The Siren Song of appeasement has always been difficult to resist. It justifies silly fallacies, such as the existence of a binary choice between “peace in our time” and a third World War. It breeds many delusions, like confusing our allies for enemies and our enemies for allies. Most significant of all, it prevents us from doing what is right, for our security and for our honor.
The Kurds of Iraq and Syria bore the brunt of the battle against ISIS, a terrorist organization which has among its goal to kill every American man, woman, or child who will not bow to their dictates.
Thomas S. Kaplan and Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote in The Washington Post:
“Since 2014, the Kurds and their allies have taken control of a remarkable 30 percent of Syria and captured Raqqa, which the Islamic State had claimed as its capital — and over that period suffered 4,000 men and women fighters killed and 10,000 wounded. … Even as they have waged a years-long war against the Islamic State in northeastern Syria, they have governed a population of about 2 million people with a degree of respect for religious freedom, gender equality and minority rights unknown in that part of the world.”
It was during the battle of Raqqa that, for the first time in this millennium, the United States shot down an enemy aircraft on June 18, 2017. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Tremel earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down a Syrian fighter that was attacking Kurdish forces, who were fighting their way into the ISIS capital. Assad’s air force fighter was not targeting ISIS, it was targeting the Kurds who were fighting ISIS. Despite all their propaganda, Russia and Assad played no role in the battle against ISIS, other than helping them by attacking everyone but ISIS. Without our Kurdish friends, Raqqa would still be the chair of the Caliphate today.
Friends who will shed blood for us are hard to come by. The Turkish dictator Erdogan was not willing to stick his neck out for us. In fact, he seems content to spit in our eye every chance he gets. So why would we put our trust in him to fight ISIS or any other foe? And why would we trust him not to attack the Kurds?
The Kurds deserve better than the word of a collection of dictators that they will respect a 20-mile safe zone, with nothing but the threat of sanctions to back them up. The small number of troops we have there provide a shield over these reliable allies that no other nation has dared challenge militarily, and thanks to this arrangement there are 80,000 dead jihadists to show for our trouble.
America is safer when jihadists are killed. The Kurds are the best hunters of jihadists in that neighborhood. It is in our interest to have their backs.