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Kerry W. Kircher: “He is poking his fingers into all of the places where we have norms and traditions and things that both parties have respected for years, and he has blown all of those out the window.”

2019-10-07

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Kerry Kircher was the House counsel for the Republican majority between 2011 and 2016.  He was quoted in the Washington Post today describing what [redacted] has done to the American system of democratic-republican government: he is openly defying the legislative branch in its attempt to exercise its oversight responsibilities and its impeachment powers over the executive branch.  He has declared a policy of no cooperation at all with the House committees’ requests and subpoenas for documents and testimony.  The rare person who testifies (like Kurt Volker) has usually already retired or been pushed out of government.

If [redacted] is successful in his attempts to stonewall the House, impeachment and “exoneration” by the Senate are likely consequences.   The only hope for the Constitutional is conviction in the Senate– and that will require far more than the three Republican Senators who have so far expressed doubt about the President’s actions.  Ultimately, that will make him successful at destroying constitutional government.  The next President will find it easier still to defy Congress and legislate by executive order, backed by a conservative Supreme Court that accepts the “unitary executive” theory and that may sit for many years.

The situation is deteriorating fast, though.  [redacted] has just agreed in a phone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to allow Turkish forces to invade the border area, up to 20 miles inside Syria, and take control of the ISIS prisoners the Kurds are holding.  This area is currently controlled by the Kurds, who have depended on American logistics and support to overwhelm and capture 12,000 ISIS fighters and a total of some 80,000 prisoners, controlling the ISIS threat for the moment.

There is no explanation for how these prisoners will be transferred to Turkish custody, and it is unlikely that the Turks will take on this responsibility earnestly.  If any of them escape, they could form the nucleus of a renewed ISIS.  The chaos promised by American and Kurdish withdrawal from the border area and Turkish attacks on Kurdish positions would be an ideal atmosphere for renewed hostilities from ISIS.

What was the President thinking when he made this decision (which is being carried out as we speak)?  He says he doesn’t want to pay any more for Kurdish help now that ISIS has been “eliminated” since the Kurds have already gotten a lot of money and supplies.  He says let the locals and the “tribes” fight it out among themselves.

Except that’s not how the US has been operating up until recently.  The Americans made commitments to democratic institutions and to freedom for the Kurds.  They’re not just some local “tribe”– for many years, the Kurds have seen themselves as an aspiring nation.  An independent Kurdistan has been the dream of Kurdish leaders since WW I and even before that, when the Turks massacred the Armenians.

This area has a complex history, and there are small minorities of Christians and other faiths that are in danger of being wiped out by those following the ISIS ideology.  America has already made a point of rescuing the Yazidis from ISIS.  The Kurds have worked hard to live up to American ideals and are even more deserving of shelter.

In other words, by abandoning the Kurds to the Turks, we are betraying promises made to Kurdish leaders that they depended on when they willingly gave up 11,000 dead in combat against ISIS.  James Mattis resigned over this, and numerous others within the administration did their best to convince [redacted] not to do this.  Those people are all gone, and [redacted] has gone back to his first impulse, which is to reflexively withdraw troops and renounce commitments whenever it seems convenient.

He is actually reluctant to spend American money on military logistics and troops in other countries, while at the same time giving more money to the military in this country.  I think he expects the extra money to be used on bribes and other graft rather than spending it in South Korea.

This brings me to North Korea.  Something tells me that [redacted] would love to withdraw American troops from South Korea in exchange for promises from Kim Il-Sung to denuclearize.  He is so eager that he is likely to offer Kim a deal that he can’t pass up, in time for a propaganda coup for American presidential elections.

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