Poll: Majority back Obama’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq

posted at 3:25 pm on November 3, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Condoleezza Rice might say that no one in the Bush administration seriously thought the U.S. would withdraw from Iraq by 2011 — and critics might point out that Barack Obama made the decision to withdraw less to fulfill a campaign promise (as he has since spun it) than because negotiation failures left him with no other choice — but the American people still by and large approve of the troops coming home.

According to a new Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans approve of the Iraqi troop withdrawal. Not surprisingly, Democrats are more pleased with the president’s decision than Republicans: 96 percent of Democrats enthusiastically endorse the withdrawal, while just 43 percent of Republicans do. Independents favor withdrawal by a whopping margin of 77 percent to 17 percent.

Gallup speculates Republicans oppose the withdrawal less because they want the troops to remain in Iraq as because they dislike the concept of a timetable for withdrawal, in general:

Thus, Republicans’ disapproval of Obama’s withdrawal policy may partly be influenced by their more general opposition to setting hard deadlines for withdrawing troops, rather than an actual desire to keep U.S. troops in Iraq. Their opposition to his policy may also be related to their broader disapproval of Obama – 9% of Republicans have approved of the job Obama is doing in each of the last three months.

Indeed, the administration’s inept handling of negotiations to extend the U.S. presence in Iraq ought to give Republicans (and Democrats) little reason to approve of the job Obama did there. Some have argued that the Iraqi government’s position in the negotiations proves that Iraq has at last begun to act as a sovereign nation — beholden neither to the United States nor to Iran. But Iraq was able to withhold immunity for any residual U.S. troops only because the U.S. “was eager to exit Iraq and lacked the stomach to confront Iran,” as The Heritage Foundation’s James Phillips put it.

Thus, the ultimate outcome of the discussions between Washington and Baghdad — the complete withdrawal — puts U.S. interests abroad at risk, not least because it leaves a partial power vacuum for Iran to exploit.

Security should never rest on political calculations: Security interests justify broken campaign promises, as well as acting in the face of popular disapproval. Republican members of Congress have criticized the administration for its decision to withdraw — and, in light of this poll, that criticism appears especially important. Far easier for them to acquiesce to the administration’s decision to benefit from the popularity of it. Far better for them to stand up for U.S. interests abroad.


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Few know that Obama will just move them to Iran.

Schadenfreude on November 3, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Security interests justify broken campaign promises, as well as acting in the face of popular disapproval.

well, he did just that in failing to close gitmo. Let’s see how he does with withdrawing from Iraq. Color me skeptical based upon his track record.

ted c on November 3, 2011 at 3:30 PM

the American people still by and large approve of the troops coming home.

They approved of US troops coming home from South Vietnam circa 1973, too. It took until the NVA’s 1975 offensive for them to really regret it.

teke184 on November 3, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Pulling out all the stops.

Few know that Obama will just move them to Iran.

Schadenfreude on November 3, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Too bad we couldn’t have stayed and just met them in Iraq as they take over.

a capella on November 3, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Nobody ever accused independents of being rational, y’know. I would love to see the polling results when it comes time to lay blame for the implosion and radicalization of Iraq.

Idiots.

OhioCoastie on November 3, 2011 at 3:34 PM

As I’ve been saying for a long time, if our fiscal situation demanded a choice between fighting the wars we’re in and paying for equipment improvement and a strong future force posture, load ‘em up and bring ‘em home.

This ten-year-war business we’ve been in, with Vietnam and Afghanistan and Iraq, is ridiculous.

JEM on November 3, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Bring them home!!!
Put them on our borders and replace every TSA screener with someone who actually knows what it means to protect this amazing country.

bridgetown on November 3, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Compared to having no immunity from prosecution, I’d prefer them home.

However, I see that as a symptom of the weakness of Obama.

John Deaux on November 3, 2011 at 3:36 PM

The optics are that they are being kicked out by the Iraqis.

Another Obama FAIL.

Christien on November 3, 2011 at 3:43 PM

I want them home, personally, but with my mind I believe we needed to have a presence there for a few more years.

