UPDATE: The Pentagon has weighed in on the report about the troop withdrawal, and has confirmed that the troops will not be leaving Iraq after all.
MORE: Top U.S. general says letter on Iraq troops was a poorly worded, unsigned draft meant to underscore increased levels of troop movements pic.twitter.com/ocICSBuNEV
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 6, 2020
In the wake of the attack in Baghdad that killed Iranian general and terrorist leader, Qasem Soleimani, it is being reported that President Trump is ordering the U.S. Armed Forces to troops out.
“Sir, in deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement,” wrote United States Marine Corps Brigadier General William H. Seely III, the commanding general of Task Force Iraq in the reported letter.
“We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure,” it said.
It is worth noting that the Pentagon has yet to confirm the authenticity of the letter, and there may be a U.S. presence that remains in the nation in some other capacity.
Read the letter here:
AFP & Reuters reporting the U.S.-led coalition sending a letter informing the Iraqi military of a decision to move U.S. forces out of Iraq.
Letters in English & Arabic pic.twitter.com/1HypFAm8Ox
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) January 6, 2020
Previously, President Trump had said that any withdrawal from Iraq was contingent upon the nation paying the U.S. back for the billions invested in the embassy in the nation. He threatened economic sanctions unless the Iraqis were willing to pay up.
“We’ve spent a lot of money in Iraq,” Trump said to reporters aboard Air Force One as he made his way back to Washington after celebrating the Christmas season at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.
“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. … We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” he added.
“We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever,” Trump said. “It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”
It remains to be seen if President Trump announces sanctions following this reported removal of forces.
The Iranians continue to escalate following the drone killing of Soleimani, making the possibility of a war seem more likely. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made a Twitter post on Monday referencing an Iran Air passenger jet that was shot down by U.S. naval forces in 1988, which resulted in the deaths of 290 people.
Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655
Never threaten the Iranian nation.
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 6, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement today that was very non-committal, urging people to be patient before judging President Trump’s actions.
“We can and we should learn more about the intelligence and thinking that led to this operation and the plan to defend American personnel and interests in the wake of it,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol building following the return from winter break for lawmakers.
“Unfortunately, in this toxic political environment, some of our colleagues rushed to blame our own government before even knowing the facts. Rushed to split hairs about intelligence before being briefed on it,” he added.
Big League Politics will continue to report on this story as it develops.
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Greg Abbott Signs Executive Order Keeping Violent Criminals from Going Back on the Streets During the Wuhan Crisis
After the Wuhan Virus was confirmed in several Texas jails in the last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on March 29, 2020 that makes it more difficult for several inmates to be let out on “no-cost, personal recognizance bonds.”
Abbott tweeted, “Today I issued an Executive Order preventing [email protected] of dangerous criminals from prisons & jails. We want to prevent the spread of #COVID19 among prison staff & inmates. But, releasing dangerous criminals in the streets is not the solution. #txlege #coronavirus”
Today I issued an Executive Order preventing [email protected] of dangerous criminals from prisons & jails.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 30, 2020
Several cases of the Wuhan Virus were discovered in the Dallas County Jail and Harris County Jail last week, two of the state’s largest jails. In addition, a handful of cases were confirmed in state prisons. According to NBC DFW, the virus’ outbreak was “followed by demands to reduce the inmate populations by releasing, immediately and without bond or judicial delay, those held on misdemeanor crimes or awaiting trial on misdemeanor crimes. Some also called for non-violent felons to also be released on no-cost bonds.”
Abbott said Sunday that “releasing dangerous criminals makes the state even less safe” and issued a proclamation to prevent judges, and others, from releasing some inmates without a paid, cash bond.
In his executive order, Abbott declared that a person convicted of a crime that involved or threatened physical violence, or a person arrested for such a crime backed by probable cause, or a person with a criminal history of violent crime, cannot get out of jail on a no-cost personal recognizance bond.
With a PR bond, a defendant is released without having to post any money for his or her bond on the promise they’ll show up to their next court date.
Instead of virtue signaling and buying into the criminal justice reform movement’s desire to foment anarcho-tyranny, Abbott has held his ground by promoting public order.
A crisis like the Wuhan Virus pandemic does not need to be exacerbated by opening up the prison floodgates.
This is one case where American policymakers should use logic not emotion to craft prison policies in times of a pandemic.
Failure to do so will put the U.S. on the road to institutional failure.
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