The Family Research Council held its yearly vilefest, the Values Voter Summit last weekend. It was as it always is - full of whining about being persecuted simply because women make their own health choices or the LGBTQ community has gained more rights. The tone was a bit more boastful this year. FRC and conservative evangelicals are reaping some benefits with Trump in the White House, even if they have to ignore certain things, such as Trump's lies, his incompetence, his corruption, and particularly his betrayal of the Kurdish people in the Middle East.
. . . President Donald Trump ordered all U.S. troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos.
The shift could lead to clashes between Turkey and Syria and raises the specter of a resurgent Islamic State group as the U.S. relinquishes any remaining influence in northern Syria to President Bashar Assad and his chief backer, Russia.
Adding to the turmoil Sunday, hundreds of Islamic State families and supporters escaped from a holding camp in Syria amid the fighting between Turkish forces and the Kurds.
The fast-deteriorating situation was set in motion last week, when Trump ordered U.S. troops in northern Syria to step aside, clearing the way for an attack by Turkey, which regards the Kurds as terrorists. Since 2014, the Kurds have fought alongside the U.S. in defeating the Islamic State in Syria, and Trump’s move was decried at home and abroad as a betrayal of an ally.
When Trump initially did this, many conservative evangelicals groups, including FRC, spoke out against his action. Some in the media speculated that he could lose their support.
On Saturday, as Trump spoke at FRC's event and made platitudes of how the United States "worships God instead of government" "America will never be a socialist country," and spun stories about "indoctrination of children" (that's about us LGBTQ folks) and spouted whatever other phrases designed to send religious conservatives into egotistical orgasmic frenzies, what he did in with regards to the Middle East seemed to have been forgiven. Or conveniently forgotten.
The sad irony is that when he was speaking to conservative evangelicals on Saturday night and while they were shouting "four more years" or anointing him as a "pro-life defender of Christianity," the Turkish army was benefiting from Trump's withdrawal of troops there by massacring Syrian civilians and Kurdish people. According to Mediaite:
A new report out of Syria has described the horrific impact of Turkey’s military operation in the northern countryside, which continues to endanger Syrian civilians and U.S.-allied Kurdish forces. Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst outlined a grim situation on Sunday when he reported that “there’s evidence today of war crimes being committed, civilians being targeted, and ISIS prisoners escaping.” Yingst said he couldn’t show these events, calling them “too graphic,” but he noted that these developments took place as Donald Trump’s administration withdrew American forces “meant to deter” Turkey from their incursion into the region.
And then there is this account from The Telegraph:
Kurdish officials said rebel fighters intercepted a car carrying Hevrin Khalaf, a Kurdish political leader with Future Syria Party, and murdered her along with her driver and an aide. “She was taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions,” the Syrian Democratic Council said in a statement.
. . . The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, said the rebels had killed at least eight other civilians as they advanced towards the strategic M4 motorway with the support of Turkish airpower. Another video appears to show several Arabic-speaking fighters shooting an unarmed man on the side of a road. “God is great,” cries one man in the video, before urging a comrade to film him shooting the corpse with a sniper rifle.
And speaking of escapees of the ISIS terrorist group, according to Axios:
Syrian Kurdish officials on Sunday said clashes near Ain Issa, a key Kurdish-held town in northern Syria, allowed 950 Islamic State, or ISIS, supporters to escape from a camp for displaced people near a U.S.-led coalition base, AP reports.
Why it matters: One of the fears stemming from President Trump's withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria was that a Turkish assault would force Kurdish forces to desert the prison camps where about 12,000 ISIS fighters and their families are being held.
Details: The Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria said in a statement that the supporters escaped after they attacked camp guards and stormed the gates, per AP, which said it was not immediately possible to confirm the number of escapees.
What they're saying: A U.S. military official told AP that northeastern Syria was “deteriorating rapidly” and that U.S. troops on the ground are at risk of being “isolated” and of clashing with Turkey-backed Syrian forces.
All of this is Trump's doing - the actions of an incompetent moron who has less business in the White House than a deceased, rotting jackass does at Harvard. But hey, I'm sure none of this is important to conservative evangelicals or groups like the Family Research Council. As long as they have more access to the Trump Administration than anyone else and thus more power to make or initiate policy, what's a few dead brown people in a region they've probably never been to or probably couldn't point to on a map.
And I'm sure that if they become the subject of any criticism, they have a game plan:
Have a fawning interview with Fox and Friends, Jeanine Pirro, Shannon Bream or Sean Hannity; publish something in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller or The Federalist; let Tucker Carlson do misleading monologue; or create a false panic about progressives on Twitter and this latest awful action by Trump is excused away. Then we all can talk about more important such as keeping gay couples from getting cakes and flowers for their upcoming weddings.
Last year, FRC president Tony Perkins said Donald Trump should be given a pass by conservative evangelicals on his negative past behavior, such as his affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, because he is giving them what they want in regards to policy. Perkins called this pass a "mulligan."
On Saturday, we learned that the Family Research Council and conservative evangelicals in general are willing to give Trump a mulligan for causing genocide.
I guess they don't consider preventing genocide as a value they should be concerned about.