Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) supports withdrawing American troops from military engagements in Syria and Afghanistan, she told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night.
Warren, who announced an exploratory committee this week for a presidential run in 2020, made the comments when asked for her views on President Donald Trump’s recent decision to pull all U.S. military personnel out of Syria.
“I think it is right to get our troops out of Syria ― and let me add, I think it’s right to get our troops out of Afghanistan,” Warren said.
“I think that everybody who keeps saying, ‘No, no, no, we can’t do that,’ in the defense establishment needs to explain what they think winning in those wars [looks] like and where the metrics are,” the senator said.
But Warren disagreed with Trump’s abrupt announcement of his decision on Syria, saying that policy shouldn’t be conducted via Twitter.
“We actually need to plan this out and talk about it with our allies, how we ensure more safety and stability in the region,” she said.
Trump tweeted late last month that the U.S. had defeated the Islamic State militant group in Syria ― a claim experts reject ― and that it was time for American troops to come home. The announcement sparked immediate backlash from military and intelligence officials, including the resignations of Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, and Brett McGurk, the U.S. special envoy to the coalition to fight ISIS.
The United States has around 2,000 military personnel in Syria, where they have supported Kurdish militia forces in retaking territory seized by ISIS. The presence of U.S. troops is also a counterbalance to Russian and Iranian forces, which have propped up Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s regime.
The U.S. has around 14,000 troops in Afghanistan and is in its 18th year of military intervention there. Last month, Trump ordered the gradual withdrawal of 7,000 of those forces.
In her MSNBC interview, Warren said she rejected the “foreign policy establishment” view that U.S. forces should “stay forever” in Afghanistan, arguing that the prolonged American presence in that country hasn’t resulted in lasting security or stability.
“We’re now 17 years in Afghanistan and … the [Afghan] government controls less than 60 percent of all the land,” Warren said. “It doesn’t have the support of the people. The heroin trafficking is up. There are multiple groups that are terrorist groups throughout Afghanistan.”
Warren is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the highest-profile Democrat to formally announce a potential bid for president.