Republican Anger Grows Because Trump Said The Kurds Did Not Help During World War II

(CNN) – Republicans attacked US President Donald Trump on Wednesday for allowing Turkey to attack U.S. allies in Syria, because the president offered several reasons to give the Turks a green light, including the fact that the Kurds did not fight alongside the US UU. In the Second World War.

LOOK: USA outside the Turkish-Syrian border: pros and cons

Turkey launched its military operation to expel allied US Kurds. UU. from northeastern Syria, which caused outrage in Congress, creating a rare bipartisan unit on the risks to the Kurds, the US national security interests. UU., Regional stability and the fight against ISIS.

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Trump apparently gave Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approval on Sunday to proceed with his long-planned movement against Kurdish fighters who are part of the Syrian Defense Forces and who lost thousands of men fighting with the United States. against ISIS.

While Turkish planes hit Kurdish positions from the air and with artillery, CNN reporters on the ground in Syria reported that the smoke was swollen from several large explosions while desperate civilians, women, children and men fled the area on foot, some pushing others in in wheelchairs, many crowded in the back of the trucks.

With humanitarian groups reporting that the bombing could displace up to 300,000 people, Erdogan's chief adviser told Christiane Amanpour of CNN that Trump knew in advance about the extent of the Turkish attack.

READ: Turkey's army began its operation in northern Syria

"President Trump and President Erdogan have reached an agreement on exactly what this operation is," Gulnur Aybet said from Ankara on Wednesday. "He knows what the scope of this operation is."

The news that came out of Syria fueled the growing anger of the Republicans, because lawmakers, former officials and analysts reacted throughout the day, and the US military. UU. He remained visibly silent.

"Outrageous"

"The news from Syria is outrageous," Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third Republican in the House, tweeted on Wednesday, echoing lawmakers across the spectrum. “Turkish troops preparing to invade Syria from the north, Russian-backed forces from the south, ISIS fighters attacking Raqqa. Impossible to understand why @realDonaldTrump is leaving the US allies to be massacred and allowing the return of ISIS. ”

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said that "at the request of this administration, the Kurds served as the main ground fighters against ISIS in Syria so that US troops did not have to." Then, he accused the administration of “making a deal with Erdogan allowing him to eliminate them. The damage to our reputation and national interest will be extraordinary and lasting. ”

LOOK: Turkey launches a military offensive in Syria

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland announced on Wednesday a framework to impose immediate sanctions on senior Turkish government officials, ban all US business and military transactions with Turkey and activate immediately the sanctions of 2017 to the country until Ankara stops its operations against the Kurds.

"This illegal and unjustified attack against a friend and American partner threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of civilians, many of whom have already fled their homes in other parts of Syria to find security in this region," Graham and Van said. Hollen in a statement.

“This invasion will ensure the resurgence of ISIS in Syria, encourage US enemies, including al Qaeda, Iran and Russia, and launch another endless conflict in what had been, until today, one of the safest and most stable areas of Syria and a region that is experimenting with the best local government model currently available in that war-torn country. ”

Brad Bowman, senior director of the Center for Military and Political Power of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a veteran with 15 years of active service, reflected the sentiment of many other Republicans with whom CNN spoke, describing the day as “a disgusting and embarrassing moment in the history of the United States, and I put this at the feet of the president. ”

"Millions have died"

Both the Pentagon and State Department officials had advised Trump not to make the move, arguing that a US presence is needed. UU.

LEE: Turkish offensive begins in Syria, Erdogan announces

The Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement Wednesday that they were suspending military operations against ISIS in northern Syria following the "Turkish aggression."

On Sunday, after Trump's phone call with Erdogan, the White House said US troops would withdraw and not support or be involved in the operation. Trump downplayed the Turkish movement in comments to journalists at the White House on Wednesday.

He shrugged at the possible escape of ISIS fighters from Kurdish prisons, essentially saying that it is a problem in Europe, not his own. "Well, they're going to escape to Europe, that's where they want to go," Trump said. He added that "we have no soldiers in the area."

