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'Bring Our Troops Home': Matt Gaetz, Rand Paul Repeat Call for Syria Pullout Amid New Attacks

© AFP 2023 / OLIVIER DOULIERYUS Republican Representative of Florida speaks on the House Floor, January 2023.
US Republican Representative of Florida speaks on the House Floor, January 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2023
President Joe Biden warned Friday that Washington would "act forcefully to protect our people" against attacks by "Iranian-backed" groups in Syria, which were blamed for a kamikaze drone attack that killed a US contractor Thursday. A US service member was reportedly injured Friday after attacks on US bases at Syria’s largest oil and gas fields.
A group of anti-interventionist Republicans in the House and Senate have repeated calls for a US pullout from Syria after a fresh round of violence in the war-torn country left a contractor dead, another injured, and up to half a dozen US service members wounded in two days of violence.

"Warmongers in both parties say keeping troops in Syria is necessary to preserve the balance of power. That is simply not true. If they believe that, they should say it directly to the parents of Americans in Syria who have to sleep there tonight and guard oil fields against Iranian drones. We need to bring our troops home," Matt Gaetz wrote in a tweet late Friday.

"It is deeply sad to continue to see Americans killed and troops injured in Syria. This is the price of guarding oil fields in other countries, presumably forever,” Gaetz wrote in a separate tweet.
In a video accompanying Friday’s post of a statement he made on the House floor, Gaetz reiterated that it was "not appropriate to put Americans at risk" in Syria, and said that he was "shocked" that the deployment of US forces had not already caused an “escalatory accident” or more casualties.
“The Kurds have an opportunity to pave their path, let’s pave ours. And if we’re so worried about threats to the homeland, how about we actually focus on our true point of vulnerability, which is not the emergence of some caliphate – it’s the fact that terrorists are crossing our southern border on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. We’ve seen far less concern about that than we undeniably should be,” the lawmaker said.
The al-Tanf military outpost in southern Syria where U.S. Gen. Joseph Votel, top U.S. commander in the Middle East, made an unannounced visit Monday, Oct. 22, 2018.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.03.2023
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Congressman Ben Cline of Virginia signaled his agreement with Gaetz, tweeting that this week’s violence was “EXACTLY why” he “voted to remove the US Armed Forces From Syria and bring our troops home” in Gaetz’s recent House resolution on the issue.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul also brought up the week's violence as evidence of the need to get troops out of the war-torn country. "Bring our troops home from Syria and end every unauthorized war going on today. Return the power to engage in war to Congress. Our service members deserve it. The Constitution demands it," Paul tweeted.
The Senate voted down Paul’s amendment to rescind the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) this week, with just four Republicans, four Democrats, and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, voting to repeal the resolution – which has served as the legal tool allowing the president to dispatch troops abroad without asking Congress for over two decades.
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In mid-March, the House voted down Gaetz’s resolution to withdraw US troops from Syria 321-103, with the Florida congressman and other members of the pro-Trump Freedom Caucus showing a rare display of bipartisan unity alongside members of the Democratic Congressional Progressive Caucus in the vote to bring troops home. Other Republican supporters of the resolution included Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, Chip Roy of Texas, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. On the Democrat side were Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and others. 56 House Democrats and 47 Republicans voted in favor of the resolution in total.
Former President Donald Trump first ordered the withdrawal of US troops in Syria in late 2019, but quickly backpeddled by saying US forces would remain in the country to “take the oil” and "keep the oil" – in violation of international laws on plunder.
In late 2020, former Trump Pentagon aide Douglas Macgregor was reportedly instructed by the president to try to pull US troops from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, and Africa before President Biden’s inauguration in early 2021. During the transition period, Pentagon officials openly boasted that the they played "shell games" with the White House to cover up troop numbers and prevent a pullout.
U.S. Army Specialist Jacob Smith, an Avenger gunner assigned to the 1st Battalion, 265th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Florida Army National Guard, operates an Avenger air defense system during Exercise ARCTIC EDGE 2022 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, March 14, 2022. The Avenger air defense system is a self-propelled surface-to-air missile system that provides mobile, short-range air defense protection for ground units against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, low-flying fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joseph P. LeVeille) - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.03.2023
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Syrian officials have spent years attacking their US counterparts and Washington’s Kurdish allies for plundering the war-torn country's energy resources, and want all foreign forces not explicitly invited into the country by Damascus to withdraw immediately. The US-led pillage of Syria has cost the government hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues needed for reconstruction, and has continued even in the wake of last month’s devastating earthquakes. On Saturday, Syrian media reported that a massive 148-vehicle convoy including 80 tankers loaded with stolen oil and 60 refrigerator and cargo trucks had been spotted heading toward the illegal al-Walid crossing with Iraq.
The Pentagon responded to Thursday’s attack on a US base in Hasakah, Syria with airstrikes, reportedly killing over a dozen "pro-Iran targets." Biden blamed Iran for the attacks, saying that while the US "does not seek conflict with Iran," Tehran should “be prepared for us to act forcefully to protect our people."
The US leader did not elaborate on what his "people" were doing occupying oil fields in Syria, well over 9,000 km from America’s shores. Iran has dispatched military advisors and other forms of support to Syria over the past decade to assist Damascus in the Western-funded dirty war against the country, but denies open involvement in the conflict.
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