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. Steveo

    Not sure what dust up is since this was agreed upon during the Bush adminstration. Yes I do, politics as usual! The right does not want to credit the left and the left does not want to credit the right and all the while America fades! The culprit...BOTH Parties!

    October 21, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Len

    In 2010 we elected Tea Party/GOP to cure Americas problems...They have only created more problems....block a bill to hire firefighters, police officers and teachers because they donot want to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires by .5 percent, that is a half of a percent. We must protect our troops and if the Irag government would put our troops on trail, we need to get out. But the GOP would keep them there....Wake up America donot make the same mistake in 2012....

    October 21, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. The Greedy Old Pigs are a neocon deathcult!

    More accurate press release:

    "President Obama's astonishing success in securing an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put the GOP at risk the victories we've won lying to the public about his broken campaign promises. The unavoidable question is whether we can allow him to have any more successes on things like the economy. The American people deserve to hear more about broken campaign promises rather than our own utter lack of viable ideas."

    October 21, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Dick Cheney is the smegma of mankind

    The final proof the GOP are hypocrites.

    What happened to all that "unity on the home front" chatter over Iraq we heard under the shrub when this unwarranted war started? Obviously, that only applied to white Presidents.

    October 21, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Petra Kro

    Flipper "Mitt" Romney is just pathetic. Actually, as an independent, I'm disgusted with most of the current GOP. They seem so focused on beating up Obama that they forget we're Americans first. They keep stalemating any movement in Congress on jobs, they brought us to the brink of default over a simple procedural vote and now they blast Obama for actions that are saving US lives.

    October 21, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. eciam

    Enough is Enough GOP.... Learm To Read! There Coming Home.
    Thank You Mr. President...There Coming Home!
    I'm So Happy There Coming Home!

    October 21, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Damd if Obama does, Damd if he doesn' 40% of US

    Boy, the Right sure are getting good at sounding like they care! Especially when they're REALLY LOUD AND SPEAK IN ALL CAPS OR PERHAPS YELL AT ONE ANOTHER ABOUT NONSENSE! Half will blame Obama for handling this situation "poorly". The other half will say it was Bushes plan from the beginning (true, at least). But at the end of the day, Obama brought the troops home from Afghanistan after finding and killing Bin Laden. And Obama allowed the withdrawal of troops from Iraq (I'd like to take time to remind folks that we invaded that country as a MISTAKE under Bush's presidency). Iran may get stronger, politcally, in the area, but traveling around the world doesn't take months and we certainly don't need the troops there to make things happen (Libya). Let the Conservatives bark like the dogs they are. Obama will win the Presidency again and continue to move us forward. And even if he doesnt, the 50+ population won't be around forever, and that will mark the end of the supply-side, expansionist sillyness that has plagued our government for the past 40 years. Hopefully the overexaggeration of religion will die out too (as it tends to do with higher education and subjection to history and other cultures) because the Conservatives best bet at President is getting slapped around for being Mormon. Lets vote in another Texan instead. That worked out so awesomely last least everyone would have a job at McDonalds and Wal-Mart! Thank goodness Obama's gonna win, this country already came from the brink once; I'm not sure the global economy could handle another Bush.

    October 21, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. tired of the GOP nonsense

    Yet another day of "Republicans sharply criticize Obama for ". It's sad and pathetic.
    Truly patriotic Americans realize that ending the war in Iraq is good for the US.

    October 21, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Me


    This guy is a total ignorant fool. For one thing, did he ever serve? No, I didn't think so. ______________________________________________________________________

    Did the guys who put us in Iraq serve? No. Don't even bring up that guard nonsense for Bush.

    October 21, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Whammybar

    Its not our job to fix that country or any other! Leave them alone. If you hadn't overthrown their government in 53 they probably wouldn't hate you now! Thousands of our citizens would be alive and billions of our taxes would be in our pockets instead of somebody elses. Get out now, get out of every country that we occupy and fix our borders and our infrastructure. You idiots!

    October 21, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. RINO Bil

    Obama is correct. He could read the Republican Party Platform and the Tea Party Manifesto word for word and these clowns would come out against them.

    They are becoming predictable and, worse, boring.

    October 21, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. A Repulbican

    Can they both just shut up, bring home the troops and let iraqui be responsible for their own country, we've gave them 9 YEARS!!!! and TRILLIONS of dollars. Enough is enough!

    October 21, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. A Repulbican

    Not another American young women or man should die on their soil!!!!

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

    So, they want to stay in Iraq then? It's been 9 many more years, how many more lives and billions of dollars due they plan to invest in Iraq?

