Liz Cheney says she strongly opposes Trump on Syria, Afghanistan

By Holly Rosenkrantz

/ CBS News

Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House GOP leadership, called on President Trump to reverse his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria. She also urged him to reverse his plans to cut the number of troops in Afghanistan.

"I am deeply, deeply concerned, and I oppose strongly the president's decision to apparently withdraw troops from Syria," Cheney said in a "Face the Nation" interview on Sunday. "I think the president has done a lot of very good things," but "these two decisions would be disastrous."

Cheney said Mr. Trump's decision was a "very dangerous path to go down." She also criticized an earlier "Face the Nation" interview with Republican Sen. Rand Paul, dismissing his embrace of the president's position on Syria and Afghanistan as "unburdened by facts."

"We ought to make sure that we keep our troops there in order to prevent the establishment of safe havens from those groups that want to attack us," Cheney said.

Mr. Trump announced last week the U.S. would be withdrawing troops from Syria, saying ISIS had been "defeated" there. But many in Washington, including prominent Republicans, have criticized the decision. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called the decision a "disaster" and "a stain on the honor of the United States."

Cheney echoed those views, predicting that the president would regret the decision if the regions becomes destabilized. "If we were to withdraw precipitously from Syria, if we were to withdraw from Afghanistan leave a situation where our enemies could again establish safe havens," Cheney said. "There's no question in my mind the president will regret that and we'll be in a situation where we probably have to go back at far greater cost."

"This shouldn't be about, you know, it's been this many years, it's been this much time," she said. "You don't just declare victory. You have to say, you know, it is a mission accomplished, and that may require that we're there for a long time."

Cheney had worked as adviser to her father Dick Cheney when he was vice president, helping lead president George W. Bush's intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. The Cheneys are strong proponents of aggressive intervention in the Middle East, a position at odds with Mr. Trump's foreign policy view.

First published on December 23, 2018

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