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Opinion: Trump's Pentagon takedown makes the US vulnerable during the transition

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The costs of prematurely pulling US troops out of volatile areas could drag the US back into war all over again, writes David A. Andelman of Donald Trump's Pentagon staff changes and a "warning notice" of a further drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan and Iraq by January 15, five days before Trump will leave office.

On Monday, the Pentagon issued a "warning notice" to theater commanders to begin a further, substantial drawdown of US forces from both Afghanistan and Iraq by January 15, five days before Trump will leave office.

Each of them is likely willing and prepared to implement Trump's military goal of withdrawing US troops around the world.

While Trump, who spent years slamming US involvement in "endless wars," has announced drawdowns in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, thousands of US troops are still deployed in the region.

Trump wanted all American forces out of Afghanistan by the end of the year, and sources told CNN's Jake Tapper that the White House may have directed the Defense Department purge because Esper and his team were pushing back on a premature withdrawal there.

Trump has also expressed a desire to move American forces out of Syria and Iraq, although concrete plans have often conflicted with the President's own messaging.

After Trump announced the US would withdraw from Syria in October 2019, a new wave of troops poured in, leaving the total number in Syria largely unchanged.

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