The Turkish Invasion and the Immoral and Criminal Support of it by the American President

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

It is a sad day to be an American, especially one who serves in the military. I saw another officer comment on his Twitter feed that for the first time in his career that he did not feel pride in putting on his uniform. A Turkish friend I know here  was angry at his home country, and he served in the Turkish Army in his younger days. As I watch the brutal attacks on the Kurds of northern Syria by the Turkish military I have to angry with them. President Trump has abandoned our most stalwart and effective ally in the region and the fight against the Islamic State to the democratically elected dictator of Turkey, Recip Erdogan.

The President claimed to be doing this as fulfilling a campaign promise to withdraw American troops from Syria, but he didn’t do that. He simply moved them aside to allow the Turks to attack the Kurds, but the troops are still in Syria. Additionally, reports indicate that U.S. intelligence sources provided the Turks aerial and satellite imagery to help them target Kurdish positions. Kurdish fighters are resisting, but against the massive armored, and mechanized invasion, backed by strong air support their defeat is a foregone conclusion unless the United States changes its policy and decides that the Kurds are worth helping.

The leaders of the United States military have requested that the Turks end their invasion and withdraw, but that will not happen. President Trump has given the game away. Turkish President Erdogan has threatened the European Union with dumping three and a half million Syrian refugees on them if they so much as dare to criticize him. Of course his motive is blackmail, and should he dump the refugees his goal will be  to destabilize the E.U. and help Right Wing Racist parties into power, with the ultimate goal of destroying the E.U. Sadly, President Trump encourages this by treating the E.U. and our NATO allies as poor allies and enemies, at times threatening them and also punishing them with frankly insane tariffs that that only serve to tear apart the most successful military, political, and economic alliance in history. In doing so he encourages our real enemies and drives off real friends.

These actions will have drastic repercussions. America’s word will not be trusted.  Friends will seek alternative security, political, and economic options, and those who desire the downfall of the United States, the E.U., and our military-political alliances will rejoice.

Trump cozies up to age old enemies, excuses their crimes, while abandoning the pillars of the alliances that have helped make us the strongest and previously the most respected country in the world.

All I can say now is that it is very hard to be proud of my country and support the actions of this President. I have served under six Presidents, 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats. Until Trump I found some redeeming qualities, even if I disagreed with their policies and actions.

In under six months I will be retired from the military with a total of 38 years and seven months service on active duty in the Army and Navy, as well as time spent in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. I have no breaks in service. I have been to war, and I suffer both physically, psychologically, and spiritually from that service.  Now, with the actions of Trump around the world and in our country, it is hard to be proud of my service.

To paraphrase the comments of General Henning von Tresckow, an opponent of Hitler who died for his beliefs:

“We have to show the world that not all of us are like him. Otherwise, this will always be Trump’s America.”

Until tomorrow,

Padre Steve+




Filed under ethics, History, leadership, middle east, Military, Political Commentary

10 responses to “The Turkish Invasion and the Immoral and Criminal Support of it by the American President

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    The only thing I am thinking right now is the movie The Manchurian Candidate.

  2. maryplumbago

    Another excellent post and also so profoundly sad. To think this is what America has become. It is heartbreaking.

  3. David Head

    Dear Steve,
    I’m too angry to reply eloquently.
    How Trump and Erdogan sleep at night is beyond me.
    God Bless

  4. Louis

    Steve… man… where to start? I completely agree with you, but there is something more.

    I will be retiring in 18 days after 34 years without a break in service, the first 10 in the Field Artillery in the Guard, then MSC in the Reserves and the last 21 on active duty as a physician. 2 deployments as a flight surgeon to Iraq (Taji and Ramadi), 6 overseas tours (Egypt, Italy, Kenya, Thailand etc.) and I will throw in 5 years in Civil Air Patrol before those 34 years began.

    I only list my bona fides to say that I did not need to retire for another 8 years, but I decided about 1 1/2 years ago that I could no longer serve under this President. I have tried to strictly adhere to the legal prohibitions about speaking one’s mind on these matters so it seemed through researching this, that the only legitimate and legal option to express my concern was to resign or retire. These are the only avenues open to a Soldier and that is what I have done. I believe I once read that Eisenhower never voted until he retired so as to not display any partisanship even in his private decisions (please correct me if I am wrong about that).

    (I am reminded of how MacArthur initially resigned when called back from the Philippines…. I mean, he had his issues (Why did his planes sit on the ground during the 1941 Japanese attack? Why did he not allow an outlet from Manila later in the war and instead backed the Japanese into a brutal fight until the death inside the city?), but dang…. that was fearless…. It would be interesting if you did a blog on famous people who walked away from power in order to state their opposition to something wrong… even Mattis leaving over Syrian policy)

    The Iran Contra affair and withdrawal from Lebanon with Reagan occurred during my watch, the incomplete first gulf war to protect Kuwati and Saudi oil during Bush the Elder’s time, two draft dodgers to follow and the lies that led us into Iraq again and Obama’s Syrian policy that in my mind led to the extension of Russian and Iranian power, the flood of refugees that entered Europe and as a result, the populist surge that has led to right wing movements throughout Europe, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, but never did I lose respect for the office of the Presidency or feel that our democracy was truly threatened by the office holder. Disagreements on policy notwithstanding, I could salute the flag and carry on….. but this I can do no further.

    Well, I will violate my own rules if I say the entirety of what I am really thinking, but suffice it to say that while I have not widely broadcast it, it is my loss of faith and confidence in our leadership that has led to my decision to retire much earlier than I had planned. The crazy thing about retiring before you really plan to retire completely is that you must make the decision more than a year out when you have no idea where you will end up or if you will be able to feed yourself. I had great moments of fear about this and thought about reconsidering my position several times, but it was like there was this ethical wall that I just could not cross back over. I only have this one life and I can’t live it in fear and essentially professing to believe in something that I do not believe in so that I might maintain my own security. I just can’t. It is almost as if the decision is not my own, but an internal rule that is inviolable.

    Very fortunately, I have found something quite rewarding to move onto with my soul intact. I don’t know the calculus that goes on in everyone else’s heart and I hesitate to judge anyone else on something like this. I can only say that I agree with you and respect your decision.

    • padresteve

      Thank you for sharing your story and experience. I would have retired last month if it hadn’t been for Navy medicine dicking around with my knees for 10 months, which forced me to cancel my voluntary retirement in order that I might be able to walk without too much pain. I fully understand about serving under this President. It sickens me.

  5. KCK

    The mood in America is to get out of MidEast wars. The Great Big Picture: Russia is revaneching the Crimean War and wants the Black Sea to be their lake. A Kurd buffer on the Turkish border. Yawn. Don’t let your liberally-infected mind (I just did say that) get the better of you.

    Limit our wars, and keep an eye on the things that matter. We need to put a big pair of pliers on Erdogan’s nuts, and the same on Putin’s tiny ones. But fighting in Syria is not indicated at this time.

    The story in the news starts out: Trump’s withdrawal caused…” OMG they are pulling your leg, and you are falling for it! Erdogan told Trump he was advancing into Syria, and Trump reacted with a dovish move. Now, libs in America are all of a sudden pro-war. The irony actually hurts it is so transparent.

    • padresteve

      I allowed your comment because it shows the complete moral implosion of Trumpservatives. I could never believe that the GOP, which I was a member of for 32 years has slipped to this. Toodles.

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