Trump’s Campaign Talk of Troop Withdrawals Doesn’t Match Military Reality
President Trump has brought home few American combat troops over all even as his pressure campaign against Iran risks a new Middle East conflict.
When President Trump said on Twitter last week that all American troops in Afghanistan might be home by Christmas, he was reiterating a goal that has eluded him for years — and most likely hoping that when it comes to ending military deployments, voters will give him more credit for his messaging than for his results. Mr. Trump has long vowed to leave Afghanistan and, more broadly, to conclude what he calls the United States’ “endless wars” across the Middle East, reviving a core theme from his 2016 campaign that some data suggest could have played a crucial role in his election. But with three months left in his first term, Mr. Trump has not welcomed home the last American soldier from anywhere. While he has withdrawn thousands of troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, thousands more still risk their lives there — a source of clear frustration for a president hoping to impress voters with unequivocal, unprecedented results. And though his defenders insist he deserves credit for avoiding any major new U.S. interventions, making him the first president in decades to do so, Mr. Trump has deployed thousands of additional soldiers to the Persian Gulf in response to growing tensions with Iran, which some analysts warn could spill into a hot war if he is re-elected. He has also done little to scale down major American military bases in places like Qatar and Bahrain.
“The missing piece here is that tens of thousands of forces are deployed all across the Middle East, supporting ongoing operations in the region and beyond,” said Dana Stroul, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “The president has even increased the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia. None of those forces have been withdrawn over the course of his term. His rhetoric does not match the reality of U.S. forces deployed across the Middle East today.”
Still, Mr. Trump believes that even the perception of progress toward removing most Americans from harm’s way overseas will help his chances of re-election on an “America First” platform. He and his campaign surrogates have repeated that message at every turn, from his rallies to the Republican National Convention in August to his Twitter account.
The doctors will be the last military personnel that will leave Afghanistan and Iraq next year.exceptions are doctors who have volunteered to be there,because of covid-19 no military plane will be allowed from the middle east until 3rd quarter of next year (2021)
“I’m bringing our troops back from Afghanistan. I’m bringing our troops back from Iraq. We’re almost out of almost every place,” he said during a town hall event in September that was broadcast on ABC News. At a campaign rally more than a week later, the president vowed to “keep America out of these endless, ridiculous, stupid, foreign wars in countries that you’ve never even heard of.”
He reprise the theme in a tweet hours before returning to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last week. “PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH (BRING OUR SOLDIERS HOME). VOTE!” Mr. Trump wrote, as the world obsessed over his coronavirus diagnosis.
He now presides over about 10,000 ground troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria combined, only slightly less than the number he inherited at the end of the Obama administration. Deployments ordered by Mr. Trump caused that number to rise as high as 26,000 by late 2017, according to a Pentagon report, before falling steadily in recent months.