Let’s talk about our mission there. This is not just about strategy & allies. It’s not about oil. It’s not about just the economy. It’s not just about standing up for the fact that we’ve been there for a long time. It’s about human lives. What we’re doing in Iraq relates to protecting the lives of American citizens, here, around the world. It relates to lives throughout the world. It relates to dignity & freedom. We’re in Iraq because we want to make sure that Iraq does not become what Afghanistan was under the Taliban: a place that they could recruit and train and launch attacks against us on 9/11, and other attacks throughout the world. The last thing America could stand for would be to have Iraq become an Afghanistan. Fortunately, the surge is working. It’s going to keep that from happening. We’re going to have stability and security there and American lives will be saved by virtue of the extraordinary sacrifice of American servicemen.
It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now. It was not well managed in after the takedown of Saddam Hussein and his military. That was done brilliantly, an extraordinary success. But in the years that followed, we were undermanaged, underprepared, underplanned, understaffed, and then we come into the phase that we have now. The plan that Bush and General Petraeus put together is working. It’s changing lives there. Perhaps most importantly, it’s making sure that al Qaeda and no other group like them is becoming a superpower, if you will, in the communities, and having a safe haven from which they launch attacks against us. It’s critical for us. The most important issue is what do we do now, and their just run and retreat regardless of the consequences is going to be a real problem for them when they face a debate with a Republican on the stage.
Curiously, Romney has also argued that the President should have "put in place a status of forces agreement" with the Iraqi government that would have guaranteed immunity for U.S. troops to remain there indefinitely
Romney supported the invasion of Iraq and opposed ending the war last year. In December, as Obama welcomed home our troops from Iraq after almost nine years of conflict, Romney said, "It is my view that the withdrawal of all of our troops from Iraq is unfortunate. It's more than unfortunate, I think it's tragic."
Governor Romney remained silent on the Iraqi war while in office. He noted that as Governor, it was not his place to comment on the purpose or implementation of the war. During the 2008 election process, he was supportive of the war. He also stated often that once the US made the decision to go into Iraq the initial conflict was handled well, but the situation in Iraq afterwards was under-funded, under-manned, and poorly managed.
As Romney considers possible running mates, it's worth remembering that he pointed to Dick Cheney as the "kind of person I'd like to have" working with him. Likewise, the policies that Romney has advocated -- like indefinitely leaving our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example -- are continuations of the Bush-Cheney doctrine, version 2.0.
The announcement triggered some foolish criticism from neo-conservatives — who remain shamefully unapologetic for their role in unleashing this war — accused Mr. Obama of abandoning Iraq now. Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate, said Mr. Obama “unnecessarily put at risk” hard-won victories.
Romney says that keeping the U.S. in Iraq is the best option for minimizing casualties and maintaining a democratic government in Iraq.
Reports indicate that our commanders in the field recommended a 14,000 to 18,000-strong residual force as the minimum necessary to carry out our transition mission. In light of these developments, it is impossible to forecast what conditions in Iraq will confront the next American president in January 2013. Mitt Romney will enter office seeking to use the broad array of our foreign-policy tools — diplomatic, economic, and military — to establish a lasting relationship with Iraq and guarantee that Baghdad remains a solid partner in a volatile and strategically vital region.
The Obama administration, however, has made decisions that threaten to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. President Obama's astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq and his decision to pull out all U.S. troops by the end of 2011 have unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women.