U.S. House overwhelmingly votes to condemn Trump’s Syrian troop withdrawal

Colorado's delegation, Democrats and Republicans alike, join in rebuke of president

Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buck at a candidate forum in Denver on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Photo by Rachel Lorenz for The Colorado Independent)
Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buck at a candidate forum in Denver on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Photo by Rachel Lorenz for The Colorado Independent)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria. 

The resolution passed the House with broad bipartisan support, delivering a stinging rebuke to the president. The final vote was 354-60. 

Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both chambers have slammed the president after he ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region. Critics blame the decision for allowing a Turkish incursion into the region that targeted U.S. Kurdish allies. 

“Since President Trump gave Turkey the green light to attack our Kurdish partners, Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate have been united in our swift and serious condemnation of this reckless action, which threatens countless lives, endangers our Kurdish partners and undermines our credibility in the world,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said this week in a joint statement. 

The resolution states that “an abrupt withdrawal of United States military personnel from certain parts of Northeast Syria is beneficial to adversaries of the United States government, including Syria, Iran, and Russia.” It says that lawmakers oppose the troop withdrawal and it calls on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to immediately cease unilateral military action in northeast Syria. 

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) was among the Republicans who voted to rebuke Trump. 

“I think that most people are upset that Turkey would attack the Kurds in the way that they are, and I think that the United States could have done more to try to prevent the kind of terrorist attacks that Turkey is reacting to, and at the same time prevent the kind of bloodshed that’s going on there,” Buck said in an interview Wednesday. 

Democratic members of Colorado’s congressional delegation took to Twitter to highlight their concerns over Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.“11,000 Kurds died helping us defeat ISIS. Now Trump is leaving them to risk being slaughtered by Turkey,” Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver tweeted. “America doesn’t betray its allies. We are better than this.”

Trump dismissed criticisms of his policy on Wednesday, saying the area is “not our border,” and calling Kurdish forces “no angels,” according to NBC. 

A Senate version of the resolution has also been introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.). 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, slammed the president’s move in an interview with reporters in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. 

“I hope he will reconsider, stop the bloodshed and reset the table before it’s too late,” Graham said. “His decision and line of thinking was against all sound military advice.”

After the vote, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said in a tweet that he is helping to lead a similar measure in the Senate, calling Trump’s decision a “grave mistake that’ll result in more instability, create a vacuum for ISIS & lead to a humanitarian crisis.”

“The decision to withdraw troops in Syria fails to protect allies who gave their lives alongside out troops to accomplish U.S. objectives and fails to facilitate our continued efforts against ISIS,” he said in a statement.

Robin Bravender, Newsroom Washington bureau chief, was previously an editor and reporter at E&E News and covered campaign finance and energy at Politico.


  1. House votes to condemn a troop withdrawal from a deployment they never authorized in the first place, was done without UN mandate, and in violation of all international laws. A deployment that the American public loudly and clearly rejected in 2014-15 with an Avalanche of calls to law makers asking Washington to stay out of Syria. An war that STARTED with the CIA trying to topple the Assad government, called operation Timber Sycamore. An operation which threw the country into chaos and opened the door to Islamic state.
    A sad and warped day in our Society when pulling troops out of a War zone is cause for concern, and a cruise missile strike gives news anchors on the Corporate media channels Euphoric Rapture. Endless Regime change operations, and Trillions wasted on war are now the new normal while any moves to end those wars is labeled Treason.
    How broken are we as a Nation?

  2. So if isolationism is the path, is there ever a situation in which we should intervene to stop genocide as we had done in Syria?

    I guess abandoning Israel is next, right?

    Should we have just let Hitler continue?

  3. sure Jay, we should stop Genocide like the one in Rwanda. Too bad our government doesn’t give a crap about Genocide. The US has engaged in 150+ bombings, assassinations, regime changes, and wars of aggression since WW2. None of them were to stop a “Genocide”, but many resulted in millions of innocent people dying. To suggest that ending this is ” Isolationism” really shows the power of the Corporate media propaganda you consume every night.
    The article is specifically about Syria, a country that was not at War prior to “Timber Sycamore” and the 100 million dollar arming of ” friendly Jihadi’s” . It shows just how out touch comments about Isolationism really are. To compare Syria to Nazi Germany doesn’t even deserve me typing a response on my key board.
    In short, our government doesn’t go around the globe saving people or promoting Democracy, That anyone still believes that After WMD’s in Iraq, after what Obama/Hillary did to Libya (now in open Civil war with open human slave markets), after the Humanitarian disaster that is Yemen, really proves that the CIA gets every penny of value from it’s infiltration of our News Rooms . Do yourself a favor, turn off the propaganda. MSNBC,CBS, Fox, CNN, turn it all off

  4. Yikes, you’ll have to illuminate the line between a dictator dropping barrel bombs on families and shoving them into ovens.

