President Trump to Cut U.S. Troop Presence in Iraq by 42% This Month
The Pentagon announced further troop withdrawals from Iraq today not long after President Donald Trump was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Israel-UAE peace deal.
According to the Associated Press:
The United States is reducing its troop presence in Iraq this month from 5,200 to 3,000, the top American commander for the Middle East said Wednesday, as President Donald Trump tries to make good on his campaign promise to get America out of “endless wars.”
During a visit to Iraq, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said the reduction in Iraq reflects the Trump administration’s confidence in the ability of U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces to handle the militant threat from the Islamic State group, which entered Iraq from Syria in 2014.
This is just Iraq – last month Trump said the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan will resume with the goal of reducing the current number of U.S. troops there from 8,600 to 4,000 before the election. An announcement confirming the exact troop reduction we can expect there is forthcoming.
Earlier in the week President Trump echoed President Dwight Eisenhower’s famous speech on the military industrial complex, telling an audience at a press conference he’s “not saying the military’s in love with me… But the soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t, because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy, but we’re getting out of the endless wars, you know how we’re doing.”
The comment could’ve been a dig at who he believed was behind the recent anonymously sourced discredited hit piece published in The Atlantic alleging that Trump disparaged fallen soldiers.
Of the threats Iraq still faces from ISIS as an insurgent group, General McKenzie said that “The U.S. decision is a clear demonstration of our continued commitment to the ultimate goal, which is an Iraqi security force that is capable of preventing an ISIS resurgence and of securing Iraq’s sovereignty without external assistance. The journey has been difficult, the sacrifice has been great, but the progress has been significant.”
President Trump deserves much credit for expediting ISIS’ demise as a pseudo-state. In just the first year of Trump’s presidency alone ISIS lost 90% of their territory and their claimed capitol cities of Raqqa in Syria and and Mosul in Iraq. A good deal of the progress is owed to U.S. air support – or Trump making good on his promise to “bomb the hell out of ISIS.” It represented quite a divergence from the careful approach that Obama took, who ended up blocking over 75% of requested anti-ISIS airstrikes.