Attention is on President Trump’s failed health care plan and possible ties to Russia. But U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., says the Trump administration is quietly sending hundreds of new troops to Syria. Murphy took issue with the troop increase in an op-ed for the Huffington Post and the Hartford Courant.
Troops are going behind enemy lines to try to retake Raqqa, the city that serves as the capital of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate. U.S. military officials told several news outlets about the increase. But Murphy, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says no one told lawmakers. He says that makes it look like the Trump administration tried to hide it.
“I think it’s extraordinary that the Trump administration didn’t alert Congress. That we found out about this from news reports. These are men and women from our states, right? These are our neighbors that are asked to go fight for the U.S.”
Military officials said up to 500 troops have been deployed, and there are plans to send an additional thousand troops some time after this. Murphy says that could turn Syria into the next Iraq.
“We are not very good at employing U.S. troops for short-term military engagements without bogging us down. The American public thought we were going in to take out Saddam Hussein, to take out a Taliban-friendly government in Afghanistan, and we still haven’t left, more than a decade later. I don’t want to repeat the same mistake in Syria.”
Murphy said he was also opposed to troop increases under President Barack Obama. He has said the U.S. should focus on diplomatic and political solutions for Syria before it increases military action.