Statement of Senator Barack Obama on Reports that the U.S. and Iraq Have Reached a Tentative Agreement on Troop Withdrawal from Iraq
Chicago, IL (RUSHPRNEWS) August 23, 2008— “I am glad that the Administration has finally shifted to accepting a timetable for the removal of our combat troops from Iraq. Success in Iraq depends on an Iraqi government that is reconciling its differences and taking responsibility for its future, and a timetable is the best way to press the Iraqis to do just that. I welcome the growing convergence around this pragmatic and responsible position.
“This agreement is still draft and vital pieces of it must be finalized, so I will reserve final judgment on the agreement until it is complete. The agreement needs to be carefully reviewed, and must include immunity for U.S. troops and Defense Department personnel from Iraqi jurisdiction. I continue to believe that in consultation with our commanders and the Iraqi government, we can safely redeploy at a pace that removes our combat brigades in 16 months, with a residual force to target remnants of al Qaeda; to protect our service members and diplomats; and to train Iraq’s Security Forces if the Iraqis make political progress.
“Senator McCain has stubbornly focused on maintaining an indefinite U.S presence in Iraq, but events have made his bluster and record increasingly out of touch with reality. While Senator McCain continues to offer unconditional military and economic support for Iraq, I strongly believe that we need to use our leverage with the Iraqi government to ensure a political settlement. In addition to a timetable, we should only train Iraqi Security Forces if Iraq’s leaders reconcile their differences, and we must insist that Iraq invests its $79 billion surplus on rebuilding its own country. It’s time to succeed in Iraq and to honor the sacrifice of our servicemen and women by leaving Iraq to a sovereign Iraqi government.
“Ending the war in Iraq responsibly is in the broader strategic interests of the United States. It’s long past time to drawdown our troop presence and to stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq so that we can increase resources for the mission in Afghanistan, rebuild our military, and invest in our struggling economy at home,” said Senator Obama.