Written by Lynn Goya,
One would think, after 8 ½ years of an increasingly expensive and unpopular war, that the Commander in Chief’s declaration that all troops in Iraq would be home before the end of the year would get non-partisan and celebratory support. Cue ticker tape parade. Yet one would be wrong. The President decided to stick to the Bush Administration’s December 31, 2011 withdrawal date after the Iraqi government refused to grant remaining troops immunity from criminal prosecution.
The Washington Post reports that the increasingly fractious Republican Presidential field has found something to unite behind: We should not leave Iraq. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called the decision to declare victory, “an astonishing failure;” Texas Gov. Rick Perry determined that Obama had “put political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment;” Minnesota Congresswoman demanded that Iraq reimburse the U.S. for expenditures; Godfather Pizza ex-CEO called the move “dumb, “complaining that the Commander in Chief failed to consult with his commanders; even Obama’s former ambassador to China called the withdrawal a “mistake.” Even Ron Paul, adamant critic of the U.S. involvement in Iraq snidely quipped to NBC’s Anthony Terrell, “I bet the Embassy doesn’t close down.”
Reaction in Baghdad was also divided, reports the Wall Street Journal. MSNBC gathered reactions across the spectrum in Iraq, from soldiers to families to politicians and found that, while almost everyone is glad the troops are coming home, there is still a lot of fear about the future.
WP also posts a warning by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Iran should not take the withdrawal as a free pass to go. Despite the U.S. withdrawal of combat troops, Iraq is not a Free Pass zone.
The Associated Press discusses how the withdrawal from Iraq may herald a shift in U.S. foreign policy to one that is “markedly different” with far fewer boots on the ground and a shift towards more targeted strike force and robotic actions. Others wonder what the war meant or will mean for the military and foreign policy. But don’t worry, oil companies are still all in.
At a recent military convention (before this week’s announcement), a soldier who just returned from Iraq was asked how the troops over there were feeling. “They don’t want us there, and we just want to come home,” the soldier stated.
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