Trump to leave office with vastly more troops in DC than in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria combined

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President Donald Trump has reduced the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan to its lowest level since 2001, but as he prepares to leave the White House, it is clear the latest Forever War is raging here at home.

Acing Defense Secretary Chris Miller announced on Friday that the U.S. military now has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and another 2,500 troops in Iraq, completing the drawdowns that he announced on Nov. 17.

Miller did not mention Syria, where about 900 U.S. troops are operating as part of a shadowy proxy conflict with Russia.

The nearly 6,000 U.S. troops downrange pales in comparison to the roughly 21,000 National Guardsmen that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has authorized to be called up to protect President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

This surge comes amid questions about why the roughly 340 D.C. National Guardsmen who had been mobilized for a Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally that turned into a violent insurrection were not quickly dispatched to the Capitol building, where police had been overwhelmed by a mob of Trump’s supporters.

The Defense Department Inspector General’s Office announced on Friday that it is looking into exactly what help the U.S. military was requested to provide before and during the Jan. 6 riots and how the Pentagon responded.

While the attempted insurrection failed this time, it revealed that the partisan divide in this country – which is often referred to as the “culture wars” — is looking more like a civil war.

Now the nation’s capital has been transformed into a gigantic forward operating base out of fears that more insurrectionists will return to attempt to prevent Biden from being sworn in.

The fact that a number of the rioters who came to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 were veterans shows just how deep the political fault lines in the United States run.

While the Defense Department is ostensibly committed to rooting out extremists in the ranks, a recent independent report on diversity found that the Pentagon is not doing enough to track service members who have been radicalized by white supremacist ideology.

As the war on terrorism approaches its 20th anniversary in September, it is clear that we have seen the new enemy, and it is us.

Jeff Schogol

Jeff Schogolis the senior Pentagon reporter for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for 15 years. You can email him at schogol@taskandpurpose.com, direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter, or reach him on WhatsApp and Signal at 703-909-6488. Contact the author here.

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