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. 2EEs

    Our current president didn't serve in the military either. And let's stop with the immature "Mittens" name calling. Mittens actually sounds warm, which I don't think you were going for. How can you deny that this is a political stunt to cover up the fact that our current economic situation is getting worse, and won't get better with the ideas of the current administration? What timing.

    October 21, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Canuck

    "GOP Candidates criticize Obama"

    No Way!! Never saw that one coming....

    October 21, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Dean

    I can't decide if Obama's an idiot or a fool.

    October 21, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    so I guess the GOP 2012ers have no problem leaving our men and women in harm's way when they really don't need to be there. They have no problem spending tax dollars on a war that we really don't need to be in. America and the "I want my country back" bunch need to wake up and realize that the GOP is intent to go against Obama even if it means possibly having a love one killed in Iraq for basically no reason. This is really sad and telling. None of these idiots need to be any where NEAR the White House come 2013.

    October 21, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    Obama.."I say this" GOP/T-Bers' "no that's wrong. It should be that"

    I bet if the troops stay, they'll be the first to note casualties on a regular basis and blame Obama for it

    October 21, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. margie stephens

    to snifit–ditto and then some–

    October 21, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Karl Jonas

    Dear Mittens: GW Bush made the deal for the US to leave end of 2011. There is an orderly transition and it's been going on for around 5 years. President Obama should leave troops there so they could be arrested and tried in a kangaroo court?

    Dear Raving Mad Bachmann: We didn't "liberate" anyone, we exacted revenge cause Sadam wanted to off GHW Bush and sonny boy didn't like it. What he achieved was removing an entire secular government and replacing it with an Iran-sympathizing Shiite regime. "Liberating" a country doesn't mean you own it!

    October 21, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Marie MD

    @mk1 you are talking about the fool from Texas who didn't serve correct? In a war that he should have been a part of because of his age and supposedly servicd in the guard?I don't recall any particular war in which Obama had to serve but I do know that the romneycare boys skipped every one of them!
    We should have NEVER been in Iraq!!!
    We need to get out and let Iraq govern itself.

    October 21, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. Fargazer

    If the Iraq want us out we should leave there is no reason to stay their to spend more money. The billions should be spent here at home to modernize our infrastructure in order to compete in the future so I am glad we are leaving that horrible place called Iraq.

    October 21, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Ruth

    The GOPs as usual attack attack attack thats all they know. Even if Obama said the crow is black all the GOPs and Republicans and T-Party would rise and say NO the crow is WHITE. I was surprised to know the T-Party sent out a plegdes to all small business not to hire anyone how crooked they are. We all know their intention is to destroy the country's econony and get people so frustrated that they will not vote for OBAMA. How come CNN and other news channels are not publicily talking and exposing these T-Party people why are they being biased and going after Joe Biden.

    October 21, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. what

    I like how no one mentions that Iraq's new government played a role in this decision.

    October 21, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    @mk1 pardon. I thought you were talking zbout the shrub who neved served but was quick on the draw to send out troops to war.

    October 21, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I cannot believe that any marine would want Mittsy as commander in chief. He has a spine of jello, is a flip flopping nimrod, and lacks any understanding of foreign policy. He is a child of privilege, but that is all he has going for him.

    October 21, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. oregonian101

    Oh brother.

    October 21, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. max

    So let me get this right, Mittens wants us to stay in Irag because we need to protect the sweat blood and treasures that we attained there...does that even make sense? As for Michelle...please go away until you at least know that Libya is part of Africa, darn flame thrower!

    October 21, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Today's response by the GOP candidate's to our troop withdrawal, indicates how out of touch they are.

    October 21, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. vic , nashville ,tn

    Cut spending, balance budget
    Why we have to influence in Iraq? Pour money over there to build their roads, bridges and school
    Obama took care Gadhafi, Bin Laden, al-Awlaki proved the world we stronger than before

    October 21, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. Ruth

    I hate Romney he looks very crooked will do anything to get power. He has has no good intensions of helping the poor and middle class but himself. He said it there at the debate he got rid of the illegal gardener because he was running for President not because he cares about the american people. All Latinos, muslims and other ethnic groups beware of the republicans / GOP / T-Party they dont care about you all they care is about the RICH. I hate all the other GOP candidates the only sincere person there is Ron Paul.

    October 21, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. lue blacke

    This is something the "obstructionists/repubs" do not have control over. They do have control over the jobs bill-but chose not to pass it. The repubs are mad as hell-get over yourselves! Now you are going to get some of your "own medicine"-& you hate it. In other words the President is dismissing you imbeciles!

    October 21, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Corporations R. People II

    LOL. That is why Willard will be a full-time pander-in-chief and never to be Commander In Chief. Willard what were our victories? We got those WMDs, Mission Accomplished....wait, no? Anyhow, when the military leaders come out in support of Obama's plan, we will be well prepared for you to flip flop on what you said; we've grown accustomed to Multi-face Mitt. Willard, how would you propose we pay for you and McSenile's plan to occupy Iraq for 100 years? Couldn't raise revenue could we??

    And Bachmann needs to worry about staffing up NH or dropping out; leave the intelligent mid-east policy making to the grown ups.

    October 21, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Carl in Reality

    I am still wondering why 4500 plus American warriors died in a quest for WMDs. What do we tell their children and families? President Bush – what did you do?

    October 21, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Portland tony

    Standby ground troops as well air support will in Kuwait ...Just in case.

    October 21, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. RKN

    First they were critical because President Obama had Not gotten us out of Iraq yet, as he promised he would.
    Now, when he gets us out (no amnesty for US troops...) he is criticized as well.

    Whatever President Obama does the GOP is against it.
    If he balanced the budget, eliminated the debt, completely eliminated unemployment and cut everyones taxes they would find a reason that it wasn't good enough or fast enough or they just would not like it.

    October 21, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. ObamaCares

    Repubs: too early, too late; too dis, too dat. Watch each of these fools backtrack. They were wrong on Syria, wrong on everything else, total jerks, these repugsT-tards. President Obama is just too darn smart for these characters.

    October 21, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. givemeabreak2

    The Republicans are starting to sound like little babies. Mitt, think before you speak; this was BUSH'S withdrawal date. I can't believe you have people following your lead...what a joke crybaby. And for Micele, no one is even listening to you. You are not even in the race. An empty wagon makes the most noise.

    October 21, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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