Romney criticizes Obama on Iraq
October 22nd, 2011
06:13 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney criticizes Obama on Iraq

(CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Saturday continued his attacks on President Barack Obama for announcing the withdrawal of virtually all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, decrying it as a "sudden change of policy."

The presidential candidate said the Obama administration had indicated earlier they were working to have a status of forces agreement with Iraq that would keep a larger sum of troops in Iraq "for some extended period of time" or until the United States could hand off operations to the Iraqi military.

"Either they failed to do it, either by virtue of ineptitude, or they decided that it wasn't that important - politically or otherwise," Romney told reporters at his New Hampshire campaign headquarters.

Obama announced Friday that almost all of the 39,000 remaining troops in Iraq will return by December 31, making good on a 2008 campaign pledge to end the war.

Soon after the president made the announcement, Romney's campaign responded with a statement questioning Obama's decision as a "naked political calculation."

Romney didn't outline his recommendations for troop withdrawal, but argued the president was removing troops too soon.

"I believe that you listen to the commanders on the ground and understand from them what the timetable is to transition entirely to the Iraqi military," Romney said.

Filed under: 2012 • Iraq • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Andy

    The SOFA agreement with Iraq was put into place by Bush. It stated that if our troops did not get protection from Iraqi law then we would not allow any troops to remain. The Iraqi government would not give us immunity so President Obama executed the order to return the troops home. Again the SOFA agreement stated that our troops would be present in Iraq until Dec 31st and no later unless immunity was given. So – I have no idea what Romney could be compaining about. Obviously he doesnt have a clue and didnt read the agreement or just doesnt care. He is simply a useless person and everyone in Mass should vote him out of his appointed office!

    October 22, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  2. Zenith

    Romney and his ilk are the same ones who started this war with lies and no real plan to get us out of Iraq. They would surely be the ones who would complain if Obama decided to continue it. All theu do is complain and offer no plans. It is disgusting.

    October 22, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  3. Michael

    And how do you know that Obama did NOT listen to the commanders in the filed? Do you have some inside information?

    OK to criticize Obama on all issues and sundry, but exactly where is YOUR plan or "timetable". Other than outsourcing jobs from your companies, what other foreign policy experience do you have, that we should take you seriously?

    October 22, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  4. Squigman

    If this had happened under republican rule, it'd be just wonderful. Why dont you people grow up, and quit being so petty?
    Do any of you think that just maybe the American people are getting just a little tired of your rantings. Republican's need to either grow up, or get some dignity from some source.

    October 22, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  5. T'sah from Virginia

    correction: "interviewed" not interview.

    October 22, 2011 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  6. Kenny

    Iraq would not grant immunity to the US Forces that would remain there so President Obama made the right decision to withdraw the troops. Thos troops that remain to protect the US Embassy in Iraq automatically have Diplomatic Immunity under certain other agreements.

    Romney doesn't have a clue what he is talking about.

    October 23, 2011 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  7. Jake

    Romney...just another village idiot.

    October 23, 2011 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  8. Steve in Denver

    Yeah, what will your story be next week, mitt the flipper?

    October 23, 2011 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  9. thomas

    Romney has no foreign policy experience .

    Maybe Mitts five sons , none of whom volunteered for military service could critic the Presidents policy on Iraq !

    October 23, 2011 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  10. mk1

    First of all this is George Bush's withdrawal agreement that President Obama is simply following. Second, he was left with no options when the Iraqi parliament refused to give immunity to American soldiers in Iraq after December. To leave our troops there would put them in far worse harm than they are now and a dereliction of duty on the part of the President.

    October 23, 2011 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  11. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Shut your pie hole Mitty.

    October 23, 2011 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  12. Ken

    Mitt would listen to just about everybody except for Iraq's democratically elected government. They said the only way they would let us stay in their country is if US troops were subject to Iraqi trials... Mitt would be freaking out if we had acceded to that demand. The reality though, is that Republicans are roundly arguing that the problem with our ten year venture into Iraq is that the war didn't last long enough. Good luck trying to win on that issue.

    October 23, 2011 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  13. Donkey Party

    Romney is a clueless, yammering fool. The male version of Michelle Bachmann. The Iraqis want us out, and couldn't guarantee immunity of US soldiers after 2011. Besides, who's paying for it??? Idiot.

