I’m an American National Guard Captain. I Didn’t Enlist to Abandon our Kurdish Allies | NYT Opinion

Updated : Oct 24, 2019 in Articles

I’m an American National Guard Captain. I Didn’t Enlist to Abandon our Kurdish Allies | NYT Opinion


Three months ago, I
was in northern Syria with the Army’s 34th Infantry Division. Weeks ago, our
commander in chief announced he was pulling
our last troops out of the region. “And I say why are we
protecting Syria’s land?” Ever since I haven’t been
able to sleep at night. “Breaking news: Turkey has
launched a military offensive against the Kurds in
northeastern Syria.” “In just a week
hundreds reported dead. Around the world,
condemnation growing.” Our complete
withdrawal from Syria is unstrategic, immoral
and ultimately un-American. Don’t get me wrong, I agree
with President Trump’s statement that we
should end endless wars. I don’t think we should
have been in Iraq. I certainly don’t think
we should be in Yemen. Overall, it is good for us to
get out of the Middle East. But we do that by building
and maintaining alliances, by creating a
peace process that maintains stability
in the region and supporting our allies. That’s how we work
ourselves out of our jobs. I was stationed in July
in Kobani, Syria. In Kobani, there’s a little cafe where
we met with our Kurdish counterparts. We drank tea in
little glasses. I met a Kurdish fighter who
asked me if the U.S. would ever leave Syria. I reassured him:
Of course the U.S. would never leave Syria
and abandon the Kurds. They’re our partners. I was wrong. Last week I read that Kobani
was attacked by Turkey. That’s the same city where
I drank tea with the Kurds and reassured them that
we’d have their back. Now I worry that
those same men may be dead. I can’t believe President Trump let this happen. I joined the Army to
follow in the footsteps of my grandfather
and great-uncle Milt who both served
in World War II. Now the same army that stopped
the Nazis is being sent home to clear the way for an
ethnic cleansing of the Kurds. Today the United
States and Turkey have agreed to a
cease-fire in Syria. But this is too little
too late. “This morning that short-lived deal already
appears to be falling apart.” “Turkish attacks continued
on the border today.” “There are reports
that ISIS prisoners have been escaping …
promising slaughter and quote ‘the return
of the Islamic State.’” President Trump has said,
“We have won against ISIS,” but that’s not true. ISIS no longer
controls territory but they are still a threat. Keeping ISIS at bay
in northern Syria means collecting on-the-ground intelligence and guarding tens of
thousands of captured ISIS terrorists and their
families, something the Kurds have done
for us for years. Based on what I saw
in Syria, I strongly believe the president’s
decision may prolong a war— rather than end it.

100 Comments

  • The Kurds are the sort of brave, steadfast, democratic allies that American soldiers can be proud to fight beside. I can't imagine how hard it must be to watch this happen.

  • Trump is a homicidal maniac who makes the U.S. less safe in ways unimaginable. Imagine the guilt of slaughter and the amount of PTSD claims alone.

  • My son served in the early days of the Iraqi invasion, and worked with many Kurdish people. He is heartbroken and outraged by the decision to abandon the Kurds. What Mr. Trump has done lacks all honor, valor and decency.

  • Thank you for your service, I am from Syria and I am not a big fan of Trump, but your commander in chief was right on this one bud trust me..

  • How much did NYT pay you for this BS. You drank tea with a Kurd. That definitely qualifies you to set policy . . especially AFTER you are back safe in the US. You are National Guard, hardly a front line soldier. Easy for you to volunteer the guys who do the real fighting and take the real risks.
    Nobody is stopping you from buying a plane ticket to go back and fight with your buddies, the Kurds.

  • That is why the President is using diplomacy rather than military action with Turkey who is a Nato Ally. And has negotiated a cease-fire! Leaving the 27 troops in place would have done nothing except left our troops in harm's way. This conflict has been going on way before the US was ever involved there are many complicated facts surrounding this conflict. Turkey is holding refugees who could flood into Europe which would be catastrophic to the economy to the countries the refugees enter as they are not equipped to take so many at once.
    Let's give diplomacy a chance. Instead of escalating more war and more conflict.

  • Did you enlist to protect the Kurds??? Shut up and serve and cry about something else. You idiots have been shouting for the US to get out of the middle east for years, and President Trump does it, and it's still not good enough. Pathetic.

  • thanks for speaking out the truth. The US should know that Kurds love the US and fights only for its independence, not for invading or attacking its neighbor countries.

  • Can you imagine if only the kurds was alive as muslims hehe then this same man would say I HATE MUSLIMS!!!!!!
    xD
    Look at his eyes he is reading from a manuscript…..

  • The NG is ONE of the sworn enemies of THA DESCENDANTZ OF THA NORTH AMERICAN SLAVEZ… FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!……….

