Oct 10, 2019
In remarks that sparked outrage and left some critics at a loss for words, President Donald Trump on Wednesday attempted to justify his decision to abandon Kurdish forces in Syria by criticizing Kurds for not assisting the United States in World War II.
"As somebody wrote in a very powerful article today, they didn't help us in the Second World War, they didn't help us with Normandy, as an example," Trump said during a signing ceremony for unrelated executive orders. "They're there to help us with their land, and that's a different thing."
As The DailyBeast's Will Sommer pointed out, Trump's remarks appear to have been inspired by a Tuesday article written by right-wing columnist Kurt Schlichter.
British historian Akil N. Awan was quick to point out on Twitter that Kurds "DID fight on the Allied side in WW2."
"They helped break the siege following the 1941 pro-Nazi coup d'etat in Iraq and were part of the (pro-Allied) Iraq Levies," said Awan. "By 1942 Kurds made up 25% of the force. By 1943, 10 of the 44 companies comprising the Iraq Levies were Kurdish."
In addition to condemning the president's historical ignorance, critics also slammed Trump's comments as unspeakably cruel:
\u201cok\u2026. All else aside, this logic makes no sense, and doesn\u2019t dictate anything in American foreign policy. The Viet Minh helped us a lot in World War II, and wonder how that alliance turned out in the years directly after.\u201d— Asawin Suebsaeng (@Asawin Suebsaeng) 1570654868
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