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A suggested compromise for helping the Kurds

Should American soldiers be fighting on the side of the Kurds, against Turkey? Yes!!!? No!!!? (Instapundit ruminations here.)

I suggest a compromise. All those Americans, and all those from anywhere, who think that there should be foreign soldiers fighting alongside the Kurds, against Turkey, should either (a) go there themselves and fight, or (b) themselves pay for other Kurd-supporting military enthusiasts to do the same. I’m too old for (a) and was in any case a rubbish fighter even when young. But for (b) I’d be willing to contribute, if persuaded that it is helping and isn’t a scam.


18 comments to A suggested compromise for helping the Kurds

  • APL

    “(a) go there themselves and fight, or (b) themselves pay for other Kurd-supporting military enthusiasts to do the same.”

    Likewise, in the United Kingdom. We should institute a British army battalion recruited exclusively from the Sons and Daughters of the British political elite, NGO employees, Charities, and Quangos. That way, any time the British political class wish to intervene in some foreign dispute, they will have a rapid reaction force, ready on standby.

  • I’d be OK to see some UK special forces giving the Kurds a hand (and the US a rest). Like some other things I’d be happy to see, it’s maybe a very after-the-upcoming election idea, nor would I want my side to risk a single vote on it (nor will they need to – it will so not be that election’s focus).

    Sadly, that also relates to the OP idea. I am old enough to recall Brian’s “In Defence of Mercenaries” pamphlet. It is certainly a thing the empire did in the past. As the Kurds don’t have the deep pockets of the Sultan of Oman and suchlike, free-enterprise funding would be needed. However it would surely kill such help if the UK authorities did not actively suppress lawfare attempts to block Brian’s proposal. The Gina Millers of this world would try – and we see how hard it is at the moment to block them on matters of greater moment to the current government. So before an election I see small chance people will give large (for them) sums if the question

    if persuaded that it is helping and isn’t a scam.

    is likely to be effectively preempted by a lawfare scam. After an election, the government will have its own reason to dismantle the lawfare scam and will, I hope, succeed.

    Yes, that will be too late for some Kurds.

  • Runcie Balspune

    The Trump era is about the question “what’s in it for us?”, although Trump has stated he would turn nasty should the Turks misbehave, the bottom line is whether the USA has any interest in who controls the region, does it really matter (to them) ? The strange and contradictory world we now live in is that Trump is doing exactly what “progressives” would want – reluctance to get involved in foreign wars (even though it was “alright when Obama did it”), but now they are all turning hawk in their derangement syndrome.

    I’m not sure that the original argument was that “the Kurds helped America fight ISIS”, I’d rather think it was the other way around, after all, if ISIS had gained Kurdish territory I’m quite sure it wouldn’t not have worked out very well for the Kurdish community in it.

  • We should institute a British army battalion recruited exclusively from the Sons and Daughters of the British political elite, (APL, October 8, 2019 at 9:53 am)

    ‘Recruited’ sounds voluntary – so only those offspring we’d be (relatively, at least) sorrier to lose will join.

    If the elite are ever exposed enough that we can conscript their offspring, then their power will no longer be the problem.

    The intermediate state of banning political careers for such as did not serve (sort of a ‘Starship Troopers’ for the elite) would be nice, but we’d have solved a lot of the problem if we reached the state where we could enforce even that.

    In short, I fear the proposal has a hint of “Bell the cat” about it.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . or (b) themselves pay for other Kurd-supporting military enthusiasts to do the same.”

    Since we (in the US) have an all-volunteer military, isn’t that what we’re doing now?

    Seems to me that if you start talking about “I’ll pay for this but not that”, you eventually end up with the US Democrat Army fighting in Lower Buttvia against the US Republican Army.

  • John B

    Should America soldiers have fought on the side of the British against the Germans?


    Oh, that’s right… that’s different.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Humph! Jolly right we should! Take that, you so-called “libertarian” ostriches!

    The only problem a Real Libertarian (by my lights anyway) has with that is the draft.

    For now, I’m reading that the conservatives tend to want the President to forgo fighting, though maybe giving advice.

    On the other hand, while many are great with leaving Syria altogether, some think that’s Ol’Barry Redux.


    Back in the ’90s (at least) the U.S. promised to back up the Kurds in attempts to rid the region of Sadaam a few times, but pulled out instead. Robert Baer, in his memoir See No Evil, talks about how the last promise was broken when the Kurds were set to GO! and just waiting for the OK from the CIA — which was also ready in the field. But the CIA was told by Washington to abandon the plan, so the CIA operatives in the field had to tell the Kurds they couldn’t help after all.

    Mr. Baer’s career was as a CIA operative, in particular in the Middle East. He tells his story in his book:


    This is FWIW. The book was good, and interesting. I have no grounds on which to vouch for or denounce Mr. Baer’s account. But to me, it sounds both plausible and, of course, disgusting.

    ‘Scuse me. Dyspepsia acting up again. :>((!!

  • Dr. Caligari

    I’m follow your argument that who wants the war, should be able to pay the price.

    As a German (uhh, sorry) civilic, I’ve no wishs for a war. The Problem with syria is that as far as we can see, the false side is winning. Erdogan supports the islamism and the kurds are sekular Democrates.

    Thats the evil.

  • APL

    Niall Kilmartin: “Recruited’ sounds voluntary – so only those offspring we’d be (relatively, at least) sorrier to lose will join.”

