Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement today regarding President Obama’s announcement about the U.S. withdrawing all troops from Iraq by the end of 2011:
“The surge in Iraq ordered by President Bush and implemented by General David Petraeus, which began in 2007 over the objections of nearly every elected Democrat including then-Senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, brought security and stability to Iraq. This success enabled the Iraqi government to focus on training and equipping their own forces so that they could take the lead in providing the security for their own country. The competence, bravery and sacrifices made on the part of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces working with their Iraqi partners have enabled this transition.
“A democratic Iraq that is an ally with the U.S. in the War on Terrorism is a tremendous victory that will yield strategic dividends for decades to come. However, I am concerned that the announced full withdrawal of U.S. forces by the end of this year will place the stability and security of Iraq at risk and jeopardize the gains U.S. and coalition forces have made over the past several years. I am disappointed that U.S. and Iraqi governments could not agree on a framework that would have allowed several thousand U.S. troops to stay in Iraq to combat Al Qaeda in Iraq and continue the training mission that is vital to Iraq’s future. I urge the Administration not to allow today’s announcement to become an obstacle to further negotiations on an enduring security relationship with Iraq.
“We should remain open to renewing discussions to bring back a robust U.S. force at the Iraqi government’s request that can do counterterrorism and support the Iraqi Security Forces. No doubt the Iranian government will seek to capitalize on this development and further extend their nefarious influence into Iraq.”