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Elizabeth Warren: 'It is right to get our troops out of Syria'

Updated 4:43 PM ET, Thu January 3, 2019

(CNN) - Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Wednesday it is "right" to withdraw US troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

Warren, who recently announced she is forming an exploratory committee ahead of a likely campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on "The Rachel Maddow Show" Wednesday night the "defense establishment needs to explain what they think winning in those wars look like and where the metrics are."

Warren, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said there are "lots of different problems in Afghanistan, and what seems to be the answer from the foreign policy establishment? Stay forever. That is not a policy. We can't do that."

President Donald Trump recently ordered the "full" and "rapid" withdrawal of US military from Syria. The apparent sharp reversal from previous US policy came in a tweet and caused intense bipartisan backlash, caught foreign allies off guard and resulted in Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigning in protest.

Pentagon officials told the President that his order to withdraw the troops from Syria within 30 days was physically impossible without significant risk to US forces, multiple informed sources told CNN, and administration officials told reporters that the President was now granting the military several months for the withdrawal.

In Afghanistan, the US military has been ordered to begin planning to withdraw about half the troops in the country, a US defense official with direct knowledge of the matter told CNN.

Warren noted US troops have been in Afghanistan for 17 years and that ally support will be crucial during the withdrawal.

"When you withdraw, you gotta withdraw as part of a plan, you gotta know what you're trying to accomplish throughout the Middle East and the pieces need to be coordinated," Warren said, adding, "this is why we need allies."

When asked if she was troubled by the nature of the President's announcement via tweet, Warren said: "Are you asking me whether or not I think foreign policy ought to be conducted by tweet? The answer is no, it should not."

Warren said the United States needs to "plan this out and talk about with our allies how we ensure more safety and stability in the region."

The senator said continuing to keep troops "forever and ever and ever in that part of the world ... it is not working, and pretending that somehow in the future it is going to work by some unmeasured version of it, it's a form of fantasy that we simply can't afford to continue to engage in."


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