  • Get out, you violated your oath is supporting the President. Getting on the media to cut down your President is not appropriate.

  • That is a common problem among the stupid deployments of US troops to foreign countries with no end game of every bringing them home. One very stupid decision is usually always followed by many worst decisions, as it is never easy to succeed after all the previous failures of the past. The use of American military since WW2 has never ever been a good reason to be involved in foreign wars where our young men are sacrificed for so little reason. It has always cheapened the lives of American soldiers to give the military a tiny boost to their worth.
    I can easily tell by this one soldier's commitment to support an American proxy army of rebels and militants of the Muslim SDF, that a serious problem exist for supporting groups that are not our allies and all the following decisions will not correct the original problem, but make it even worst for this Captain Kennedy.

  • That troop pullout is not going to have consequences only for the military when they try to get our allies to go along with whatever war we're involved in. But, also for the hundred of thousands of Americans that live abroad and for the millions that go on vacation. That's not the best way to make friends or to maintain long lasting friendships/alliances. Now everybody is gonna tell us in our faces that we are unreliable, whether you are in the military or a tourist and that we the rest of the world as carnage for dictators, that we abandon them when it is no longer convenient for us.

  • America's military is strategically occupying areas around the globe securing America's interests to ensure America's greatness. This move from syria was to benefit Russia. Good job Agent Trump, in making Russia Great Again!

  • Thanks for speaking out, Captain Kennedy. Trump is not fit to hold any public office, much less be commander-in-chief. He should be removed by impeachment immediately.

  • I love the fact that trump uses companies to create mass bot accounts to attack stories like this. We have the some guy named @account user who just got started this morning 🙂

    Buddy word of advice… don't use cut and paste massages. Everyone is laughing at you.

  • Ahh those poor kurds! You can't trust Americans. Fact, multitudes of Iraqi Confidential informants, whom were promised green cards for them and thier families, were left abandoned in Iraq. The same thing is happening in Syria!

  • Trumps excuse for pulling out of Syria is that we shouldn't be in the middle east protecting land yet he's sending tens of thousands of troops to protect Saudi oil fields.

  • A lot of military vote republican so I'm not sympathetic when I hear them complain about Trump. Hey, next time around try thinking.

  • I wish that the tomatoes,rocks,etc,that the news are showing being thrown at our troops leaving as we cut and run for the first time in Our History because of the direct order from the incestuous lunatic that is the Commander in Chief,could be thrown at him,all of the blood is on his hands period!

  • This guy's career is over, and may be his freedom. Could the NYT script this video any more? This soldier is violating his security clearance and should be arrested and charged under the UCMJ.

  • Fact: The YPG, also known as Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a group that was spun out of the PKK in 2003. The PKK has waged war against the Turkish government for decades, leading both Washington and Ankara to designate it as a terrorist entity. The People's Protection Units or People's Defense Units is a mainly-Kurdish group in Syria and the primary component of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The YPG mostly consists of ethnic Kurds, but also includes Arabs and foreign volunteers; it is closely allied to the Syriac Military Council, a militia of Assyrians.

  • Brave and honest man… so unlike our times to have a hero speak up . Thank you for serving and may god bless us all.

  • You are the wrong N the most people wrong. Let me tell you, people, who understand America people will call America people are the Day of 31. You must understand the day of 31 then you will know what America all about. If you do not understand the number 31 meant to America people then you Total is Wrong. America always the same with number 31

  • This is why I support the Military Vote as advocated by Smedley Butler. Soldiers that want to risk their lives for the Kurdish cause can vote for that, while leaving everyone else out of it.

  • All NYT bias aside, what did the Kurds honestly think was going to happen? Evidently, they were delusional enough to believe that the US would hold their hand and “give them a sovereign Kurdistan”. I am not surprised at this whatsoever. This is just another niche for Democrats to climb into and sings their optimistic “kumbayas” and “#metoo” chants completely ignoring the historical unrest in the region and the fact that the US did not play a role in the Kurdish disputes with Turkey.

  • PAID CROOCK…….PAID AGENT BY THE ZIONIST

    TRUMP IS PATRIOT, REAL BRAVE AND AN AMERICAN PATRIOT, THE REST SOLD THEIR SOULS TO THE DEVIL

  • America will never be what it was ever again, the failure of the Republicans to stop trumps behavior just paved the way to this disaster. ISIS will be able to reform and regroup which will be a death sentence for who knows how many more people. America's word means nothing at all now.

