GOP lawmakers praise Trump’s plan to cut US troops in Iraq as critics voice concerns

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Donald Trump plans to bring the number of United States troops in Iraq down to 3,000 this month as part of his campaign promise to end “endless wars.”

Critics of the plan are raising some concerns, but some lawmakers are voicing their approval of the president’s move.

“I want to withdraw our forces, but I want to do it responsibly,” Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said.

Graham said he supports President Trump’s decision to scale back the number of troops in Iraq.

“You have other nations helping Iraq, not just us,” Graham added.

The plan would withdraw more than 2,000 troops from the region this month. President Trump campaigned on the promise of ending what he called “endless wars.”

“I don’t think any of us believe that we ought to be in wars for decades,” Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott said.

Scott also supports the drawdown and hopes more troops can return home from the Middle East in the future.

“I’m hopeful that Iraq and other counties will figure out how to defend their democracies on their own,” Scott added.

Despite the support, one national security expert in Washington says the drawdown comes with drawbacks.

“The main concern is that he’s just doing this to fulfill sort of a campaign pledge and not really produce stability inside of Iraq,” Brian Katulis with the Center for American Progress said.

Katulis said removing forces can leave space for terrorist groups to move in.

“The threat of ISIS or Daesh has actually resurged a bit and in some ways, the withdrawal actually continues this process of opening the door to Iran,” Katulis added.

Katulis said peace talks like what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is having with Taliban leaders and Afghan officials is a better move in the long run. Pompeo is hopeful all troops can return from Afghanistan by spring 2021.

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