This is a decisive moment in the history of America’s relationship with Iraq, and with all of the countries of the broader Middle East. This is a moment when the substantial influence that we have long enjoyed in that part of the world could be receding–in fact, is receding.
We cannot allow that to be our nation’s future. We must continue to lead. We must not let short-term political gains dictate our longer-term goals. We need to continue to shape a freer, more just, and more secure future both for Iraq and for the peoples across the Middle East, for it is in our own national security interests to do so.
Over 4,000 brave young Americans gave their lives in this conflict. I hope and I pray that these decisions–made in large part for political reasons–I pray that their sacrifice is not in vain. I hope that their families will not mourn the day that their sons and daughters went out to fight for freedom for the Iraqi people.
Unfortunately, unfortunately, it is clear that this decision of a complete pullout of United States troops from Iraq was dictated by politics and not our national security interests.
I believe that history will judge this president’s leadership with the scorn and disdain that it deserves.