On Wednesday, a resolution to compel the removal of American soldiers from Syria within six months was rejected by the House. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) were two additional conservative members who vehemently supported the resolution, which was sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and defeated 103-321. While 150 Democrats and 171 Republicans opposed the proposal, 56 Democrats and 47 Republicans voted in favor of it.
There are still about 900 American soldiers operating in Syria to combat ISIS. The U.S.-designated terrorist organization still has a presence in Syria and maintains sleeper cells despite having lost a lot of its former territory.
Gaetz said on the House floor that American forces in Syria were imprisoned in a “hellscape” of conflict and foreign interference, and that there was no end in sight to American counterterrorism efforts there. Additionally, the Florida lawmaker said that since ISIS militants in Syria do not pose a significant threat to the United States, the troops should be removed.
We argue frivolities on the floor so frequently. One of the most crucial topics we can discuss is this, according to Gaetz. “How we pour the blood of our bravest patriots… how we utilize the credibility of our fellow Americans. We have spilled enough American blood to cover the Middle Eastern deserts. It’s time to return our service members to their homes.
The bill’s opponents argued that while it was critical to examine American involvement in Syria, leaving the country would endanger Americans by enabling the growth of foreign terrorist organizations like ISIS. Some House members brought up the haphazard pullout of Afghanistan in 2021, which prompted the Taliban’s quick takeover.
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee, said the resolution was “premature” and would leave ally forces “out to dry” even if he does not support a “indefinite” presence in Syria.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who argued that a withdrawal would result in a “far larger, more difficult problem at a higher expense and peril to Americans globally,” backed up that claim.
We shouldn’t have another 9/11, Wilson stated. “Strength is the best way to sustain peace.”
After four American soldiers and one working dog were hurt during a raid in Syria, Gaetz introduced the resolution in February. Later, the requirement for a withdrawal after enactment was changed from 15 to 180 days.
By citing the War Powers Act, which renders the resolution privileged and necessitates quicker congressional action, Gaetz was able to force a vote on the resolution.
Since 2015, or roughly four years after the ongoing civil conflict in Syria originally broke out, the U.S. has conducted counterterrorism operations in the country with ground personnel.
When the United States declared the defeat of ISIS in 2019, the former president Trump, a vocal opponent of American involvement abroad, announced he would withdraw troops from Syria. Nevertheless, he ultimately decided to commit to retaining some forces there.
The U.S. presence in Syria has been preserved under the Biden administration. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, flew to Syria over the weekend and stated that it was essential to safeguard American security and secure the “enduring destruction of ISIS.”
Politicians on the left and the right have expressed disapproval of American involvement in Syria. According to The Intercept, the House Progressive Caucus pushed members to support Gaetz’s motion.
Also on Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved bipartisan legislation to revoke the declarations of war for the 1991 Gulf War and the 2002 Iraq War, both of which are still in effect despite the fact that the respective wars took place decades ago.
Also, the United States has an active Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that has been applied to counterterrorism activities and is intended to be utilized for military action against individuals responsible for the 9/11 attacks.