By James LaPorta On 1/10/19
President Donald Trump wants to bring Americans home again. Seventeen years after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. troops are currently engaged in seven countries under outdated legislation, and the commander in chief has suggested that two of those open-ended wars may be closing.
Ignoring officials’ advice, he declared victory over the undefeated Islamic State group (ISIS) last month and ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. He also significantly cut American forces in Afghanistan by instructing the Pentagon to rotate home 7,000 service members in early 2019.
Like George W. Bush declaring “Mission Accomplished,” Trump has asserted that American forces will come home under a banner of victory. He argued on Twitter that if his predecessors brought troops home and crippled militant extremists, they would have been hailed as national heroes.
Growing public fatigue with endless wars was a significant factor in Trump’s election, research suggests. Voters are frustrated with foreign policies that commit U.S. troops and money but lack a clear definition of victory—with no exit strategy, in other words. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate and normally a scorching Trump critic, has told reporters she agreed with him on withdrawing from Syria and Afghanistan. And the military—that 1 percent of U.S. citizens who bear the burden—doesn’t disagree. Current and former Pentagon officials tell Newsweek that Trump isn’t wrong to want an end to those wars and that the president has a point that some of the criticism he has received is unfair.