    I wouldn’t be sorry to lose Neil Kinnock’s spawn, Stephen. One who is only where he is because of his fathers nepotism. We’d do well to send the first generation too, ‘Lord’ and ‘Lady’ Kinnock could take up residence, along with their son in Tripoli, sans Police protection detail. They could act for the duration of their stay ( which might be short and end bloodlily )* as the European Unions administration and chief panjandrum.

    *Or he might rise like a turd to the surface of the cesspool.

  • Patrick Crozier

    There was a time when the elite was prepared to have its offspring fight. The sons of both the Prime Minister and leader of the Irish Nationalist Party were killed in the First World War. Churchill himself served on the front line, albeit briefly.

    I’d like to echo Bobby B’s point. The threat of a foreign war coming home may be one of the better reasons we have a state.

    Also, as well as believing that you are not donating to a scam don’t you also have to believe that the Kurds are going to win? Because if they are not all you are doing is prolonging – and thus worsening – the agony.

  • I wouldn’t be sorry to lose Neil Kinnock’s spawn, Stephen. (APL, October 9, 2019 at 7:56 am)

    I can’t see myself experiencing a deep feeling of personal regret either – but that hardly addresses my point. Kinnock junior is clearly ready to volunteer for cushy political-class jobs but what are the chances he’d step forward for front-line service after seeing a “Your European Union needs YOU” recruiting notice, let alone one for a country whose citizenship he holds but from which he seemed a bit detached when paying his taxes in Switzerland while claiming to be domiciled in Denmark – and may still feel so, for all he’s a UK MP now.

    And on the day we can draft him and deploy him in a soviet-style penal battalion (the only way one ever could get military value from him), we will certainly have more than solved the problem of the EU having too much power over the UK.

  • Alex DeWynter

    Somewhat-related question, how will this affect the migrant situation? Past experience suggests it will prompt another wave, but perhaps everyone in Syria with the tiniest inclination to leave has already gone.

    Are there any other ways this is/could become your (the UK) or the EU’s problem, such that it would behoove you (or the EU, which I continue to cling to hope will become a separate entity at the end of this month) to intervene? Not meaning to sound heartless, I’m very pro-Kurd and we’ve (the US) screwed them over badly before, but is there a practical/pragmatic element that can be invoked to buttress the moral one?

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    Since we (in the US) have an all-volunteer military, isn’t that what we’re doing now?

    To some extent. They question though is: what tasks does this military take on? Although they volunteer to fight and occasionally die for their country there is a somewhat implicit pact that goes with it, namely that their lives will not be thrown away carelessly and that they will be treated honorably after their discharge. So, it is a matter of democratizing the process of deciding what we use this military for. And surely a wise person like you must think that our military is used for ridiculous things, including our involvement in the middle east (which, BTW has contributed nearly 35% of the current national debt.)

    Something I have often thought would be a great move toward greater accountability for the political elite would be an additional schedule to our tax return. In that schedule would be listed all government programs costing more than $1million dollars. You can check a box next to that program and if you do so the program will have its funding reduced by 1/330,000,000 or whatever the total number of tax filers are. You can’t change the policy but you can withdraw your financial funding of it. It doesn’t decrease your taxes, but at least you have an option of saying that your taxes are not going toward funding something you find immoral. (For example, it would render the controversial Hyde amendment moot, and democrats who don’t want to fund a border wall wouldn’t have to.)

    Of course, like all schemes to make the government more accountable, it would never happen. But one can dream about such things.

  • Jerry Musial

    There is no easy way out of the tangled web spun in the Middle East the past decades. No option is without risk or issues.

    But, I believe starting the process of getting our young kids out of there is the best option. We will deal with the fallout, if, and when that happens, when it happens.

    Then, out of Afghanistan, Korea, Germany, and the other 100 countries we have a footprint. America first!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Jerry (and Fraser, Alex, others),

    Richard (Epstein) loves to tell this version of an old Jewish joke:

    Two Jews go to the Rabbi to resolve a dispute between them.

    The first man gives his argument. The Rabbi nods, and says, “You’re right.”

    The other man then gives his counterargument. The Rabbi nods, and says, “You’re right.”

    Both men chorus: “But, Rabbi, you said I was right!”

    The Rabbi answers: “What can I say? You’re both right.”


    Another version is a simple statement of fact:

    When two Jews are arguing, there will be three opinions.

    😆 😆 😆

    NOTE: I’ve known many many people who could stand in for the “Jews” in these jokes. Most of them have not been Jewish.

    One of them is me [another ungrammaticism]. But if you say I said so, I’ll call you a liar to your face. 😈

  • staghounds

    Every politician who votes for a war* should immediately get to fight in it, until its end, as a private soldier.

    If it’s so necessary, you lead the way, Senator.

    *Absent direct attack by the organised forces of another power on his own country. I’ll give them an exception for Pearl Harbor.

  • Paul Marks

    To be fair – the argument is that the presence of American soldiers deterred a Turkish attack, NOT that American soldiers should do battle against Turkey.

    The response to the action of President Trump is hysterical (as establishment reactions against President Trump always are), but in this case the establishment does have an argument. But they seem incapable of explaining their argument without screaming at (basically spiting on) the President – no wonder he finds it hard to listen to them.

  • I link FWIW this argument that Trump did not in fact abandon Kurds in northern Syria so much as run a psyop to help get Baghdadi (h/t instapundit).

    “Who knows? Who will say that he knoweth?” (The Worm Ouroborous)

    Certainly not me. 🙂