    October 23, 2011 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  14. skarphace

    Romney: "I believe that you listen to the commanders on the ground"

    Er .. then why would you be running for Commander in Chief? Sometimes the top commander must make decisions. This was one of them.

    Apparently the Iraqi government did not want to abide by the SOFA. Therefore, he deemed it too dangerous for our troops to remain there. In my opinion, as well as the many in the military, it was the correct decision.

    October 23, 2011 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  15. CBR

    President Obama is ordering the troops out of Iraqu and that is a good move. The Iraqi people do not want the Americans in their country. The government does not think they need our help any longer. The signal is very clear – leave Iraq.

    Military men and women have been deployed 3 or more times to Iraq. We have had nine years of fighting and it is time to bring the troops home. Military families need to have time together without fear that the military member will be redeployed.

    Mr. Romney never served in the military and neither did his sons. He does not have experience dealing with foreign policy issues. He does not understand the toll that war takes on our military men and women and their families. He does not seem to understand that it is now up to Iraqis to work together to strengthen their new government.

    October 23, 2011 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  16. MarineWill

    Yet another statement proving Romney shoudn't be President. He should really do some checking of the facts before he releases anything. Fact: Iraqis no longer want us there. Fact: Generals on the ground recommend not having troops without a status of forces agreement (SOFA). Fact: Romney has no plan for anything other than to say whatever Presidnt Obama does is wrong.

    October 23, 2011 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  17. Marry

    Mitt Romney is already shaking in his boots at the thought of having to run against President Obama in the general election! The President, with many fantastic accomplishments and Romney only having the party of “NO – H3LL NO” with lots of lies to set against it and without any ideas himself. He just has nothing! Not even true reasons to criticize the President! Poor GOP/TP!

    October 23, 2011 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  18. Brian

    Mitt...hate to break your bubble, but "we the people" are fed up with these cruddy little wars and "we the people" could care less what the commanders on the ground think. "We the people" have spent 700 billion dollars on this war that the shrub lied to us about and it's plain flat time to end it. I wonder what 700 billion dollars spent right here could have done for the US economy.

    October 23, 2011 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  19. Darrell

    Do know what is so funny about this? This man does not have a clue about he is talking about. It is too bad that idiots like Mitt, would like to keep this situation going without any reason, except to oppose the president's decision.

    To the brave men and women who served us in Iraqi, the nation salutes you and welcomes you back home with open arms. Peace!

    October 23, 2011 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  20. Bob Ramos

    Romney didn't outline his recommendations for troop withdrawal, but argued the president was removing troops too soon. "I believe that you listen to the commanders on the ground and understand from them what the timetable is to transition entirely to the Iraqi military," Romney said.


    First General Allen is way out of line for his public comments. He is active military and has to fully support the COC regardless of his private beliefs be the President a Repub or Democrat. If he cannot, he must resign.

    Assuming Romney does win the nomination, by his statements on this Iraq withdrawal, he has doomed his chances in the general election. Why? Because he is a hypocrite. It is ok for someone else's son to die or suffer in support of the USA as long as it is not one of the Romneys. Neither Romney or any of his fit five sons have ever served a day in the military and they never will.

    October 23, 2011 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  21. diridi

    Shame on this guy....Obama2012...Obama, your foreign policies are just righteous. and hats off to you...I am voting for you...

    October 23, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  22. Clwyd

    Yup! Ending the war in Iraq and taking out Kadaffy without the lose of an American life like in Iraq and no troops there for a 10 year war is something that republicans would criticize. They want to spend $ on perpetual wars based on lies!

    October 23, 2011 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  23. Anthony

    So it is a naked political calculation that Obama would pull out our troops before the Iraqi government stops giving American soldiers immunity from prosecution? What exactly is the success in Iraq that we are trying to protect, Mitt? Are we successful because we allowed the Shias, who are friendly with their fellow Shias in Iran, to take over Iraq? Should we be proud of the fact that the Iraqi government, which owes its existence to the U.S., now wants us out?

    October 23, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  24. annie s

    Oooh, a Republican criticizing the President – that's news. Really, get over it guys. President Obama has shown he is a strong effective leader on foreign affairs and a superb Commander in Chief. Criticizing him for bringing home troops from a country we should never have sent them into in the first place just makes you seem ridiculous.

    October 23, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
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