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 Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid