By Cameron Stuart | Radio Director
President Donald Trump doubled down on his claim to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan and Syria on CBS’s “Facing the Nation” program on Sunday, backing up a claim he made via Twitter on Friday, saying it is time for the troops to “start coming home.”
U.S. troops have been occupying Afghanistan since Oct. 2001, just a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks and became directly involved in the Syrian Civil War since April of 2017 — three months into Trump’s presidential tenure. St. Louis senior and former Air Force ROTC member Griffen Henderson cites time as a potentially critical factor in the decision.
“It’s crazy that we’ve been there so long that kids born after 9/11 can get sent to Afghanistan,” Henderson said. “That region is a lot more unstable than I think people realize, and it could take decades to make it a real democracy.”
Jim Mattis, a revered former marine and Trump’s defense secretary resigned in December, the same day President Trump initially went public with his intent to pull American troops from Afghanistan and Syria. Mattis even tried to change the President’s mind about withdrawing roughly 2,000 troops just before he handed over his resignation letter.
Oakland, Calif., senior Ryan Reynolds served in the army from 2009 to 2013 and will be pursuing a doctorate in military history upon graduation. Reynolds believes this was the a misstep in Trump’s plan.
“That resignation was huge, General Mattis is one of the greatest military minds of the modern age,” Reynolds said. “I don’t think his views really aligned with President Trump, and I don’t think I really know what kind of military direction we’re going to take now.”
Pulling the troops from Afghanistan and Syria also creates a safety issue for some of the country’s residents, especially Kurdish people not only in Iraq but also in Syria, who are American allies, according to USA Today. The VETS (Veterans Educational and Transition Services) program manager Kevin Davis served in the Marines from 2003 to 2007. He not only served in Iraq, but Davis also traveled back to the Kurdish region of Iraq as a civilian with a human rights group last summer.
“I think this decision is pretty destructive to our interests and the interests of our allies in the area,” Davis said. “The immediate pulling out of troops and to announce it on social media seems pretty destructive to me.”
Davis also believes that helping the Kurdish people in the Middle East will have a direct effect on life and morale in the United States.
“I’m all for this war ending, I fought in it, but also when you leave a place like that you leave a vacuum for powerful forces,” Davis said. “There can be a lot of bloodshed that we leave with that and, ultimately, stability over there means stability over here.”
Trump has recognized that U.S. troops have made “tremendous progress” against ISIS, according to his Twitter page. Trump is planning to pull up 7,000 troops from Afghanistan and Syria.
The Senate voted down the measure 70 to 26 on Monday, with an amendment sponsored by Mitch McConnell, the senate majority leader.