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An RAF F-35B Lightning stealth jet, a United States Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle, and a French Air Force Rafale fly in formation over the English Channel during Operation Point Blank.

An RAF F-35B Lightning stealth jet, a United States Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle, and a French Air Force Rafale fly in formation over the English Channel during Operation Point Blank. (Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

Less Than 24 Hours After Saying 'Time to Bring 'Em Home,' Trump Orders 1,800 US Troops to Saudi Arabia

"Remember when Donald Trump tweeted that he was 'trying to end the endless wars?' That was yesterday."

Eoin Higgins

Less than a day after President Donald Trump bragged to supporters at a campaign-style rally in Minnesota Thursday that he was working hard to bring U.S. soldiers home from foreign wars, the Pentagon announced Friday that 1,800 troops and advanced weapons systems have been ordered to Saudi Arabia—a move critics decried as both hypocritical and deeply dangerous.

"Remember when Donald Trump tweeted that he was 'trying to end the endless wars?' That was yesterday."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

"This is a dangerous escalation of a crisis created by the president's inability to conduct a coherent and sensible foreign policy and his reliance on the war hawks who profit from endless war," advocacy group Win Without War said on Twitter.

The announcement came 24 hours after the president tweeted that he was "trying to end the ENDLESS WARS" and told the crowd at his Minnesota rally that he was resisting elements of his administration insistent on keeping the U.S. military in the Middle East.

"I have all these people that want to stay," said Trump. "They want to stay. And I don't want to stay."

The deployment is the latest increase to a total 14,000 U.S. soldiers newly arrived in the Middle East this year as Trump moves closer to war with Iran. 

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the deployment in a statement to reporters at the Pentagon Friday.

Trump's move to increase the number of U.S. troops on the ground in Saudi Arabia struck a number of observers as another example of the president's incoherence and hypocrisy, especially in context of the president's decision on Monday to pull U.S. forces in northern Syria back to allow Turkey to invade and attack the Kurds in the region.

"Remember when Donald Trump tweeted that he was 'trying to end the endless wars?' That was yesterday," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, said on Twitter. "Today he's sending thousands of troops, warplanes, and missiles to his dictator friends in Saudi Arabia to escalate military tensions with Iran."

The decision also has the potential for danger to the region and the U.S., said The Nation's Jeet Heer.

"Trump is only using the rhetoric of ending endless wars."
—Trita Parsi, Quincy Institute

"The combination of stationing USA troops in Saudi Arabia and greenlighting Turkey's invasion of Syria (which could lead to imprisoned ISIS warriors being freed) could be explosive," Heer said.

Historically, as the Daily Beast's Spencer Ackerman noted sarcastically, deploying U.S. troops to the Middle East has come with problems.

"Fun fact: the presence of U.S military personnel in Saudi Arabia prompted Osama bin Laden's 1996 declaration of war," said Ackerman.

The president's words just don't line up with reality, said Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

"Trump is only using the rhetoric of ending endless wars," Parsi said. "In reality, he's not ending anything."


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