Donald Trump's decision to withdraw a small number of U.S. troops from Syria has drawn criticism from people across the political spectrum, including some of his staunchest supporters like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. While many are attacking the president's purportedly libertarian approach to foreign policy, others, like libertarian-leaning Independent Justin Amash, believe that his approach to Syria is far from non-interventionist.
Despite the backlash, Trump appears to be sticking to his guns, Breitbart reports. In Wednesday's all-caps Twitter thread, the president said that the United States' invasion of the Middle East was the "WORST DECISION EVER MADE" in the history of the country.
Trump noted that the U.S. spent $8 trillion dollars in the wars and security that was necessary afterward, and accused George W. Bush of pushing the country into the Iraq War under the "disproven premise" that the country was holding weapons of mass destruction. He highlighted the "thousands" of U.S. soldiers who have died or been injured and the "millions" who have died on the "other side."
"Now we are slowly & carefully bringing our great soldiers & military home. Our focus is on the BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!" he concluded the thread.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Trump said that — despite opposition from both parties — he will continue to pursue an "end game" in the Middle East.
"And if you stay, it's going to be the same thing. Eventually, you're going to have to leave."Not long after Trump withdrew troops from northeast Syria, Turkey has launched a military offensive in the region, CNN reports. The country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claims that the mission is intended to combat terrorism and says that Turkey will "preserve Syria's territorial integrity" while freeing local communities from terrorists. But a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S. ally in northern Syria, claims that Turkey has begun launching airstrikes on civilian regions, adding that there is a "huge panic" among people living in the area. Before Turkey launched its offensive Wednesday, Syria criticized Turkey's "aggressive behavior" and said that, despite the country's claims, it has "hostile intentions."
According to Trump, his previous threat to "destroy" Turkey's economy was to ensure that the country doesn't take action against the Kurd forces, which critics believe are in danger following Trump's decision to pull troops from Syria. These same U.S.-backed forces were responsible for fighting ISIS extremists.
In a tweet, Bloomberg News State Department reporter Nicholas Wadham revealed that the number of troops removed from Syria was less than 26.