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. tony

    this guy romney is a fake i live in mass. and when he was governor he was never in the state.. either he was in utah or michigan.. he has like 6 residences.. the guy is a joke ..mitt quit before you get embarrased more than you are.. go home.. mitt.. yea pick a state..slick mitt..

    October 21, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. swolfson929

    These guys are too much....Everything Obama does is 'wrong'...yet they act like children on TV. I cannot imagine Mitt as the next president. I never thought there could be someone worse that GWB...looking at the GOP line-up...I was wrong.

    October 21, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Bill in Florida

    The hypocrisy of these Rethugs is mind-blowing. Obama is damned no matter what he does. Endless war, just what this country needs, yeah baby.

    October 21, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. lgny

    Obama did the right thing. Romney and Bachman will bankrupt us with troops stationed forever around the world.

    Iraq is now underway as a new nation. It's time for them to support themselves.

    October 21, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women.
    ...Thousands of American men and women that should've never been there in the first place. How much longer must they pay the price of that monumental error in judgement with their blood, and separated from their families?

    The 'Tards must've jumped knee-deep in your _hit for praising the President on the outcome of the Lybia mission, so now you feel compelled within a 24-hour period to slam him on the first issue that presents itself. Even when MOST Americans are overjoyed at this piece of news you find the unmitigated, and hypocritcal gall to denigrate.

    You'll never be President.

    October 21, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. eciam

    Lets Just Be Happy For America For A Change!
    There Coming HOME :)Brothers, Sisters, Husband, Wifes, Aunts, Uncles, Sons, Daughters.........

    October 21, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. usualone

    I guess they would have us stay there another 150 years. And what makes them assume we would be in any better shape. Of course, we would all be dead and therefore we wouldn't know the outcome. This withdrawal is one simple way to start saving money - and perhaps a few hundred or thousands of lives.

    October 21, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. Debra from Georgia

    I take President's Obama foreign policies any day over Romney no foriegn policy

    October 21, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. eciam

    Say What You Want GOP, But There Coming Home.....YEAH!

    October 21, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. Bert in UT

    Obama is ending the war Bush started? No, no, no, that would be a mistake. Stay in Iraq, but don't spend any money or incur any deficits, or get anyone killed.

    October 21, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People

    Of course, these blood thirsty "christians" want to see our young soldiers continue to be killed and maimed.

    Leaving Iraq reduces the corporate military machine's income stream.

    Gotta keep producing those million dollar planes and helicopters, so the complex can make a buck on the backs of the dead soldiers when it is shot down.

    October 21, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. chromigula

    Michelle Bachmann is plain wrong again. We have JUST helped liberate the Libyan people without putting a single soldier on the ground (and thus, no one to keep there). She must not watch the news.

    October 21, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Bill

    My teenage daughter has more foreign policy than Romney. What a turd.

    October 21, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. scmom

    Damned if he do, damned if he don't!!!!!

    October 21, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Jacob M

    So, the Republicans want us there to free the Iraqis... so we can then impose our political and military will upon them? Yup, sounds like Democracy to me!

    October 21, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |

    Time to vote these SOB's out of office!!!! Obama 2012!!!

    October 21, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. v_mag

    Obama was elected partly on a pledge to get us out of Bush's wars. All I can say is, "It's about time." Repugnants would have us in the Middle East forever, and they've gone a long way toward accomplishing that goal. When one of them signs up for the military, or gets one of their kids to sign up, that's when I'll pay any attention at all to what they have to say about a situation where people are daily dying needlessly.

    October 21, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Anas

    The GOP is showing their true colors, OIL, their only interest in Iraq if they win the WH is to grant huge defense contracts to their rich buddies. No thanks. We have no business going there in the first place, it would be a complete nonsense to ask our troops to stay there unprotected. The US has been there long enough, it's great news for out troops. Thank you Mr President. Let's also no forget that the money we spend there is well welcome back home to invest in our own country.

    October 21, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. GuyinVA

    I thought it had already been agreed that U.S. troops would leave. What's the big deal? The war is unpopular and everyone wants them home. As long as there are no U.S. troops there, the prospect of actual democracy in Iraq is ridiculous. They will have a theocratic government that crushes all dissent. It is what the people know, understand, and expect.

    October 21, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Just Saying

    Why would anyone listen to what Michelle Bachmann has to say on any issue? The woman is grossly ill-informed, and down-right irrational to boot, on every possible issue. Romney, while a bit better, is still out of touch with reality. The President's decision here is neither hasty nor ill-informed. It has been arrived at reluctantly and after a lot of effort made to achieve a permanent basing agreement in Iraq. And as to listening to what the military leadership has to say, why didn't Bush and Rumsfeld listen to what senior leaders like Shinseky had to say? Oh, wait! Obama IS listening to what the military leadership has to say - they don't want to stay in Iraq without an adequate SOFA agreement that includes immunity from Iraqi law for US service personnel in Iraq. Just Saying...

    October 21, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. Texas Doc

    And the reason we need to stay in Iraq spending billions is...............................I thought so, the GOTea could care less about saving money, they just can't stand the fact that Obama seems to be hittiing his shots while the GOTea refuses to play with the scawy black man.Wah!

    October 21, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. KBL

    I don't know whether President Obama's decision was a political one or a military one, and to be honest, I don't care. What I do know is President Bush's decision to start the war was a political one and not a military one. And only sad pathetic fear mongering Republican presidential candidates could possibly think that ENDING a war is a bad thing.

    October 21, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Nash

    Can someone in the media ask these two clowns how they intend to pay for those war in Iraq when they are refusing to pass a less expensive jobs bill in Congress. Someone needs to hold these clowns accountable because an unfunded war is adding to the deficit which they in turn blame the President for spending when they want to keep the war going perpetually. These people can't have it both ways.

    October 21, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. candycane

    These Tea Party and GOP Candidates sure can put a "spin" on ANYTHING to make it political!! None of them know how to spell R E S P E C T of our President!! Not one Republican can tell President Obama congratulations!! OF COURSE NOT!! The decision that President Obama made has been a LONG TIME COMING!! 9 years of a war that should have never been waged. And 4500 of our own soldiers killed and thousands disabled!! THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL VICTORY!! IT IS A VICTORY FOR THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!! I am soooooooo happy our troops are coming home!! WHAT A XMAS PRESENT FOR ALL OF THE WIVES, HUSBANDS, PARTNERS, SIGNIFICANT OTHERS, CHILDREN AND FAMILY MEMBERS OF THOSE WHO HAVE FOUGHT AND WON THE WAR IN IRAQ!!

    October 21, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Whammybar

    GOP War mongers, you get your butt over there and take a few IED's up the yingyang for awhile! War Mongers! Go fight it yourself you yellow belly pukes! After you kill most them then you can tell that the way they live is wrong and they need to change. You will tell them they need to be like you. If they don't do it you can just kill some more of them.
    GOP War Mongers!

    October 21, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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