Rep Gaetz Slams Forever Wars, Issues Statement on Final House Vote Regarding War Powers Resolution to Remove U.S. Troops from Syria

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) released the following statement regarding the final vote by the House of Representatives on his resolution, H. Con. Res. 21, the Syrian War Powers Resolution. The privileged War Powers Resolution, if passed, would have directed President Joe Biden to remove all troops from Syria. Unfortunately, the resolution was not adopted by a vote of 103-321, with support from 47 Republicans and 56 Democrats.

“There is no role for the United States of America in Syria. We are not a Middle Eastern power. We have tried to build a democracy out of sand, blood, and Arab militias. Time and again, the work we do does not reduce chaos. Oftentimes, it causes chaos – the very chaos that then subsequently leads to terrorism. While today’s vote may have failed, my fight to end forever wars and bring our troops home has only just begun,” said Congressman Gaetz.

Full replay of Rep. Gaetz’s closing debate remarks on the House floor earlier today can be found HERE with a rough transcript below:


Rep. Matt Gaetz: “Much of the discussion today is revolved around whether or not withdrawing from Syria will ignite some new ISIS caliphate. We've pointed out time and again Inspector General's reports saying that that is unlikely, but I'm not entirely sure that us having troops in Syria deters ISIS more than it is a recruiting tool for ISIS.

Moreover, President Trump said that if Russia wanted to kill ISIS, we should let him, and I think there is wisdom in that. Both Assad and Turkey are in stronger positions today to put downward pressure on ISIS, and maybe if we weren't given weapons to people shooting at Assad, Assad would have every incentive to be able to engage ISIS in a way to ensure that it doesn't come back.

We have to also acknowledge Syria and Iraq are the two countries on the planet Earth where we have done the most to fund ISIS. We give weapons to these so-called moderate rebels, which I actually thought was an oxymoron, and it turns out they're not that moderate. Sometimes the rebels we fund to go fight Assad turn around and raise the ISIS flag. And so it's quite silly to be saying we have to withdraw to stop ISIS when it is our very presence in Syria in some cases that has been the best gift to ISIS.

There are groups like Al-Nusra and associated entities that are like our frenemies when they're in Syria, and then they cross over the border into Iraq and they become full-fledged jihadist posing as so-called threat to the homeland.
There are 1,500 different groups in Syria. So today's friend is tomorrow's ISIS. There's no real clear delineation as to what the "enduring defeat of ISIS" means. Like do we have to keep 900 Americans in Syria until the last heartbeat stops of the last person who holds some sympathy for ISIS? I would certainly hope not. It would mean we would have to be there forever.

Israel has made their deal with Russia to be protected. The Kurds have made their peace with Assad to be protected. What we see among this quagmire is there's really not a role for the United States of America in Syria. We are not a Middle Eastern power. We have tried this time and again to build a democracy out of sand and blood and Arab militias, and time and again, the work we do does not reduce chaos.

Oftentimes, it causes chaos – the very chaos that then subsequently leads to terrorism. My colleagues, my staff who've served in Syria, my constituents tell me that often these anti-ISIS raids are just raids of local thugs and drug dealers who have some cousin that's in ISIS, and it is not appropriate to put Americans at risk.

Often our Americans are guarding these oil fields, where the Iranians are sending kamikaze drones. And I am shocked that we have not had escalatory accident or even more casualties for our U.S. servicemembers.

And so if this is all one big Georgetown School of Foreign Service essay exam about great power competition in Syria, you go tell that to the parents of the Americans who have to sleep tonight in Syria, who have to guard oil fields with Iranian drones coming at them – that they're necessary to preserve the balance of power.

That is not true. The Kurds have an opportunity to pave their path. Let's pave ours. And if we're so worried about threats to the homeland, how about we actually focus on our true point of vulnerability, which is not the emergence of some caliphate, it's the fact that terrorists are crossing our southern border on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. We seem far less concerned about that, and we undeniably should be.

My colleagues, I asked you to support this resolution to reassert Congress's power to speak on these matters of war and peace. So often, we come to the floor and we debate frivolities

This is one of the most important things we can be talking about: how we use the credibility of our fellow Americans, how we spend America's treasure, how we spill the blood of our bravest patriots. We have stained the deserts in the Middle East with enough American blood. It is time to bring our service members home.

I encourage my colleagues to support the resolution and yield back the balance my time.”