    Rwanda, Germany, Darfur and Syria are in no way linked to the Republican Fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan. You mentioned one of the reasons why.

    Rwanda, Germany, Darfur and Syria are, however, linked to one another, much to the consternation of Conservatives everywhere.

    That’s why it’s not hypocritical to support a withdrawal from Iraq and not Syria or Rwanda or Nazi Germany. They aren’t related. The Republicans whining about that on Limbaugh this week are really missing that point.

    Unfortunately, they’re extending their near perfect streak of being on the wrong side of history yet again.

    By the way, as much as I am entertained by the latest tinfoil revisionist version of American history, the Assad’s have been in power in Syria since Nixon, which is when the US started supporting the Kurds. And speaking of history, do you know who vetoed NATO action in Syria? Do you know what polling for popular support for intervention showed at the time?

    From your post, sounds doubtful that stuff got through.

    I’m guessing we can probably stop blaming those problems on the Obama’s and the Clinton’s who inherited those fully mature messes…not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, the Deficit, and Two Recessions. That’s beside the point.

    With all that said, I don’t share your stance that the world’s most powerful nation has no moral obligation to stop mass killings of civilians when it can, but I certainly support your right to have it.

    So again…by your logic…we should withdraw support for Israel as well, no?

    I think it’s tough to be pragmatic isolationist in today’s age.

  5. Amen & kudos.
    Came here to say the same but couldn’t have stated it better.

    War is great business for the few billionaires that own & control the firms that own & control Wall Street and the big banks….buying most all politicians in the process.

  6. Isolationism?
    Are you kidding me?

    The military of the United States is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world.

    Close to 60% of ALL U.S. government budget Spending is spent on the military.

    And you’re claiming fear of isolationism?

    Meanwhile GDP increases in China are OVER 300% that of the U.S.
    Over 200% in India & Vietnam over the U.S.

    The U.S. has lost its priorities.

    The propagandist facade of “protecting democracy” has run its course.
    Meanwhile, the global superclass is destroying rights, liberties & justice for all other citizens.

    And I’m not even a fan of Trump.

  7. The Syrian War is an absolute mess, and I charge that few to none actually know what’s really going on.

    Every group in the fight is out solely for themselves.
    A continued U.S. presence is only further complicating & compounding the problem.

    Syria is the defense industry’s (of each country) dream.

    The leaders of each side need to be made to face each other, personally, & face off, personally.

    No troops, just the bigwigs themselves.
    Let’s see how long this war lasts when the instigators/profiteers get personally battered & bloodied.

    The clustermck:
    The Syrian government and Russia are also bombing IS, but separately to the US-led coalition.

    So think about it like this: Syrian rebels (and their backers) are fighting the Syrian government (and their backers), and both sides are fighting IS. Although IS wants to overthrow the government, it also violently opposes the rebels.


    There’s just more pieces of the (simplified) puzzle.
    Introducing the Kurds

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” is a saying that doesn’t apply in Syria.

    Kurdish people living in Syria’s north declared the creation of an autonomous government in areas under their control in early 2014.

    This added a fourth dimension to the widening conflict.

    The Kurds – who say they support neither the government nor the opposition – have been battling IS along the Turkish border.

    Turkey is also fighting IS. But in this case, the enemy of their enemy is also their… enemy.

    Turkey sees the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) militia in Syria as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting the Turkish military for decades.

    Russia has military interests in Syria, including its only Mediterranean naval base and an airbase in Latakia province.

    Iran sees Mr Assad, a member of the heterodox Shia Alawite sect, as its closest Arab ally. Syria is also the main transit point for Iranian weapons shipments to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    The conflict in Syria is widely described as a series of overlapping proxy wars between the regional and world powers, primarily between the US and Russia, as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    The seven-headed Hydra.
    No matter what the U.S. does, it’s a losing prospect.
    Best to cut your losses than continue cling to a definite disaster.

    Humans are dumb.
    Mindless followers need to learn to stop allowing their self-proclaimed “leaders” to send ’em to do their fighting.

  8. I find it interesting that even many of those that oppose nationalism in the U.S., are defending the nationalism pursuit of the Kurds.

    What would happen if neo-nazis sought an autonomous region in the U.S.?

    I’ve no respect for any “nationalistic” group that seeks segregation.
    Modern humans have been around for tens of thousands of years.
    Races & nationalities have already fully intermixed.

    There is no “us” or “them”.
    We all come the same universal atom pool.

    George Orwell – Notes on Nationalism:

    Nationalism is the name that Orwell gives to the propensity of “identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests”.

