News / USA

Obama Administration Defends Troop Withdrawal from Iraq

U.S. soldiers walk past tanks at a courtyard at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. U.S troops are scheduled to pull out of the country by the end of this year, according to a 2008 security pact between the U.S. and Iraq. (File September 30, 2011).
U.S. soldiers walk past tanks at a courtyard at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. U.S troops are scheduled to pull out of the country by the end of this year, according to a 2008 security pact between the U.S. and Iraq. (File September 30, 2011).
Michael Bowman

The Obama administration is defending the announced total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, amid strong criticism from the president’s domestic political opponents.  

More than eight years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the last American forces will soon be departing.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the pullout is consistent with commitments made by President Barack Obama and his predecessor who ordered the invasion, George W. Bush.

“President Obama said that combat troops would leave Iraq by the end of this year.  But before he ever said that, the Bush administration also committed to withdrawing all troops by the end of this year.  So you have a bipartisan commitment, and that was viewed as appropriate," she said.

Watch a related report by Marissa Melton:

Clinton spoke on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday.  She stressed  the United States has no intention of abandoning Iraq. “What we have agreed to is a support-and-training mission similar to what we have in countries from Jordan to Colombia.  And we will be working with the Iraqis.  We will also have a very robust diplomatic presence," she said.

But that is not good enough, according to President Obama’s Republican critics.  Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also appeared on Fox News Sunday. “Not being able to close the deal in Iraq [negotiate an extension of U.S. troops] is a very serious mistake.  Celebrating leaving with no troops behind is a serious mistake," he said.

Graham accused the president of placing political considerations ahead of America’s long-term security objectives.  He disputed any suggestion that Iraq is ready to stand on its own, particularly with regard to its neighbor, Iran. “Iraqis have no air force.  They have no intelligence-gathering capability.  They need counter-terrorism assistance.  There are missions only we can do.  The [U.S.] military commander said we needed 15,000 to 18,000 [troops in Iraq].  We have none [after this year].  It was the Obama administration’s job to end this well.  They failed," he said.

Secretary of State Clinton said the United States will retain a robust military presence in the Middle East, even after the last troops leave Iraq.  She said no nation, including Iran, should doubt America’s resolve to support Iraq’s democracy.

In the end, she said, it was Iraq’s decision to insist on a complete U.S. troop withdrawal. “The point of our involvement in Iraq was to create the opportunity for the Iraqis to have their own future without the oppression of a dictator like Saddam Hussein.  Now you cannot, on the one hand, say you are all for democracy and sovereignty and independence, and on the other hand say that when a choice is made that is validated by the current government in Iraq, that that somehow is not appropriate.  That is what we were there for - to give the Iraqi people the chance to make their own decisions," she said.

Last week, President Obama said he was keeping a promise to end the war in Iraq, but added “the United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant”.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

Alaskans experiencing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more frequent and extensive wildfires, deteriorating glaciers, and swift shoreline erosion More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs