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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid