Afghanistan and Iraq Drawdowns Are Overdue But Insufficient

From Defense Priorities:

Today, CNN reported President Trump will announce a drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, reducing our presence to 2,500 by January 15, 2021. Defense Priorities Policy Director Benjamin H. Friedman issued the following statement in response:

“Reducing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 would be progress, but the drawdown should continue to zero. Full withdrawal should be as orderly and deliberate as possible—but not to the point of needless delay.

“Leaving permanent U.S. forces behind in Afghanistan or Iraq would be a mistake. Small numbers of forces, whether labeled as counterterrorism or not, are no magic bullet. They would likely continue the wars’ failure on a smaller scale, preserve their risk, and cause observers to confuse local threats with international terrorism.

“Intelligence gathering with local help, and targeted raids, if necessary, are more effective and can be done from afar with the U.S. military’s ISR-Strike capabilities.”