Now if Obama did this for political calculation, it is not even going to make a blip on the screen for him because the focus is on the economy. And if Iraq becomes an Iranian proxy state, it will all be downers for the WH, he will own this. I shutter to think how Islamists would be emboldened around the world if that happens.

mwbri on November 3, 2011 at 3:44 PM

This is a political promise, like everything else he does it’s politically motivated. Let’s see if they are out by the end of the year, I don’t think so. Just like Gitmo closing.

rjoco1 on November 3, 2011 at 3:44 PM

I agree. Bring them home. If we have to invade the place again, let’s do it. It’s far easier to invade it and then leave than it is to invade it and hold it. I’m sure Rumsfeld would agree. We do great with kicking the door in and shock n’ awe stuff, but the latter aspects, eehhh, not so much. Sun Tzu said it himself that a perpetually deployed military will bleed a country dry of resources. Either we feed those needs out of the middle east, or from America. Well, we can see where that is going.

ted c on November 3, 2011 at 3:44 PM

bring them home, fly them into oakland with some bradleys, strykers, and M1A1 abrams…..and let them parade down the streets of ….Oakland.

/

ted c on November 3, 2011 at 3:46 PM

If the ROE will not let us win…

… bring them all home.

Seven Percent Solution on November 3, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Hopefully Mookie will hold off on attacking the troops while they head for the borders but I can guarantee you in the first part of next year all hell is going to break out in Iraq as al-Sadr backed by the Iranians makes his power play. Why we didn’t put a .30 caliber hole in his head when we had the chance all those years ago I’ll never understand, but then again I never understood why we stopped out assault in 91 during Desert Storm. Nobody believed us then when we said we would be back and I bet those same people are saying Iraq won’t be a problem without our troops there.

Just A Grunt on November 3, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Count me in the 75% too.

Now can we do the same with the troops in Korea, Japan and Germany? I think 60 years is long enough.

angryed on November 3, 2011 at 4:09 PM

if we change the name to #occupyiraq do you think the polls will change???
/

ted c on November 3, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Far better for them to stand up for U.S. interests abroad.

U.S. interests do not lay in staying in Iraq serving muslims in perpetuity. Obama more than doubled the number of troops in Afcrapistan over what Bush, who negotiated the American withdrawal from Iraq with Maliki btw, had there. How many American troops must be in Islamic states losing life and limb, and for how many decades, to satisfy you anyway?

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on November 3, 2011 at 4:19 PM

If we’d stop meddling in the affairs of other countries and trying to be the police of the world, we would not have these “security” concerns.

Our military should be for national defense, and our foreign relations should be trade.

woodNfish on November 3, 2011 at 4:21 PM

This explains why he’s doing it.

forest on November 3, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Condoleezza Rice might say that no one in the Bush administration seriously thought the U.S. would withdraw from Iraq by 2011

Clueless Condi is a moron who thinks muslims are just like blacks in Birmingham during her childhood.

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on November 3, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy principles:

“Our experience in Lebanon led to the adoption by the administration of a set of principles to guide America in the application of military force abroad, and I would recommend it to future Presidents. The policy we adopted included these principles:
1. The United States should not commit its forces to military action overseas unless the cause is vital to our national interest.
2. If the decision is made to commit our forces to combat abroad, it must be done with the clear intent and support needed to win. It should not be a halfway or tentative commitment, and there must be clearly defined and realistic objectives.
3. Before we commit our troops to combat, there must be reasonable assurance that the cause we are fighting for and the actions we take will have the support of the American people and Congress.
4. Even after all these other tests are met, our troops should be committed to combat abroad only as a last resort, when no other choice is available.” – Ronald Reagan

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on November 3, 2011 at 4:25 PM

This is just another “Vietnam” syndrome . . . citizens have no idea if this is the right or wrong approach, they’re simply are tired of it and want out. In the final outcome it probably won’t matter if the stayed or left.

rplat on November 3, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Do your homework Tina. This wasn’t Obama’s withdrawal timetable. The timetable was set in an earlier US Iraqi treaty which had a deadline for the US presence in Iraq.

lexhamfox on November 3, 2011 at 4:52 PM

It is truly stunning to see how many short-sighted people there are on the right.

Connie on November 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Majority back Obama’s decision to abide long-standing treaty terms and withdraw troops from Iraq.

Lets get it right. Obama made no decision. It was made for him. By others. A long time a ago. By much people better than at him at negotiating.

He did, however, fail to convince Iraq to allow them to stay longer. That means we’ll have to back. Again. Shooting.

BobMbx on November 3, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Count me in the 75% too.

Now can we do the same with the troops in Korea, Japan and Germany? I think 60 years is long enough.

angryed on November 3, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Concur, except for the Japan option…

The Japanese forward bases and ports are just too important since we lost our bases in the Philippines…

Khun Joe on November 3, 2011 at 4:56 PM

They are the 99%. Pack up the 1% and bring them home.

hanzblinx on November 3, 2011 at 5:02 PM

I’m honestly sad and ambivalent about the pull-out.

