Schumer Floor Remarks Demanding Answers From Trump Administration On Increased Deployment Of U.S. Troops In Middle East

January 8, 2020

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Trump administration’s reckless foreign policy. He also called on the Trump administration to detail the deployment of U.S. troops to the Middle East through regular congressional briefings and documents, following the airstrike that Iran launched yesterday at U.S. and coalition forces’ installations in the region. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks,  which can also be viewed here:

Last night, the Department of Defense confirmed reports that Iran launched missiles at a number of our installations in Iraq that housed U.S. and coalition forces. As details continue to emerge, it appears that there have been no casualties. We commend the professionalism and bravery of our service members and other personnel in harm’s way.

And while we are thankful that there were no casualties and while we are thankful for the safety of American forces and personnel in the region, I condemn the attack by the Iranian government and remain concerned about the risk of further escalation of hostilities in the Middle East.

Now more than ever, the United States must be clear-headed and sure-footed about what comes next. The American people do not want a war with Iran, and the president does not have the authority to wage one.

Yesterday, we learned that the president had ordered the deployment of at least as many as 4,500 soldiers to the region, potentially more. Beyond Iraq, the United States military now has more than 70,000 troops in the Middle East, from Kuwait to Qatar to Afghanistan to the UAE to Saudi Arabia, to Jordan, Oman and Bahrain.

The president has promised to get the United States out of these forever wars in the Middle East, but the arrow is headed in the wrong direction.

How many more is it going to be? How long will they remain abroad? What is their objective? How will we assure their safety? Will more be deployed in the weeks and months ahead?

These are urgent questions. The administration must answer them. But so far, there has been a profound lack of information provided to Congress from the Department of Defense concerning what the Department is doing in response to Iran.

So I joined Senators Reed and Durbin in requesting regular briefings and documents from the administration detailing the number of troops the president has deployed and plans to deploy in support of contingency plans with respect to Iran. We need to know if the administration is committing additional troops to the region and for how long.

Our letter urges the administration to clarify to the American people and our military that international law prohibits the deliberate targeting of cultural sites and that such an order would be unlawful and should not be followed.

The American people, rightfully, have serious concerns about a war with Iran and whether we are safer today because of this president’s foreign policy, which is so often impulsive and erratic. I am afraid that these impulsive and erratic actions throughout the world are making us less safe.

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