After President Obama announced that he is ending the Iraq War, virtually all of the Republican presidential candidates piled on in criticizing the move, even though two-thirds of Americans oppose the war. Mitt Romney called the decision an “astonishing failure” driven either by “naked political calculation or sheer ineptitude.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) also called it a “complete failure,” while Rick Santorum said the U.S had “lost the war in Iraq.”
Today on Fox News Sunday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) told host Chris Wallace that Obama was flat-out “irresponsible” for bringing the troops home, because, he argued, it is “putting our kids’ lives in jeopardy”:
PERRY: The idea that a commander-in-chief would stand up and signal to the enemy a date certain of when we’re going to pull our troops out I think is irresponsible. You need to be talking to your commanders in the field. You need to be working with the experts who understand what is going on in those countries, for instance. We need to finish our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. You better believe I want out kids home as soon as we can and safe. But to give that signal that we’re pulling them out is bad public policy and, more importantly, it’s putting our kids lives in jeopardy[…]
He has lost his standing from the standpoint of being a commander-in-chief who has any idea about what’s going on in those theaters. He’s making mistakes that are putting our kids that in theater and I think future issues dealing with whether it’s in the Middle East or the south China Sea with our allies, putting all of that in jeopardy because of this unwavering, or I should say this wavering or this aimless approach to foreign policy which he has.
Some senior military officials have been calling for a drawdown since 2009. It is hard to see how bringing soldiers home jeopardizes their safety. It’s also worth noting that if pulling out troops at the end of 2011 is a signal to the enemy, as Perry claims, it’s President George W. Bush who is the guilty party. Bush signed an agreement with Iraq to withdraw troops by the end of 2011, and Obama is just carrying that out.