Murkowski Responds to Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Syria

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released the following statement in reaction to an announcement that the United States will remove all U.S. troops from Syria, including 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. Senator Murkowski’s statement also follows the announcement of the resignation of James N. Mattis as Secretary of Defense:

“Secretary Mattis is a strong, respected leader with a wealth of knowledge about the issues and challenges facing our national security. He has consistently been forward thinking, focused, and clear minded. He restored critical gaps in our nation’s defense budget that stood in the way of desperately needed modernization. The departure of Secretary James Mattis leaves a big hole in the cabinet leadership. His resignation letter showed tremendous courage. I thank Secretary Mattis for his leadership and service to our nation.

“While I do not support American troops being stationed in Syria indefinitely, I find the administration’s abrupt withdrawal troubling and shortsighted.  ISIS was waiting for a power vacuum to fill, and we are handing them exactly that. This action will also empower Iran, and the absence of U.S. forces in the area potentially opens a path for Iranian fighters and their proxies to launch attacks on Israel. We are also abandoning our longest ally in the region – the Kurds. I am equally alarmed by reports of an abrupt reduction in forces from Afghanistan where Alaskans have fought and died. Our nation has benefited from the wise and sober viewpoints expressed by General Kelly and General Mattis, both of whom are unfortunately leaving the White House. My advice to the President is that he reconsider the Syrian withdrawal, and take a pause in bold shifts in our military posture as he gets his new senior military team in place.”