    Orwell additionally argues that his definition of “nationalism” does not equate to the notion, held by himself and most other people, of “patriotism”: “Patriotism is of its nature defensive… Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power.”

    One of the themes that Orwell discusses is the effect of nationalistic sentiment on human thinking. Nationalism causes dishonesty within people because, he argues, every nationalist, having chosen one side, persuades himself that his side is the strongest, regardless of the arguments against the faction. From that sense of superiority, people then argue for and defend their faction.

    Additionally, they may also become ignorant to the point of self-deception. Orwell argues: “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

    Such people become susceptible to bias by acknowledging only information that they judge as true, as emotions hinder them in properly addressing facts. People believe in what they approve in their own minds as true, to the point that they deem it as an absolute truth: “More probably they feel that their own version was what happened in the sight of God, and that one is justified in rearranging the records accordingly.”

    Orwell provides three characteristics to describe those who follow nationalistic sentiment: obsession, instability and indifference to reality.

  9. Lobbying spending by the defense industry has averaged over $126 million yearly over the past 5 years.

    It has risen dramatically since the Great Recession.
    Between 1998-2005 it averaged about $80 million/yr.
    In 2008 it spiked to over $153 million.


    Revenues of the largest defense contractors have risen with increased lobby spending.

    The largest defense contractors are largely owned by the same largest money-management/investment firms.




    Direct lobbying is only one method of influence peddling.
    Another effective method is utilizing “news”, using journalism to promulgate narratives.
    Even “indie” outlets, which are often reliant on corporate media for their own stories/topics, thus follow these narratives.

    The largest media organizations are similarly owned by the same cartel of largest money-management/investment firms.

    Fox News is owned by Disney:

    CNN is owned by AT&T:

    MSNBC is owned by Comcast:

    The mass media is also highly effective at driving/influencing public opinion.

    Follow this ownership scheme, follow the money, and you can perhaps better understand why the media is so critical of the proposed U.S. Syrian withdrawal.

    Interestingly, most politicians in both Chambers are financed by, lobbyied by, and invested in this same cartel of money-management/investment firms (either directly or thru their held corporate assets).

    This is the reality behind politics, and public policy.

    Suggested reads:
    National Security & Double Government – Michael Glennon

    A Republic No More – Jay Cost

  10. You’re confusing the fascist, anti-immigrant bigots that are part of the “nationalist” movements in places like Austria and the US, and indigenous groups like the Palestinians, Israelis and Kurds, who have had carrying degrees of success building nations in their indigenous territories.

    I imagine the Jews in Israel, like the Kurds, would have a lot to say about your attempts to link them to American Skinheads.

  11. I think even a geopolitical novice would agree that out of all our options, handing Syria over to Russia and our allies over to the Turks would rank among the dumbest.

    Right Comrade?

  12. I believe the most powerful country on the planet has a moral obligation to stop the mass killing of civilians when we can, and don’t believe isolationism is a worthwhile excuse to believe otherwise.

    I certainly support your right to feel differently if you do.

    I happen to disagree with a huge percentage of the American geopolitical footprint, including the support for modern Israeli apartheid, but there’s no reason to tell Rwandans or Kurds to go screw themselves just because of Republican foreign policy blunders that are completely unrelated.

    Not even close enough to be apples and oranges…more like doughnuts and oil drums.

  13. and there it is. The brainwashed Neo-liberal mind a in it’s basest form. Being told the Syrian war was started by the CIA, being given the exact name of the operation, knowing full well the history of failed US wars that killed Millions of people, none of that matters.
    If you question or criticize any of it, your a ‘Comrade”, a ” Russian Stooge”, and ” Assad apologist” etc.
    Felt so good to hear Tulsi Gabbard call out the ” Despicable” media who push this. hopefully enough people agree so we can change the narrative that Jay has internalized.
    Oh and about Israel, which you keep drumming for. When our government starts worrying about the american people and their suffering, and not worrying about AIPAC lobbying cash, then we can “worry” about Israel. 2nd most powerful air force in the world, i think they’re going to be ok. They can safely continue the Sniper shooting of children, Journalists, and the medics in Gaza who rush in to help them .

  14. That makes no sense, but the false equivalency BS never does. If they’re all the same, how can you explain the policy differences? How do you explain the Republican war on investigative journalists? If they’re all in the same team, why all the conflict?

    Doesn’t make a lot of sense when you point those things out.

    That’s going to keep coming up until someone has an answer for it. All the tinfoil conspiracy theories in the world aren’t going to make that those pesky policy differences go away.

    By the way…lobbying revenues and defense spending aren’t linked….as Obama proved…according to your own numbers.

