GOP candidates criticize Obama Iraq decision
October 21st, 2011
03:06 PM ET
11 years ago

GOP candidates criticize Obama Iraq decision

(CNN) - Some of the Republican presidential candidates were sharply critical Friday of President Barack Obama for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year. Read their statements below.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney:

"President Obama's astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women. The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government. The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq."

(See Obama 2012 response at the bottom of this post, following candidate statements.)

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota:

"Today's announcement that we will remove all of our forces from Iraq is a political decision and not a military one; it represents the complete failure of President Obama to secure an agreement with Iraq for our troops to remain there to preserve the peace and demonstrates how far our foreign policy leadership has fallen. In every case where the United States has liberated a people from dictatorial rule, we have kept troops in that country to ensure a peaceful transition and to protect fragile growing democracies. We will now have fewer troops in Iraq than we have in Honduras – despite a costly and protracted war."

"President Obama's decision represents the end of the era of America's influence in Iraq and the strengthening of Iran's influence in Iraq with no plan to counter that influence. We have been ejected from a country by the people that we liberated and that the United States paid for with precious blood and treasure. The administration claims that we got exactly what we needed, but today's announcement demonstrates otherwise. The United States needed a working democratic partnership in Iraq and we should have demanded that Iraq repay the full cost of liberating them given their rich oil revenues. I call on the president to return to the negotiating table with Iraq and lead from the front and not from weakness in Iraq and in the world."

Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain

"Whether or not it’s the right thing to do, I would consult with the commanders. The thing I wouldn't do that the president is doing is telling the enemy how many troops you're going to bring out and when you are going to bring them out. I don't think that's a good strategy."

Former Utah Gov. and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman

"On the occasion of the announcement that U.S. forces will withdraw completely from Iraq by the end of the year, we should take a moment to reflect on the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform. We are forever grateful for their service to America, and are eager to welcome our troops home.

"President Obama’s decision, however, to not leave a small, focused presence in Iraq is a mistake and the product of his administration’s failures. The president's inability to reach a security agreement leaves Iraq vulnerable to backsliding, thus putting our interests in the region at risk. An ideal arrangement would have left a small troop presence that could have assisted with the training of Iraqi security forces and vital counter-terror efforts."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

“I'm deeply concerned that President Obama is putting political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment by announcing an end to troop level negotiations and a withdrawal from Iraq by year's end. The President was slow to engage the Iraqis and there's little evidence today's decision is based on advice from military commanders.

"America's commitment to the future of Iraq is important to U.S. national security interests and should not be influenced by politics. Despite the great achievements of the U.S. military and the Iraqi people, there remain real threats to our shared interests, especially from Iran.

“The United States must remain a firm and steadfast ally for Iraq, maintaining an ongoing diplomatic, economic, and military to military partnership with this emerging democratic ally in the Middle East.

“As a veteran and commander-in-chief of national guard forces, I cannot express enough appreciation for our military service members who have protected and defended American interests in Iraq. Our Iraq war veterans made enormous sacrifices to make our nation and world safer, and I know all Americans will welcome them home with great pride and appreciation.”

Obama 2012 Campaign Reaction to Romney criticism

"The President kept his pledge to the nation to end the war in Iraq in a responsible way, he has promoted our security in Afghanistan and eliminated key Al Qaeda leaders while strengthening American leadership around the world. Mitt Romney didn't lay out a plan to end the war in Iraq in his foreign policy agenda – he barely even mentioned Iraq – but he is apparently willing to leave American troops there without identifying a new mission. Mitt Romney's foreign policy experience is limited to his work as a finance executive shipping American jobs overseas."
–Press Secretary Ben LaBolt

Filed under: 2012 • Iraq • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. stormeagle

    Let me see if I get this straight.

    GOP complains that the deficit is too large. Then GOP complains that Obama is ending an expensive war.

    GOP complains about lack of more direct intervention in Libya. But GOP started a war in Iraq with no justification (i.e. no weapons of mass destruction) and without and plans to handle the country, which has mired the US in a Vietnam-like quagmire for a decade and cost hundreds of soldiers' lives.

    Conclusion: GOP likes to complain about everything. Even if it ends up complaining about both sides of the same issue!

    October 21, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    I think it's time to start a new war... against the anti-American GOP-baggers that are hell-bent on killing the middle-class and America in general. These sub-humans sicken me. They are not "my fellow Americans", they are vermin that need to be eradicated once and for all.

