US CENTCOM commander Gen. Frank McKenzie informed military personnel on Thursday that the 20,000 troops that have been deployed to the Middle East since May 2019 will not likely be coming home anytime soon.
“You’re here because I requested that you come,” Gen. McKenzie said over the loudspeaker to sailors and Marines aboard the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship.
“I’m not sure how long you’re going to stay in the theater. We’ll work that out as we go ahead. Could be quite a while, could be less than that, just don’t know right now,” he added.
The Bataan moved with two other U.S. war ships into the Middle East on Jan. 11 as tensions with Iran reached a fever pitch. Troops in the Middle East have increased from 60,000 to 80,000 in the last eight months despite repeated declarations from President Trump that it is time to bring the troops home.
Gen. McKenzie continues to monger fear about the supposed threat from Iran.
“Iran continues to pose a very real threat,” Gen. McKenzie said reporters alongside him during his travels to the Bataan.
“I do believe that they are deterred right now, at least from state-on-state actions by our response. And so I think that while that threat remains, I think we’re in a period where they’re certainly not seeking to escalate anything,” he added.
Gen. McKenzie made it clear that Iran’s lack of activity is no reason for the troops to depart from the region, as he comes up with any reason to sustain the permanent occupation.
“Iran is very hard to read,” Gen. McKenzie said. “So I would say the fact that things are quiet for a while does not mean that necessarily things are getting better.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has suggested that even more troops should be deployed in the Asia-Pacific to show China who’s boss.
He said: “There’s only a finite number of dollars, a finite number of troops, so I’ve got to figure out, where is the best place to put them? I’ve articulated in the past that I want to either return forces to the States to improve their readiness, or redeploy others” in the IndoPacific.
Gen. McKenzie is telling the troops to be ready for full-blown war at a moment’s notice.
“You need to be ready because I may need to employ you on very short notice and on some very difficult missions,” he said.
President Trump has talked about the military-industrial complex and how it wants wars throughout the globe. It seems he has succumbed to those forces, as he strays far from an “America First” non-interventionist foreign policy.