Entries in Iraq (24)


Leaked Emails Dampen Support for Obama's Iraqi Ambassador Pick

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As a former national security staffer for President George W. Bush, President Obama's nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Brett McGurk, was supposed to garner bipartisan support for his confirmation.  But leaked emails of McGurk wooing a female Wall Street Journal reporter -- referencing favors of access and information -- have alarmed many senators on the Foreign Relations Committee, sources tell ABC News.

"Overnight, support for him has cratered," says a Republican staffer on the committee.

Already, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Olka., canceled a meeting with McGurk over this and another allegation, refusing to get together until the nominee answers questions about these emails and what they mean.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


On Iraq War Anniversary, First Lady Solicits Veterans to Campaign

Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama, whose advocacy for veterans and their families has defined her tenure in the White House, is now appealing to the constituency for political support for a second Obama term.

In a new campaign Web video pegged to the one-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, Obama touts her husband’s “promises kept” to veterans and solicits new members to the group “Veterans and Military Families for Obama,” which is tasked with mobilizing voters and collecting campaign cash.

“Nine years later, we remember those who gave their lives and honor the sacrifice of all the brave women and men who served our country,” Obama says. “In 2008, Barack made a promise that as president he would bring the Iraq war to a responsible end. He kept his word.”

The first lady says President Obama has done “everything we can” to support veterans as they transition to civilian life, including boosting the Veterans Affairs budget, increasing access to health care, expanding job training programs and enacting new tax credits for businesses that hire wounded service members.

“I hope you’ll join me in standing up for all those who have served. Visit to get involved and to learn about all the ways your president is working to support veterans and military families,” she says.

Monday night the first lady will appear on Late Show with David Letterman to promote her Joining Forces initiative and her plans for its upcoming one-year anniversary in April.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: Most Americans Approve of Obama's Military Tactics

Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama is drawing strength from an unexpected area as he girds for his re-election campaign, benefiting from military and anti-terrorism policies that have been controversial in some quarters, but are broadly popular with the public overall.

Eighty-three percent of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of Obama’s use of unmanned drones against terrorist suspects, 78 percent back the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and 70 percent favor keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention center open -- the latter, a reversal by Obama from his 2008 campaign position in which he assailed the prison and vowed to close it.

Strength of sentiment also is very much on the positive side.  Strong approval far outpaces strong disapproval, by 55 points on drones (59-4 percent), 47 points on troop withdrawal (56-9 percent) and 29 points on keeping Gitmo running (42-13 percent).

Two-thirds in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, also favor the use of unmanned drones specifically against American citizens in other countries who are terrorist suspects.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Back to Iraq? Twitter Ignites Over Rick Perry’s Suggestion

Win McNamee/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Rick Perry‘s attention-grabbing comment that troops should be sent back to Iraq is getting traction on Twitter.

According to BlueFin Labs, Perry’s comment in Saturday night’s ABC News debate brought about 5,800 messages on Twitter.

That number is just short of the 5,900 prompted by the exchange between Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich over Gingrich’s lack of military service.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Perry Slams Obama Over US Troop Withdrawal, Parade

ABC News(URBANDALE, Iowa) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused President Obama of putting politics ahead of troops at an early morning stop in Iowa Wednesday, criticizing the president for not holding a welcome home parade as the final soldiers returned from Iraq this month.

“As a veteran, as the commander-in-chief of our forces in Texas, some 20,000 young men and women who’ve been deployed multiple times, who I’ve had the opportunity and the great privilege to go visit in their theaters and welcome them home, have sent them off with ceremonies, it really disturbs me that nearly after nine years of war in Iraq, that this president wouldn’t welcome home our many heroes with a simple parade in their honor,” Perry told a crowd of 200 caucus goers at the Westside Conservative Club breakfast at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale.  “Mr. President, our soldiers come first and it comes before party politics.  We need to welcome our soldiers home, give them that parade.  Give them that pat on the back.  Tell them thank you for the freedom that we have in this country.”

Perry has long criticized Obama’s decision to disclose an end date for pulling U.S. troops in Iraq, arguing that the president put political expediency ahead of the safety of American soldiers.

“Most importantly you don’t tell the enemy what your timetable is going to be,” Perry told reporters in October, shortly after Obama set the deadline.  “This administration has signaled, telegraphed its intentions all too often, and that’s just unacceptable.  The last thing that you want to do is put those men and women’s lives in peril, and I think that’s what the president’s done by making a political statement to his base that he’s going to be out of Iraq on a date certain.”

The Texas governor also railed against the president for requesting a $1 trillion hike in the debt ceiling along with slamming his healthcare plan, saying “Obamacare is going to destroy healthcare in this country.”

Perry has three more events in Iowa Wednesday afternoon -- two meet and greets in Indianola and Pella, and a town hall in Oskaloosa.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney Talks Iraq

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney said he is a “concerned” about what may happen in Iraq following the troop withdrawal and said that President Barack Obama will be “vulnerable” when defending his economic policies during the general election in a wide-ranging interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

In his first Sunday morning talk show appearance in nearly two years, Romney told Wallace that while he has a very “high threshold,” when it comes to sending U.S. troops into combat, he has reservations about Obama’s removal of troops from Iraq.

“I think we’re going to find that this president—by not putting in place a status in forces agreement with the Iraqi leadership—has pulled our troops out in a precipitous way and we should have left 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 personnel there to help transition to the Iraqis’ own military capabilities. I’m very concerned in this setting. I hope it works out. But I’m concerned.”

