Opinion Columns & Blogs

Georgians need to let their voices be heard on this international travesty

In April, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson flew to Iraq to meet with Kurdish leaders, thanking them for their support of America in defeating ISIS, while meeting with American soldiers, part of the overall mission that partnered with the Kurds. Georgians understand the importance of our relationship with this Middle Eastern group. The question is why won’t our president do the same?

That key Iraq trip featuring Isakson, a Republican, also included Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth (shot down flying a Black Hawk helicopter in the service of Operation Iraqi Freedom), a Democrat, and Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine.

“The bipartisan congressional delegation spent three days meeting with top Iraqi leaders, American diplomats and military commanders and service members in the region to gain a better understanding of operational and strategic impacts of U.S. policy and national defense strategy,” Isakson’s website noted. “Isakson and the delegation also met with Kurdish leaders to reiterate the importance of our nation’s alliance with our Kurdish partners who fought alongside American forces against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.”

Contrast that with what has come out of the White House. After Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered U.S. forces to leave as part of three years of bullying Trump on the issue, our forces were told to retreat. The American Special Forces and others in the service were forced to abandon the Kurdish Peshmerga, courageous men and women who gave their lives to help us defeat ISIS, and the success we have had there in the war on terrorism.

The first flaw comes from our government permitting the massacre of our ally against ISIS. Anyone who supports us will now know that we can abandon our friends at a moment’s notice, in favor of the very regime that may well have enabled ISIS in the first place. Turkish journalists who uncovered evidence of this secret alliance, and that the porous border that allowed ISIS terrorists to slip into Europe and to target Americans, are now rotting in prison cells.

The second blunder is that the Kurds are holding all remaining prisoners. After Erdogan’s military slaughters our anti-ISIS allies, what will happen to the terrorists in the chaos? “‘The ISIS prisoners, some of them, will eventually be freed amongst the chaos, and remain in the area or go elsewhere to rejoin the fight,’ speculated the National Security Council official,” who revealed the troubling call, and why it will reopen the door to anti-American terrorism.

The clear winner of this will be Erdogan, supporter of the Free Syrian Army that has by some accounts been penetrated by an Al Qaeda affiliate, which is why the U.S. backed away from this group. Joining him on the victory podium will be Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his ally Bashir Al-Assad, bloodthirsty tyrants. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards will also be in line for a medal, boosting their power abroad. America won’t even get to settle for the bronze, despite being on the threshold of a major foreign policy achievement, the elimination of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Don’t let this happen. Contact your Georgian elected officials today, even if you hear that Trump may be rethinking this foreign policy disaster. He’s considered this unwise plan before, which let to Gen. James Mattis’ resignation as secretary of defense. It’s time for the U.S. to stand with its allies against terrorism, instead of those who allow it to spread.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange. He can be reached at jtures@lagrange.edu. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.