  • So sad Trump has no compassion for others, he has to answer to God. Believe in God or not i do . God is looking down shaking his head thinking " man" has no love for others and no care. How can you treat ppl this way and turn around and believe in God. How? Oh well , lost souls i pray they find peace

  • So glad i'm going to getting this so called captain UCMJed for unbecoming of an officer! I contacted his commanding officer. Article 89 Disrespecting anyone up or down the chain of command is not recommended in the military. In fact, people lose their monthly salary, confinement for up to a year, and a reduction in discharge paperwork can occur if bad enough. Disrespecting any, especially a higher ranking official, typically happens to members who cannot control their temper and lack the discipline to acknowledge discrepancies in civil discourse. The military prides itself on discipline and military order. Disrespecting a senior official can cause leadership failures to worsen to levels that render a group ineffective.

    When you have a grievance with someone up the chain of command, handle it with maturity, logic, and keep the emotions that can drive us all to do things we regret. Thank you for your concern. The Captain was expressing his personal opinion and that is not the opinion of the DOD, The Army or the Colorado National Guard. The command is taking appropriate action.

  • What can you expect from a real estate businessman? Once he sees there is no hope to secured the land, he pulls out. After all, he has no hotels, golf courses, building in Syria. He's more enthusiastic about building walls separating his property (what he thinks is his) than breaking them down.

  • Erdogan want to create new ISIS by using his policy and declare himself as a Caliphate and that is also supported by TRUMP, by pulling out the military outside syria and take it home…🏳🏳🏳

  • Trump said middle east is just sand let them fight one another for all he cares. Yet I heard than he deploying troops to Saudi Arabia to protect oilfields. Also It's weird that America is still in Germany, South Korea n Japan for over 60yrs

  • So I’m guessing Syria isn’t a country??? America owns that land or what??? Why don’t you want Syria to protect its country and citizen. Why does it have to be America?

  • I talk to veterans all the time. They support withdrawal. You never hear these opinions on mainstream corporate war machine media though.

  • Sadly, to Trump and the Republicans stabbing your allies in the back is ok. We've treated all of our allies like garbage, but strangely we keep doing favors for Russia. I wonder why Trump and the Republicans are so eager to make Russia look good and the USA look bad.

  • Soldiers first duty is to the country.
    I believe many people share your sentiments. But, in contrast, and undoubtedly you being on the ground may have compromised your emotions to the people you though you own a duty too.
    Perhaps you could have gather everybody's opinion on the ground and provided those findings to your superior who perhaps have it announced by the US govt. That could have been more useful.
    US troops thrown potatoes at? Seem to be US work for 3 years were not appreciated even those the guys risked everything for them.

  • Captain Kennedy:

    You are not entitled to use your official title as a US Army officer to publicly disagree with your chain of command. If you disagree with your orders and want to speak out, you must first resign your commission and then speak as a private citizen, not a US Army Officer.

    Many of us who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have had to carry out orders that we strongly disagreed with. For example, the first battle of Fallujah in April 2004 was a total disaster: It was ordered by President George W Bush against the vehement objection of the senior military leadership, especially GEN Mattis. I know. I was there. The operation was political and military fiasco and an unnecessary bloodbath. It was so bad that it had to be stopped after 3 days and we all felt like fools. But we didn’t complain. I personally felt that President Bush 43 was an incompetent buffoon who had no business being in charge of anything, much less the US military. I still feel that way. But I never said anything like that when I was on active duty. If I did, GEN Mattis would have court martialed me. Once a battle plan was made, he brooked no dissent.

    It is too soon to tell how President Trump’s action in Syria will pan out. The previous strategy was clearly a losing strategy and needed to be changed. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and leave. But that is not your decision to make. Nothing catastrophic has happened thusfar. It may or may not happen in the future.

    Foreign countries know that American policy often significantly changes with change of administration and that they often have to adjust their own policy accordingly. This action was not unexpected by the Kurds. Mr. Trump was threatening to do it for a long time.

    However, you are wrong to allow yourself in your official capacity to be used a stooge by the New York Times to advance their anti-Trump political agenda. If you haven’t already noticed, the Times has made multiple attempts to subvert American democracy by attempting a coup d’etat against Mr. Trump, starting before he took office.

    In my opinion, the New York Times has zero credibility. Now, so so you.

  • Oh, come on, there is no such country as curdistan; therefore, you should not be in Syria in a first place. You are not belong to Syria and you are not welcome there.

  • That's right soldier – you enlisted to DO WHAT YOUR BLOODY TOLD!!! Beside, the ruskies are allready in your place and i'm sure they'll get by without the Maccas and Donut stalls!

  • Does one liberal solider speak for all soldiers or Americans? Yeah, no😂😂 not sure what liberals think this achieves?

  • Turkey is your NATO ally. Why did you approach terrorists instead of your ally? Just come clean and admit that your cause is only about securing the oil fields in the Middle East and maybe even a couple of poppy fields here and there.

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