'What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.'
Hours after the Trump administration announced it had brokered what it called a "ceasefire" with Turkey in northern Syria, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) lambasted Donald Trump's decision to retreat from northern Syria during a blistering speech from the Senate floor.
"The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory," Romney said Thursday afternoon. "It is far from a victory."
Romney raised questions about how and why Trump impulsively decided to withdraw American troops from the region after an Oct. 6 call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he acknowledged a planned Turkish military "operation."
The White House later acknowledged the operation as well, in a statement following the call.
"The ceasefire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally," Romney said on Thursday. "Adding insult to dishonor, the administration speaks cavalierly, even flippantly, even as our ally has suffered death and casualty."
Romney then praised the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), noting 11,000 Kurds had died helping the United States in the fight against ISIS.
"The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties: It strikes at American honor," Romney said.
He added, "What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history."
Within hours of Vice President Mike Pence announcing a ceasefire agreement with Turkey, the Turkish government had issued its own statement, saying it had not agreed to any ceasefire in the region, but rather a pause in military action.
In early October, Trump announced he would withdraw American troops from the northern Syria, effectively giving Turkey the green light to invade the region. In the days since, Turkish forces have slaughtered Kurdish civilians, and hundreds of ISIS-aligned prisoners have escaped, as SDF guards flee the bombardment.
The U.S. withdrawal was so hasty that American fighter jets were forced to bomb a U.S. munitions stash in the area because there were no trucks available to remove the weapons safely, and no other way to keep them from falling into the wrong hands.
Trump's decision to withdraw from the region have been roundly criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike, and a bipartisan majority in the House this week passed a resolution condemning Trump for abandoning the Kurds.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already pledged to pass a similar resolution that is "even stronger" than the one passed in the house.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.