GOP reaction to Barack Obama’s announcement that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the year’s end has been slow in coming – a sign that the topic is just as tricky for Republicans as it is for a president in search of re-election.
That said, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was the first, with this very strong paragraph:
“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.”
“Whether or not it’s the right thing to do, I would consult with the commanders. The thing that I wouldn’t do that the president is doing,” said Cain, “is telling the enemy how many troops you gonna bring out and when you gonna bring ‘em out.”
Cain continued, “I believe that our time there was worth it, but I would not have announced this big drawdown, tell the enemy so now they’re going to basically position themselves.”
Then there was Michele Bachmann, yet another GOP presidential candidate. Via USA Today:
Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, said Obama’s decision is “a political decision” and “not a military one.”
…Bachmann said the U.S. has been “ejected” from Iraq and should have demanded “that Iraq repay the full cost of liberating them given their rich oil revenues.”
On Iraq, 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.
Here’s a Democratic counterpoint, from U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta:
“The people of Iraq …need and want to begin rebuilding their lives, their homes, their culture, and their government. As long as the violence of war impedes the progress of restoration, they cannot begin walking the challenging road toward a new national identity, hopefully a more democratic identity.
Our withdrawal will usher in the work of diplomacy that is the only way to build f a more free, more fair Iraqi society. I am encouraged by this news. I hope this is just the beginning of the end of American military engagement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. We have seen what war can do; now we need to give peace a chance.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider