Rep-elect. Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy Seal, cautioned President Trump against following through on his plan to pull troops out of Syria.
In a Washington Post op-ed published Friday, the Texas Republican argued there is one key reason troops should remain in Syria.
“We go there so they don’t come here,” he wrote. “There is a common misconception that if we just let them fight their own wars they will leave us alone.”
Mr. Crenshaw argued that terrorist organizations will always target the U.S., but preventing attacks does nothing to stem the “cascade effect of instability and chaos” created by a power vacuum if Americans leave.
Mr. Crenshaw, who lost an eye while serving in Afghanistan, said he watched the U.S. make the same mistake when former President Obama withdrew from Iraq, which several other major critics have pointed out.
“While the situation seemed stable, it was obvious to those of us on the ground that it was only stable because the United States was there,” he wrote. “The rest of the story is the history of the Islamic State.”
Mr. Crenshaw said an exit would strengthen other adversaries such as Hezbollah and Iran while risking a humanitarian crisis for the U.S.’s Kurdish allies.
“Stay the course, Mr. President,” Mr. Crenshaw wrote. “We may have accomplished the territorial defeat of the Islamic State — and you deserve credit for that — but we are lying to the American people if we let them believe that the chaos of the Middle East cannot reach our borders.”