McConnell: Precipitous drawdown would be 'mistake'

Sen. Mitch McConnell, joined by other GOP Senate leaders, continues to express opposition to President Donald Trump drawdown plans in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Nov. 17)

Video Transcript

MITCH MCCONELL: I think it's extremely important here in the next couple of months not to have any earth-shaking changes with regard to defense and foreign policy. I think a precipitous drawdown in either Afghanistan or Iraq would be a mistake. I've so said publicly yesterday, and I hope that's precisely where these discussions end up.

ROY BLUNT: In Somalia-- the discussion's Somalia and Iraq and Afghanistan-- none of those places are nearly as secure if we leave as they are if we're there.

Particularly in Afghanistan, if we want to continue to move forward with a peace discussion with the Taliban, I think we have to have a presence. And if we want to have any chance of enforcing a peace agreement that involves the Taliban, we have to have a presence. And I hope we're looking carefully at the number that you'd have to have for that presence to be meaningful in those three places and anywhere else in the world that we're thinking about repositioning all of these things to have significant long term consequences.

And my advice would be to remember that an American presence does matter. And it does make a difference. And it has made a difference. And none of those places would be safe-- as safe if we aren't there as they are if we are there.