    October 21, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. ja

    it is easy to quarteback from the comforts of the country club spa

    October 21, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Someone here posted that the President ran on the promise of bringing home the troops, and he's kept that promise.
    The Rethugs were elected in November 2010 on the promise of getting jobs for Americans......WHERE ARE THE JOBS???

    Spineless,war-mongering, send-your-kids-to-war-while-I-get-multiple-deferrments-for-mine sob's like Mitt et al need to stfu.

    October 21, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Gayle

    Mitt Romney I knew you were foolish but now you really have made yourself look like a fool. Go the cemetaries of all the men and women that are buried and ask yourself was it worth it. It is time for the troops to come home no more should DIE for a war that American's should never have been. Mr. President THANK YOU. I didnt have a child that was sent to Iraq but as a mother I have cried many tears that so many men and woman have died. Mitt Romeny and the rest of thoses fools need to go and see the flag drapped caskets when they come back to America and see how it pains the family waiting on it to return. Let the Iraq take care of there own country.

    October 21, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. chuck weidemann

    What schools did Bachmann go to? Remind me never to send any of my children or grandkids there. As for Romney another example of " born with a silver spoon in my mouth". Real people with real lives to get back to coming home. Maybe the republicans might want to pass the jobs bill so they can have a job waiting for them when they arrive. That's patriotism!!

    October 21, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. george of the jungle

    well that didn't take long. The GOP war mongers whould have us in combat all over the world. Look at Libia. They wanted us n the ground and criticised the president about that too. Where is the praise now that we didn,t send troops and worked with other countries to accomplish victory. This president has more balls than all the repo candidates combined. Have we forgotten the pirates . and Bin Laudin. HE said the troops would come home and has kept his promise. Why the surprise? Ol John Mc Caine needs to retire. If you guys vote for any of these dumb un patriotic boobs you derserve what you get. Now pass the jobs bill so Americans can go back to work. We should be saving a bundle now that the troops are coming home. Thank God.

    October 21, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Stacey

    That's all the GOMP is good for – critizing while standing on the sidelines. President Obama has proven himself to be quite adept at foreign policy. At least he knows beckky beckky beckky stan stan is not a country! The Grand Ole Mean Party is pathetic. A bunch of whiners and complainers with no cojones.

    October 21, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. TM

    Hey Teabaggers, that agreement was put in place while BUSH was in office. Obama had NOTHING to do with it!

    October 21, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Jerry

    Notice that the troops aren't going to come out till the end of the year. Just a political decision that's all it is. He needs to get re-elected to maintain the status quo.

    Ron Paul 2012 or nothing at all!

    October 21, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Clwyd

    Of course, they started the war and don't want it to stop. Remember they told us that we would pay for the war wit Iraqi oil. More lies from the GOP God Owful Party!

    October 21, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Florida Joe

    GOP candidates criticize Obama Iraq decision
    WOW who could have seen that coming?
    If our President found the cure for Cancer they'd say he took too long
    If he walked on water they'd say he was just afraid to get wet

    Let's hope the American people wake up in 2012 and throw these Repubs OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 21, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Florida Joe

    Right Mit, and how many of your sons fought in Iraq?
    These Repubs are big & brave with other peoples lives

    Thank you President Obama for being a true leader

    October 21, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Nothing new here

    What a 2-faced politician!! Romney, the American taxpayers do NOT want all this big expensive government. We cannot afford to keep spending $$$$, esp. on conflicts overseas. So much for Romney wanting "limited government" – nope. It's all empty promises and small-talk.

    October 21, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. john dahodi

    Mitt Romney and his cronies including Bush-Cheney should be given boots and rifles to march Iraq for unlimited engagement until they are ready to come back. Even they would like to stay forever, we should not object. They should also take with them any and all Tea-Party goons too; so we can have less bickering and less advocates of devils (millionaires). It is too bad that even after making our nation bankrupt and sacrificing more than 5000 American lives; these Repblicans have still not learned their lesson that Iraq war was not legal, not moral, not in our interest and should not have been started at the first place. Secondly; America is almost broken down economically and we have no money to continue this money drain to remain open for any more days. Hope, Americans are awake and watching these brain dead Republicans and war mongers who are always ready to shed American blood and treasure only for their thirst of OILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

    October 21, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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