Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah thinks that the U.S. needs to keep troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, stating that even after 20 years of a military presence there, “conditions for withdrawal have not been met.”
“The decision to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and potentially elsewhere should not be based on a U.S. political calendar,” Romney said in a statement. “The Administration has yet to explain why reducing troops in Afghanistan—where conditions for withdrawal have not been met—is a wise decision for our national security interests in the region.”
Decisions regarding troops levels in Afghanistan and Iraq should be based on our national security interests, not politics. The Administration should reverse proposed troop withdrawals. https://t.co/KJGfj6dW5Y
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) November 17, 2020
Romney’s statement follows the Pentagon’s announcement to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from the Middle East, specifically Afghanistan and Iraq, by the beginning of 2021.
Previously, President Donald J. Trump announced that he wanted all of the troops stationed in Afghanistan to come back to the U.S. by Christmas.
“We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!” he wrote.
We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
Despite the thousands of troops stationed in the area for the last two decades, Romney says that removing them would pose a threat to national security.
“Similarly, with continued security challenges in the Middle East, an arbitrary withdrawal from Iraq risks alienating our allies and emboldening our enemies,” he added. “At a time when our adversaries are looking for every opportunity to exploit our weaknesses, the Administration should reconsider and reverse this politically-motivated decision and avoid worsening our national security challenges.”
Romney, who is historically pro-war, has never served in the military, even avoiding the draft for the Vietnam War by claiming exemption as an undergraduate student at Stanford University, a Mormon missionary, and then an undergraduate student again at Brigham Young University.
The senator also came under fire in 2007 during his presidential campaign for saying that his sons, none of whom joined the military either, were serving their country by “helping me get elected.”
“The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that’s the way we’re going to keep it,” Romney said. “My sons are all adults and they’ve made decisions about their careers and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard.”
“One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president,” he added.
Mitt Romney, who compared his sons’ political campaign work to military service, claims it’s in our national security interest to keep sending American sons and fathers to die in Afghanistan for a 20-year-old war w/ no victory definition or exit strategy. https://t.co/nMQtf9tSHV
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 18, 2020