The Obama campaign responded to Romney’s remarks about Iraq, telling ABC News: “While he did not outline a mission for them in his foreign policy agenda, Governor Romney has made clear that he would leave our troops in Iraq indefinitely.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Meets with Iraqi Prime Minister as War Draws to a Close

White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- With U.S. troops set to withdraw from Iraq at the end of the month, President Obama will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the White House on Monday to discuss the end of the war.

Obama and Maliki will hold bilateral meetings in the Oval Office in the morning before facing the media at a joint news conference at the White House.  The president and Maliki will later participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

The White House will likely use Maliki’s visit to highlight the president’s keeping his campaign promise to end the war responsibly and promote Obama’s foreign policy successes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Experts Agree with Ron Paul’s Controversial Foreign Policy

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ron Paul is often chided by his Republican opponents for his extreme views on American foreign policy.  His calls for ending all foreign wars and shutting hundreds of military bases across the globe have drawn howls from his GOP rivals, who have labeled the moves irresponsible and naïve.

His campaign pledge of cutting all foreign aid and withdrawing U.S. participation in the World Trade Organization and the United Nations has been at odds with even the most conservative members of his own party.

Yet, as voting day in Iowa and New Hampshire draws near, Paul, the Congressman from Texas, is finding support for his non-interventionist positions from a growing number of foreign policy experts.

“He’s attacking our rich lazy friends, why is that not more popular,” said Harvey Sapolsky, emeritus professor of public policy and organization at MIT.  He backs Paul’s calls for reducing America’s military budget, arguing that much of it is used to defend wealthy nations’ security.

A huge, Cold War-era global presence -- with hundreds of overseas military bases -- isn’t necessary now that the Soviet threat is over and communism has collapsed, Sapolsky said.

“It’s not in America’s interest,” said Sapolsky, who added that despite the drumbeat in the media over the fear of terrorism, America is the safest it has ever been in its history.

Christopher Preble, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, is another foreign policy expert who agrees that the United States is extraordinarily secure due to its geography and nuclear weapons, and doesn’t need a huge global presence.

He also argued that the United States’ military is being used in overseas conflicts with little or no national interest, specifically pointing to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Preble gave Paul credit for being one of the few outspoken critics of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Contenders Lambast US Troop Withdrawal from Iraq

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Veering away from the economy and other domestic issues that have been their chief focus, the GOP presidential contenders on Sunday blasted a slated Dec. 31 pull-out of all but 150 U.S. troops from Iraq as a capitulation to the Iraqi government that imperils the still tenuous region.

Referring to the Iraqi government's refusal to shield any remaining U.S. troops from prosecution in Iraqi courts, Michele Bachmann said on Sunday that the Iraqis "disrespected" the very country that had overthrown their former dictator, Saddam Hussein.

She equated the coming pull-out with being "kicked out," and said Iraq should repay the United States the $700 billion it has spent waging war there.

"They're not a poor country.  They're a wealthy country," the Minnesota Congresswoman said on CBS' Face the Nation.

"I think that they need to do that, because what we will be leaving behind is a nation that is very fragile and will be subject to dominance by Iran and their influence in the region," she said.  "That's not good."

"It's going to leave a big vacuum in Iraq," former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain said on Face the Nation.

"We've lost the battle in Iraq with the Iraqi government," former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said on Face the Nation.  "We've lost this sphere of influence that we had."

Dismissing the GOP attack as disingenuous, Secretary of State Clinton countered on ABC's This Week With Christiane Amanpour that the withdrawal deadline was set before President Obama took office.

"Remember that it was President Bush who set the timetable in motion by agreeing with the Iraqis that all troops would be out by the end of this year," she said.  "And, of course, President Obama promised the American people that the troops would be out by the end of this year."

Despite the Republicans' accusations that the United States would be abandoning Iraq and leaving the door open for Iran to wield its influence there, Clinton said there would still be a strong U.S. presence in the region, and dialogue and support for Iraq would not end.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry Talks Iraq and His ‘Love Affair’ With Guns

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(MERRILL, Iowa) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Saturday he would never announce a date for a troop withdrawal from Iraq, the way President Obama did, but one thing he didn’t care to keep secret was what he called his “long love affair” with guns.

Perry, speaking before heading off for a pheasant hunt with Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, at Loess Hills Hunting Preserve in Merrill, Iowa, implied that Obama may be putting American troops at risk by announcing that there will be a full U.S. withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the year.

“Most importantly you don’t tell the enemy what your timetable is going to be,” Perry said. ”This administration has signaled, telegraphed its intentions all too often, and that’s just unacceptable."

An avid hunter and strong defender of the second amendment, Perry shared his history with guns and hunting, calling it a “love affair” he developed at a young age.

“It was a long love affair with a boy and his gun that turned into a man and his gun, and it turned into a man and his son and his daughter and their guns,” he said. “It’s, I think, one of the great American traditions is taking your family hunting."

Perry refused to elaborate on his new economic plan, which will feature a flat tax proposal, that he is scheduled to unveil Tuesday in South Carolina. But he repeated the attack he launched last week at the debate in Las Vegas on Mitt Romney for hiring of a lawn service company that employed illegal immigrants, saying that fueled the problem of illegal immigration in this country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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