The Pentagon is reportedly considering deploying as many as 14,000 additional U.S. troops to the Middle East in order to confront the alleged threat posed by Iran, a move critics said would further expose the hollowness of President Donald Trump's vow to end America's perpetual wars.
"Trump ran on ending these endless wars," tweeted Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). "But he's sending more troops to the Middle East, making yet another war there more likely."
"Congress has not authorized any 'Countering Iran' mission."
—Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders
After the Pentagon on Wednesday officially denied a Wall Street Journal report that the Trump administration is weighing a plan to send thousands of additional troops to the Middle East, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that the Defense Department is in fact considering "changes to our force posture" in the Middle East.
"We're concerned about the threat stream that we're seeing," Rood told lawmakers, referring to Iran. "It is possible that we would need to adjust our force posture, and I think that would be a prudent step based on what we observe."
The Journal, citing anonymous U.S. officials, reported late Wednesday that the Trump administration "is considering a significant expansion of the U.S. military footprint in the Middle East to counter Iran, including dozens more ships, other military hardware, and as many as 14,000 additional troops."
"The deployment could double the number of U.S. military personnel who have been sent to the region since the start of a troop buildup in May," the Journal noted. "President Trump is expected to make a decision on the new deployments as soon as this month."
Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders, noted that Congress has not authorized deployment of additional U.S. troops to "confront Iran:
— Matt Duss (@mattduss) December 4, 2019
A new deployment of troops to the Middle East would not be the first time Trump has reneged on his pledge to bring American soldiers home.
In response to the latest possible deployment, anti-war group CodePink tweeted, "This isn't how you 'end the endless war.'"