. It sometimes seems that Trump’s followers don’t care what he says or does. They drink the “oblivious” Kool Aid, believing every sound bite emanating from his mouth and conservative media.
I cannot promise you that a Democratic candidate will be any better than a Republican one, but I truly believe that four more years of Trump will prove devastating to our country.
St. Helena Island
Trump aspires to be a tyrant
In 1787, Alexander Hamilton warned us to beware of one who pays “obsequious court to the people.” Such a person starts as a demagogue, and ends as a tyrant. Donald Trump is a demagogue (“Make America great again”), and aspires to be a tyrant.
If anyone knew tyrants, it was William Shakespeare, who incisively portrayed many of them from English history. In his book, “Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics,” Stephen Greenblatt examines Shakespeare’s characters, their personalities and rise to power. Tyrants displayed “limitless self-regard, law-breaking, pleasure in inflicting pain, compulsive desire to dominate, pathological narcissism, supreme arrogance, grotesque sense of entitlement, expectation of absolute loyalty, no natural grace, no sense of shared humanity, no decency.”
The author tells us that Shakespeare knew that a tyrant doesn’t simply do it alone, he must have “enablers” who facilitate his rise: those who cannot keep in focus that the tyrant is as bad as he seems, or do not quite forget that the tyrant is a “miserable piece of work” but nonetheless trust that everything will continue in a normal way. Then there are those who persuade themselves that they can take advantage of the tyrant’s rise to power.
Trump is a miserable piece of work who we knowingly chose to “drain the swamp.” But he hasn’t done it. His enablers and fellow swamp denizens: McConnell, Graham, Giuliani, Pompeo, Barr, Bannon. Should we be surprised? After all, we’ve always known Trump is a swamp-dweller.
Hilton Head Island
Trump’s move a boondoggle
By now we should all know about President Donald Trump’s phone call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked for “a favor” — to look into a debunked conspiracy theory regarding Democrats and the 2016 election and phony claims about Joe Biden acting improperly to benefit his son’s business interests there. The implied “quid pro quo” was that Trump would release the nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine that had been approved by Congress, but which Trump was withholding.
In testimony before Congressional committees on Oct. 22, William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, blew apart Trump’s “perfect” conversation claim. He testified that Gordon Sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, told him on several occasions of Trump’s desire to trade both a meeting with him that Zelensky requested and the military aid to Ukraine for the investigations Trump demanded, and in addition Trump wanted a public announcement of the probes.
Adding to the ongoing impeachment investigation, we have Trump’s capitulation to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — pulling U.S. forces out of Kurdish-held northern Syria, which means we sold out the Kurds who did most of the fighting in defeating ISIS and ceding their hard-won territory to Turkey.
Now Russia is involved, ISIS prisoners held by the Kurds are escaping, and Iraq is saying that it doesn’t want the U.S. forces from Syria that the Pentagon announced were being deployed to western Iraq to fight against ISIS militants.
Hilton Head Island
Do this first after a wreck
I recently viewed a TV commercial for one of the accident-chasing attorneys. I am disappointed in his lack of compassion for “the individual left behind.”
This commercial professes that a drivere-education teacher advises his student who is involved in an auto accident to initially call his office as the priority, thus disregarding the welfare of people in the other vehicle. This attorney couldn’t be more wrong.
As a former driver education teacher, I urge all drivers who are involved in an auto accident to first check on the other people involved and render help by dialing 911 to activate the emergency system available to all.
After all victims of the accident are under the care of emergency personnel, then take pictures, get names of any witnesses, notify your insurance company, and, lastly, evaluate which of the accident-chasing attorney’s target group you fit into, and/or then call someone whom you feel comfortable with in the legal world.
Trump language a bad example
Because of President Donald Trump’s language, our grandchildren have been reminded that he’s not a person to look up to. Pretty sad.
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