Claire, an Intensive Care Unit nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago who also travels around the world with disaster medical response teams, spent several weeks in Iraqi Kurdistan earlier this year giving daily training seminars to the nurses from the Intensive Care and Coronary Care Units at the Azadi Teaching Hospital in the city of Dohuk.
"Dohuk isn't that far from Syria," Claire said. "People cross back and forth across the border from Kurdistan to Kurdish Syria all the time. A lot of people in Dohuk have family in Syria. I can't imagine what they're going through. Everybody must be so frightened."
We talked, as many Americans doubtless talked today, about how shamefully and tragically our country has betrayed the Kurds after the U.S.-backed Kurdish militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces fought for years as strong, loyal, American allies in the war against ISIS and were instrumental in bringing down ISIS in Syria, capturing over 5,000 Islamic fighters and guarding the camps where the captured ISIS fighters are currently imprisoned. Over 11,000 Kurdish soldiers lost their lives fighting - with weapons supplied by the U.S. - against ISIS.
And after the Syrian Democratic Forces fought beside their American allies and gave their lives to defeat ISIS, our country promised, rightfully so, to protect the Kurdish people of northern Syria from Turkish aggression.
To this end the United States brokered a deal with the Kurds to placate Turkey: if the Syrian Democratic Forces dismantled their defensive fortifications along the Turkish border and pulled back their troops from that area then the U.S. military would guarantee their safety.
The Kurds kept their part of the bargain. And no sooner had they dismantled their defenses along the Syrian-Turkish border than Donald Trump repaid their trust with a double-cross by immediately pulling American troops back from the Syrian-Turkish border, saying of the Kurds,