Mattis Signs Order to Withdraw US Troops From Syria

Trump seeks high ground over Mattis as Syria withdrawal is ordered

Trump seeks high ground over Mattis as Syria withdrawal is ordered

In an interview with the Seattle Times, Tom Mattis, the older brother of soon-to-be-former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, recalled the phone conservation he had on Sunday after President Donald Trump chose to move up his brother's departure date to the beginning of the year.

In his letter, Mr Mattis had said he would step down at the end of February to allow for a successor to be confirmed and attend Congressional hearings and a key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting. Smith will go from the HASC's top Democrat to its chairman as Democrats take back control of the House in the 116th Congress.

"To those in the field or at sea, "keeping watch by night" this holiday season, you should recognize that you carry on the proud legacy of those who stood the watch in decades past", Mattis wrote in a holiday letter to US troops.

An acting defense secretary is highly unusual.

"His expertise in management, research and development, acquisition, and procurement are valuable and conducive to the operations of the Pentagon".

A senior White House official said that Mr Trump was irked by the attention given to Mattis' resignation letter.

Trump initially praised Mattis for serving as defence secretary "with distinction" and achieving "tremendous progress". Mattis had planned to remain defense chief until late February, to allow for a transition.

"Mattis has both theoretical literacy and practical experience in national security affairs".

He said his February departure date was created to minimize disruption on the department during the leadership transition.

While Mattis' resignation followed Trump's announcement that he would soon pull all of the approximately 2,000 US troops out of Syria, officials said that the resignation was the result of an accumulation of disagreements.

Trump, who tweeted on Thursday that Mattis was "retiring, with distinction, at the end of February", made his displeasure clear on Saturday by tweeting that the retired Marine general had been "ingloriously fired" by former President Barack Obama and he had given Mattis a second chance. Some thought I shouldn't, I thought I should.

As Mattis played an important role in embodying Trump's strategic concept and buffering the president's strategic impulse, Zuo said, his departure would make it easier for Trump to further "rip off" his allies.

"Now he's firing Mattis - a man who has spent a lifetime in public service-by January 1?"

But it appears that for the moment at least Mattis' resignation has reminded some others that the times require standing up for principle. "Everything that indicates stability, everything that indicates strength, everything that indicates knowledge is leaving this administration". "And what the Mattis letter has done in a monumental way is to push Republicans into making some real judgments". Marco Rubio, R-Florida, called it a "colossal" mistake, while Sen.

"I hope we who have supported this administration's initiatives over the last two years can persuade the President to choose a different direction", Rubio added. "He is also quite cautious in realistic policy", he said.

Mattis made clear in the letter he did not see eye to eye with a president who has expressed disdain for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Mattis' letter in particular emphasized the important role that US alliances play in USA national security.

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