Walden votes against Trump’s policy on Kurds

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) talks during a town hall meeting in Vale last summer. Walden voted last week against President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria. (The Enterprise/File).

VALE – Oregon’s longtime Republican Congressman joined a large majority of others in supporting a resolution last week rebuking President Donald Trump’s move to pull U.S. troops from Syria.

Two-thirds of Republican lawmakers in the House voted to support the measure last week, including Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River).

The resolution demanded Turkey end its offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria and urged the U.S. to protect the Kurds and help Kurdish towns under attack.

The House vote was 354-60 to support the resolution.

The vote is significant because House Republicans have been reluctant to openly oppose the president’s policies.

President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. soldiers from the Turkish border in Syria paved the way for the Turks to launch an offensive against Kurdish forces. For the past several years, Kurdish forces joined U.S. troops in the fight to expel Islamic State terrorists from northern Syria.

Walden said in a statement that the U.S. abandoned solid allies in a volatile region.

“We let them down by standing aside in Syria and giving Turkey the opening to go on the attack,” said Walden.

The president said last week that the Kurds were “not angels” and that his move to pull out U.S. troops was “strategically brilliant.”

The decision, though, ignited criticism not just from American lawmakers but from former military leaders and strategists. Some raised concerns the pullout opened the way for Russia to extend its influence in the region. Russia is a longtime ally of Syria and in the past furnished advisors, military aircraft and troops.

Last week, Russian troops began to occupy former U.S. outposts in the border region.

“The Kurds have fought side-by-side with American troops against ISIS and other bad actors in the region. It’s wrong to turn out back on those who trusted us. This decision only benefits bad actors and threatens our nation’s security interests,” Walden said.

The Kurds and Turkey are locked in a low-level guerilla war that began in the mid-1980s. A variety of different Kurdish insurgent groups are fighting to break free of Turkey’s influence and to develop an independent nation of Kurdistan.

News tip? Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

 SUBSCRIBE TO HELP PRODUCE VITAL REPORTING — For $5 a month, you get breaking news alerts, emailed newsletters and around-the-clock access to our stories. We depend on subscribers to pay for in-depth, accurate news produced by a professional and highly trained staff. Help us grow and get better with your subscription. Sign up HERE.