Under a different president, the good reasons for maintaining a presence in Iraq would be handled well, and the troops left there would have a properly-designed mission and the back-up they needed from the White House.

Under Obama, there is a limit to how useful a continuing US presence would be. It is very painful to watch the consequences of political ambivalence as they unfold in Afghanistan, and it would be equally painful in Iraq. I hate to see the progress achieved through the blood of our troops sold down the river in Iraq, but I’m not sure it would be any better to watch the situation deteriorate with more troops on the ground there.

The timing is bad in Iraq, since prior agreements have made a decision necessary now, as opposed to some time after January 2013. It might have been possible for us to hang on there until we had a new president, if there had been no decision point scheduled for this fall. But there was.

J.E. Dyer on November 3, 2011 at 5:18 PM

It is truly stunning to see how many short-sighted people there are on the right.

Connie on November 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Do you want US troops in Iraq 50 years from now? Because if the idea is we keep troops there until Iraq becomes “stable”, we will never leave Iraq. That part of the world will always be fighting. With or without us there. Why spend the money and blood to try to keep a peace between people that will never get along?

angryed on November 3, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Under a different president…

J.E. Dyer on November 3, 2011 at 5:18 PM

‘Nuff said.

Fallon on November 3, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Poll: Majority of Americans are clueless about foreign policy and international affairs.

Shocka.

hillbillyjim on November 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM

When Iran takes over Iraq’s oil fields or Iraq becomes a client state of Iran tell me how much joy we will get out of our precipitous withdrawal with our tails between our legs.

eaglewingz08 on November 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

How many “informed” Americans are aware that Pock-ee-ston is on the verge of being the nexus of the next huge crisis? How many know that they are a nucular power? How many know who, and more importantly, what, is the ISI?

Foreign policy cannot be conducted with polls, nor should it be altered by sticking a wet finger in the wind.

hillbillyjim on November 3, 2011 at 6:43 PM

We have bases to attack Iran and we leave just as they get nuclear weapons. Stupid.

tomas on November 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

bridgetown on November 3, 2011 at 3:36 PM

You need to study up on what you’re allowed to use the US Military for.

hawkdriver on November 3, 2011 at 6:56 PM


This time table is the Bush time table with Iraq by their choice and not a specific Obama choice

HAGGS99 on November 3, 2011 at 7:14 PM

If the ROE will not let us win…

… bring them all home.

Seven Percent Solution on November 3, 2011 at 3:56 PM

I think we have already won, no one in that country or any other has stopped our military from achieving a military objective. That surely doesn’t make us losers.

But I agree with your sentiment, if the ROE blow, it’s time to go. Current ROE put our men and women at needless risk of dismemberment or death.

Hog Wild on November 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM

I don’t care who does it, bring them home now. All of them – not just the troops in Iraq.

Nelsen on November 3, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Less than 40 replies? I thought this crowd cared about human life. A U.S. Servicemember who cannot not return fire unless fired upon? You are just delaying abortion for 25 years. Feel better now?

You people have no clue. I crossed the Kuwait minefield on the 6th wave with 10 rounds issued by the government who sent me there. If I had ran into a bunch of Iraqi’s who decided to fight, I was a government supported abortion at 28 years old. Lucky for me, the Iraqi’s I ran into wanted to surrender.

When I had to return in 2003, I had my own supply of ammo. The government gave me the gun and suprise, 10 rounds. It was better the second time around, because I brought my own rounds and increased my chance of survival.

Hog Wild on November 3, 2011 at 11:52 PM

Hey Tina. How many times have you served in Iraq or Afghanistan?

How many families have you seen broken apart because of these pointless, unconstitutional wars?

Wives cheating on husbands, children left without fathers because of deaths and/or constant deployments, widows, and on and on. I’ve served in Iraq numerous times and am in Afghanistan right now. These wars DO NOT help our national security but make us less safe.

These neo-cons DO NOT care about our families because if they did they would understand that wars destroy families. No true conservative can really be pro-war. It is contrary to the small government, family values philosophy.

RightXBrigade on November 4, 2011 at 2:47 AM

They approved of US troops coming home from South Vietnam circa 1973, too. It took until the NVA’s 1975 offensive for them to really regret it.

Who regretted getting our boys out of another countries war? I don’t know any mothers who would regret their sons coming home or children regretting their fathers coming home or wives regretting their husbands coming home.

You have spoken like a true chicken hawk. Congratulations!

RightXBrigade on November 4, 2011 at 2:49 AM