World

America cannot be world’s policeman: Trump tells US troops in Iraq

PTI Washington | Updated on December 27, 2018

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet military personnel at the dining facility during an unannounced visit to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, December 26, 2018.   -  REUTERS

US President Donald Trump has defended his decision to withdraw troops from the war-torn Syria, saying America cannot be the world’s policeman, as he made his first unannounced trip to Iraq.

President Trump and First Lady Melania secretly left Washington on Christmas night and visited Iraq on Wednesday to deliver holiday greetings to US combat troops.

“President Trump and the First Lady travelled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a tweet.

Trump delivered a speech to around 100 uniformed service members at an air base west of Baghdad where he defended his decision to pull American troops out of Syria.

“The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world,” Trump told reporters soon after he addressed American soldiers.

He said the US could use Iraq as a regional launching pad to carry out operations against the ISIS and Syria.

Trump vowed that his administration will give a “harsh response” if America faced another terrorist attack.

“If anything should happen at all, nobody will ever have suffered the consequences they had suffered,” Trump said.

“It’s not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States,” he said, as he defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria and let regional countries, Turkey in particular, to complete the work of finishing the remnants of the ISIS terror group and Saudi Arabia to invest in development of the war-ravaged country.

In his interaction with reporters, Trump described how he gave “the generals” multiple six-month “extensions” to get out of Syria.

“They said again, recently, can we have more time? I said, ‘Nope’ You can’t have any more time. You’ve had enough time. We’ve knocked them out. We’ve knocked them silly.

“I will tell you that I’ve had some very good talks with (Turkish) President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan who wants to knock them out also and he’ll do it. And others will do it too. Because we are in their region. They should be sharing the burden of costs and they’re not,” the US President said.

Published on December 27, 2018

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