  15. Why in the world would I be “brainwashed” for not believing a moonbeam tinfoil hat conspiracy about the Syrian civil war being started in 2014 by the CIA? When do you think Assad starting dropping barrel bombs on children? I’m not trying to be cruel, but that’s so incorrect it’s silly.

    For the record, I’m all for ending our support for Israel and Israeli apartheid. Full stop. Not sure why you assumed otherwise. At one point they needed support after WW2, but their actions under Republican-aligned governments for half a century have been deplorable. Can you imagine the world turning their backs on them in ’46 though?

    Maybe I’m being confusing. Allow me to restate it another way. You can believe that the U.S. has no moral obligation to prevent crimes against humanity, that’s your right, but our Democratic led support for folks like the Palestinians and the Kurds are principled stances that are in no way related to Republican snafus in the region related to Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc.

    Trying to link them as an excuse to sit on the sidelines while kids are massacred continues to be a logical fallacy.

    It’s because their not equivalent. You could almost say they represent a false equivalency.

    Running in to that a lot these days.

  16. well I am surprised really, was fully expecting an “anti semite” accusation from you for calling out the Apartheid State of Israel.
    The Syrian Civil war was a CIA operation, there’s no Tin foil hat;s involved. I twice have posted ,GAVE you the name of the CIA operation that started it , There were 75 plane-loads of weapons flown in to the The Jihadi insurgency. It was paid for by Saudi Arabia and Quatar , Many weapons were purchased from Croatia, and delivered using USAF C117’s to Jordan and Turkey. Then trucked across the border . This is not a secret, there were even articles in the NYT. If your too lazy to read about it then at least stop repeating the endless ” genocide” nonsense. Does it not bother you that ever regime change operation always starts with a Genocide that is never shown or proven?
    Yes, once the civil war starts it is terrible and brutal, but WE started it.

  17. Have you ever heard of the Sequester? Which party stopped whom from unilaterally cutting defense spending?

    I’m all for it. We can cut ten percent of our defense spending and not even flinch geopolitically.

    But then Republicans would whine about “gutting the military” and “making us less safe”.

    Btw…why do the history books list the 15th of March in 2011 as the start date of the civil war of the CIA started it in 2014 with the help of Elvis? Is Random House in on it too?

    Come on man…Google some of this stuff.

    The dems don’t have to be perfect to be the far better pragmatic choice.

  18. Do you understand the difference between civil unrest , even one involving violent protests and violent reactions from the government, and full blown civil war?
    in 2011 we saw incidents like this
    “On 20 March 2011, a mob burned down the Ba’ath Party headquarters and other public buildings. Security forces quickly responded, firing live ammunition at crowds, and attacking the focal points of the demonstrations. The two-day assault resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and fifteen protesters”
    then this
    “Timber Sycamore was a classified weapons supply and training program run by the United States Central Intelligence Agency and supported by Arab intelligence services, such as the security service in Saudi Arabia. Launched in 2012 or 2013, it supplied money, weaponry and training to rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War.”
    We can debate who or why civil unrest erupted, they regularly happen all over the globe , How and why a full blown Civil war broke out is is obvious as a “search engine” result . The Civil war required hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and training that didn’t just fall out of the sky. If you want to cling to the idea that the US just helps oppressed people trying to be free your welcomed to your delusions. Non one in this thread believes it and no one outside of the Corporate media bubble consumers believe it either.
    Wesley Clark laid out the agenda in 2007, his exact words ““We’re Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran..””
    Notice he didn’t say ” We’re going to spread Democracy in 5 years” because he’s not a fool . He knows we not tolerate but set-up brutal regimes as long as they are CIA client states and do Washington’s bidding.

  19. So…McFly…did you just pop in front an alternate timeline or are you kidding me here?

    Why do I get a completely different story about when the civil war in Syria started, when I simply Google “when did the civil war in Syria begin and why?

    Is Google in on it too?

    Maybe you also missed the part about the brutal dictator in Syria who was butchering civilians because of their opposition sentiment to his regime and support for a free and valid vote…which was significantly different than the dictatorship Assad inherited from his father.

    And hey…news flash…the US has a moral obligation to support the opposition of dictatorships committing ethnic cleansing…or do you disagree?

    If you think Assad has the right to cling to illegitimate power through violent means like the leaders of Russia and Saudi Arabia, I’m all ears….but let’s leave the isolationist windmills at home.

    Again since you keep bringing up Iraq and Afghanistan…the kind of stances we’ve taken on behalf of the Kurds and Palestinians, in no way relate to the failed Conservative campaigns in much of the middle east. You can’t wiggle off that hook no matter how many times you try.

    The false equivalency stands.

    The policies are demonstrably different.

  20. I will say DM, that at least you’re thinking. Paying attention. It’s good for the country to have more folks having these discussions.

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