Democratic presidential candidates on Tuesday night held a debate in Ohio in which they blasted US President Donald Trump over his withdrawal of US forces from northern Syria.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) became the first candidate to mention Israel in a debate, doing so in the context of the Syria withdrawal.
“Think about our other allies, Israel. How do they feel right now? Donald Trump is not true to his word when they are a beacon of democracy in the Mideast,” she said.
She described the withdrawal from Syria as an “outrageous thing”, adding, “think we need to talk about this not only in terms of the horror of what happened here with Turkey, but the fact that our president blew it and now he's too proud to say it.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden charged, “We have an erratic, crazy president who knows not a damn thing about foreign policy and operates out of fear for his own reelection.”
The troop withdrawal was "the most shameful thing any president has done in modern history in terms of foreign policy," he added.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said that "the slaughter going on in Syria is not the consequence of American presence, it is the consequence of American withdrawal and betrayal.”
“I didn't think we should have gone to Iraq in the first place. I think we need to get out of Afghanistan. But it's also the case that a small number of specialized special forces and the intelligence capabilities were the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what we're seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS," he added.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said that she does not think the US should have troops in the Middle East but “we should do it in the right way," she added.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) blamed the Turkish government for "mass slaughter" of Kurdish forces and civilians and asserted that Turkey was no longer an ally of the United States.
Trump, continued Sanders, had “wrecked America's ability to do foreign policy" by reversing US foreign policy on a whim and refusing to protect the Kurds who have been an ally of the US in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) suggested the move would strengthen Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We cannot allow the Russians to continue to grow in influence by growing on the world stage. This president time and time again is showing moral weakness," charged Booker.
Turkish soldiers last Wednesday launched a cross-border assault against Kurdish fighters Turkey sees as terrorists.
The operation was launched three days after Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of US forces in northeastern Syria, leading to some accusations that Trump’s move was an authorization for Turkey to invade the region.