Rep. Andy Biggs asks Trump to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, Iraq in time for holidays
Rep. Andy Biggs wants President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq before the holidays.
In a letter to Trump dated Wednesday, Biggs, R-Ariz., characterized the service members' exit from the countries a "gift" for the upcoming season.
In the letter, Biggs asks Trump to "look abroad and continue to strategically draw down our nation’s military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Biggs cites the lack of progress in counterterrorism, nation-building efforts and the human and financial cost of the war as reasons to continue the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
"Nation-building doesn’t work, as you immediately recognized upon taking office: Afghanistan and Iraq today are clearly not beacons of democracy, stability, or prosperity, despite the thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars we have sacrificed to try to remake these countries," Biggs said in the letter.
The U.S. has spent or obligated $6.4 trillion dollars on fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan through 2020, according to Brown University. Additionally, at least 800,000 people have been killed by war violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Pakistan, with more than 310,000 civilians being killed since 2001.
Biggs claimed that the Taliban retain control of much of Afghanistan with no change in the situation since 2001. Biggs said that the achievements the U.S. have made in Iraq were not worth the cost.
"Today, Iraq’s government is shaky at best, addicted to continuing foreign assistance, and easily susceptible to pressure from outside actors, especially Iran," he wrote.
Biggs clarified that his comments in the letter were not a criticism of the service members who have served in the Middle East and other overseas engagements.
"Instead, it is an indictment of Washington’s broken foreign policy establishment, which is dominated by arm-chair idealists who never seem to grasp the messy realities on the ground," he wrote.
The U.S. first entered the war in Afghanistan 19 years ago after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In February, the U.S. entered an agreement with the Taliban that sought to reduce the amount of violence in the war and withdraw the remaining U.S. troops by April 2021.
However, in October, Trump tweeted that service members in Afghanistan should be home by Christmas, a sentiment shared by Biggs in his letter.
"I urge you to continue to aggressively pursue these and all other related efforts in the coming weeks," Biggs said in the letter. "What greater gift could we give the American people as we head into the holiday season?"