White House to Announce Further Troop Withdrawals From Iraq

September 9, 2020 Updated: September 9, 2020

The White House will announce on Wednesday an order for further troop withdrawals from Iraq, a senior administration official told reporters aboard Air Force One. The official added that an announcement about Afghanistan is also forthcoming.

The United States and Iraq began discussing the partial withdrawal of U.S. troops in December 2019. An escalation of tensions with Iran added a twist to the process in January 2020, when the Iraqi Council of Representatives voted for a resolution to expel all foreign troops. President Trump initially refused to withdraw troops from Iraq.

By March 2020, the U.S.-led coalition cited developments in the mission to eradicate the ISIS terrorist group, began to transfer bases back to Iraq. Four bases were transferred by early April.

In June, the United State and Iraq began virtual negotiations about the withdrawal, which were expected to last for months.

U.S. troops withdrew from the Taji Base on August 23. Roughly a week later, a U.S. official said that Washington would draw down troops from 5,200 to 3,500.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday reaffirmed his commitment to put an end to America’s endless wars. He also suggested that the chiefs at Pentagon are beholden to weapons manufacturers who profit from constant conflict.

“I’m not saying the military is in love with me; the soldiers are,” the president said during a Labor Day speech at the White House. “The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

“But we’re getting out of the endless wars,” the president added.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a Labor Day press conference at the North Portico of the White House in Washington, on Sept. 7, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The president was likely referring to the revolving door between the Department of Defense (DoD) and private armaments manufacturers. A 2018 report by the Project on Government Oversight, found that 380 senior DoD officials and officers shifted into private-sector work for defense contractors. The tally included 25 generals, nine admirals, 43 lieutenant generals, and 23 vice admirals.

Later on Labor Day, Trump shared a number of posts featuring President Dwight Eisenhower’s final speech, which he devoted to warning the nation about the unchecked growth of the U.S. weapons industry.

“We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations,” Eisenhower said at the time.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.”

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