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Washington's Reaction to Obama's Iraq Announcement Washington's Reaction to Obama's Iraq Announcement

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IRAQ

Washington's Reaction to Obama's Iraq Announcement

Below are reactions from politicians to President Obama's announcement on Friday afternoon that "America's war in Iraq is over."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

 

I fully support the president.… I think we are well equipped as we are keeping a real close eye on Iran. Iran is the country in that part of the world that is way behind the times. It’s a country that’s made up of a lot of people. And they should be aware that the [Arab] Spring that hit countries around them will also hit them.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio

The continued drawdown of American troops that began under the previous administration wouldn’t be possible if not for the hard work and sacrifice of our service members, diplomats and their families.... American forces not only freed Iraq from a vicious tyrant, but – under the strategy developed and implemented by our generals, and the leadership of both President Bush and President Obama – ended a violent terrorist insurgency that threatened the Iraqi people, and provided an opportunity for the Iraqi government to build the capacity needed to effectively meet the needs of the country.... We must never forget the sacrifice of those who’ve served and all who will soon be making the journey home. And we owe it to them to continue engaging with the Iraqi government in a way that ensures our hard-fought gains translate into long-term success. While I’m concerned that a full withdrawal could jeopardize those gains, I’m hopeful that both countries will work together to guarantee that a free and democratic Iraq remains a strong and stable partner for the United States in the Middle East.

 

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif.

Over a million Americans and their Iraqi partners can be proud of what we have achieved since 2003.... Much remains to be done and America’s commitment to Iraqi stability, security, and freedom endures. I hope that Iraq will always look to the United States as a partner in that freedom as they travel the challenging road ahead.... I remain concerned that this full withdrawal of U.S. forces will make that road tougher than it needs to be. Multiple experts have testified before my committee that the Iraqis still lack important capacities in their ability to maintain their internal stability and territorial integrity. These shortcomings could reverse the decade of hard work and sacrifice both countries have endured to build a free Iraq.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

I respectfully disagree with President Obama. I feel all we have worked for, fought for, and sacrificed for is very much in jeopardy by today’s announcement. I hope I am wrong and the president is right, but I fear this decision has set in motion events that will come back to haunt our country.

 

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Today’s announcement effectively implements U.S. policy to end our troop presence in Iraq by the end of this year, policy established under President Bush in consultation with Iraq’s government. While the United States will continue to have an important relationship with Iraq, that nation’s fate rests with its own people and its government, as it should.... I was prepared to support a continued presence of U.S. trainers in Iraq beyond the end of this year. But in light of Iraq’s refusal to eliminate the possibility that U.S. troops would face prosecutions in Iraqi courts, President Obama has made the right decision.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney

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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.

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman

[W]e 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.

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