Trump downplayed the alliance with the Kurds, 11,000 of whom died fighting to help the US mission against ISIS. "They didn't help us in World War II, they didn't help us with Normandy, for example," Trump said. "They are there to help us with their lands and that is something different." Normandy is an area of ​​France, not the United States.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that it was "false" that the US withdrawal of troops from northeastern Syria was a green light for the killing of the Kurds, but did not explicitly support them as US allies.

LOOK: The danger after the US decision to withdraw troops from the Syrian border with Turkey

Analysts like Bowman say that part of the outrage is due to the fact that "we would not have defeated the ISIS Caliphate … without your help" and that the Kurds had recently lowered their defenses, trusting that the United States would protect them from Turkey.

Since August, the United States has been pressuring the Kurds to dismantle their defensive fortifications and withdraw their troops along the border that Turkey is now attacking, as part of a "security mechanism" framework. The goal was to appease Turkey enough that they would not invade. The Kurds agreed to participate "presumably because they were confident that the United States would diplomatically restrict the Turks," Bowman said.

"We are breaking faith with the Kurds," Bowman said. “The SDF did everything we asked them to do. This will have ramifications for each individual soldier, each squad, each platoon that operates in a dangerous place trying to gain the trust of its partners. ”

Earlier this Wednesday, Trump got angry on Twitter by rejecting criticism. The president seemed to refer to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was based on faulty and manipulated intelligence that former leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

"THERE WAS NO!" Trump tweeted. “Now we are slowly and carefully taking our great soldiers and soldiers home. Our focus is on the OVERVIEW! ”

"Unreliable"

But analysts and lawmakers of all trends argue that the big picture and the benefits to the United States of standing firm are exactly what Trump is losing. They pointed out the ramifications for future US alliances and the fight against ISIS, which remains a threat, among other issues.

MIRA: Army takes control of important villages in southern province of Syria

They said the measure was strategically short-sighted in Syria and internationally, which will give credibility to the narrative, often driven by Iran and Russia, that the United States is an unreliable partner, making it difficult to build future coalitions. That could mean that the US UU. You may have to send your own forces to dangerous situations more frequently.

"People will come to see the United States as unreliable or transactional," Bowman said. "The net result is that the next time we need friends, allies, partners, they won't be there."

Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah noted the feeling that once Trump withdrew to the United States, the Turkish attack was inevitable.

"Reports indicate that Turkey is foreseeably attacking the Kurdish allies we abandon," Romney tweeted. “It is a tragic loss of life among shamefully betrayed friends. We can only hope that the president's decision does not lead to an even greater loss of life and a resurgence of ISIS. ”

The wave of criticism, even from a generally complacent Republican party and, in particular, from some staunch Trump allies, seemed to incite the president to harm control mode. This Wednesday afternoon, he issued a statement that did not mention his role in giving Erdogan a green light or the fate of Kurdish fighters.

"A bad idea"

"From the first day I entered the political arena, I made it clear that I did not want to fight these endless and meaningless wars, especially those that do not benefit the United States," Trump said.

Trump said Turkey had "committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities" and "ensuring that there is no humanitarian crisis," and said Ankara "is now responsible for ensuring that all ISIS fighters remain captives remain in prison and that ISIS is not reconstituted in any direction, form or figure. ”

Graham, usually an unconditional ally of Trump, predicts that his legislation on sanctions in Turkey will have a veto-proof majority in the Senate, which makes it impossible for Trump to stop him.

Trump responded by talking about bipartisan legislation by saying "Lindsey and I feel differently."

“I think Lindsey would like to stay there for the next 200 years and maybe add a couple of hundreds of thousands of people in each place. But I don't agree with Lindsey on that. But I will tell you that I agree with the sanctions. ”

Trump said he has prevented Erdogan from moving to Syria "from practically the first day" he was in office. "They wanted to fight and that's the way it is," Trump said.

CNN's Maegan Vázquez, Ryan Browne, Jennifer Hansler, Nikki Carvajal and Haley Byrd, in Washington, and Mohammed Tawfeeq, in Atlanta, contributed to this report.

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