    October 21, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. suzibee

    PLEASE don't vote Republican, they scare me – Obama has done SO MUCH while in if the jobs bill could get past the GOP then I think Obama will be one of the best presidents we have seen....he has a decent list of what he has accomplished, and I'm curious what 4 more years might bring....

    October 21, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. QuietStormX

    Once again these lowly republicans have no clue or remember what President Obama has said. So there is still huge political situation in IRAQ that has not been filled or done to settle the problems. It's not President Obama problem that IRAQ didn't agree to terms for continued protection. But to just sit around there untill they could get right politicly, is just stupid and expensive. It just shows how lack these outspoken republicans are showing..

    October 21, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. Kerry

    Mitt undermines the efforts the U.S. is making to extract us from this war. His rhetoric reverberates around the world, how is this helping the U.S. in the global community? Not at all. As usual, he is thinking about how this will advance Mitt. Back our President. We need to get out of these wars.

    October 21, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. Liz the First

    Sure, because the rethugs never met a war they didn't like and how dare Obama end their favorite war? the war that was fought off the books and is in large part responsible for the debt the rethugs are now foaming at the mouth about. it's unbelievable the level of hypocrisy these clowns can rise, or sink, to.

    October 21, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Edgar

    Republicans want to reduce the deficit, but they want to stay in Irak. They talk about stretching the military thin, but they want to stay in Irak. If the President had announced that the troops would stay another year, they would have complained. The president has decided to bring them home at the end of the year and they complain. Does anybody see the trend ?

    October 21, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Bruce Laube

    A response of pride over substance. The republicans want us to spend more and tax us less. That only shows they can't add. Our number one problem is our Balance of Trade. We are spending $651 Billion outside our own economy. Eight Trillion over the last 40 years. No wonder we are feeling poorer.
    In addition the Center for Tax Justice says we need to reduce our corpoations ability to stash money over seas. Here is a quote from the CTJ.
    2. Repeal the Tax Break for Corporations Sending Jobs and Profits Overseas
    Our tax system encourages U.S. corporations to shift jobs and profits overseas. U.S. corporations
    are allowed to “defer” paying U.S. taxes on their foreign profits until those profits are brought to
    the U.S. (until those profits are “repatriated”). As a result, U.S. corporations have an incentive to
    move operations and jobs offshore or just disguise their U.S. profits as “foreign” profits by
    shifting them to offshore tax havens. Congress should address this by repealing “deferral.”5
    Unfortunately, lawmakers of both parties are considering expanding this tax break into a full tax
    exemption for offshore corporate profits (often called a “territorial” tax system) or a temporary
    tax amnesty for repatriated offshore corporate profits. Either of these would simply encourage
    U.S. corporations to shift even more jobs and profits overseas.

    October 21, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. Jilli

    Oh, give Mittens a couple of hours and he'll change his tune – he always does. That's one constant with old flip-flop mitt, you can bet that his stance on the issues will constantly change.

    Their criticisms ring pretty hollow. This President has done a pretty stellar job on foreign relations and "the war on terror" – I guess that in light of all of the Obama Admin's accomplishments, I'd be a little cranky and react like children just like the republicans have done.

    The best post I've seen so far...if Obama was a republican, he'd be on Mt. Rushmore by now. Isn't it the truth. He's done more in 3 years than bush did in 8 – that certainly makes the republican record of failure all the more glaring.

    October 21, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. d

    These people (repub) sure hold the american people beneath contempt.. all they do is lie to us and think we are truly stupid and that we buy their crap!

    October 21, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. RH1

    Are you kidding me!?!?!? One, we've been told to leave they the government we helped form there. Two, it's their country, let them keep it. Three, get paid back?! WHAT? We invade and expect to be paid back? Republicans, the new word for stupid.

    October 21, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. judith

    Obama is simply putting an end to Bush's horrible mistake. Of course, Iran is stronger because Bush created a power vacuum in the region by invading Iraq. However, the Iraqis want us to leave, so it's high time we skedaddled. Romney is a Corporation in a Suit who has been ignorant enough to recruit some of Bush's neo-cons as foreign policy advisors–which clearly demonstrates why he is unfit to be President. Mitt's an idiot and a Corporate Monster-who needs him?

    October 21, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. Rick in OP

    My youngest son got back last May from his second deployment to Iraq. As much as he his soldiers did not want to be there, they were uncomfortable about the thought of a total American pullout and leaving the Iranians unchecked. This is a very tough call. I hope we are not setting ourselves up for a bigger war down the line with Iran.

    October 21, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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