WASHINGTON -- Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) condemned President Obama’s handling of the end of the war in Iraq on Sunday, and said the Iraqi government should be more afraid of the United States as American troops prepare to leave the country. Bachmann also insisted that Iraq should reimburse the U.S. for the costs of the war.
“The problem is we've put a lot of deposit into this situation with Iraq,” Bachmann said Sunday on CBS' Face The Nation. “To think that we are so disrespected and they have so little fear of the United States that there would be nothing that we would gain from this -- that's why I called on President Obama to return to the negotiating table."
"The Obama administration has said they got everything they wanted," Bachmann continued. "They got exactly nothing.”
Bachmann also said that Iraq should reimburse the United States for every dollar that has been spent on eight years of war there.
"I believe that Iraq should reimburse the United States fully for the amount of money that we have spent to liberate these people," Bachmann said. "They're not a poor country; they're a wealthy country."
Bachmann's comments come just days after the Obama administration announced it will withdraw all American troops from Iraq by year-end, at the behest of the Iraqi government. Bachmann said Iraq needs more continued U.S. troop involvement to prevent Iran from gaining influence in the region.
Bachmann called the Iraqi government's insistence that American forces be removed from the nation "outrageous," after the eight-year war effort, which destabilized much of the Middle East and resulted in the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians.
"That's the thanks we get after 4,400 lives have been expended?" Bachmann said, referring to the number of American troops who have died in the Iraq war.
Bachmann's views on reimbursement surfaced during last week's Republican presidential debate, when she argued that both Libya and Iraq owed the U.S. money for its military efforts.
"We should look to Iraq and Libya to reimburse us for part of what we have done to liberate these nations," Bachmann said during the debate.
Bachmann, who vocally opposed the Libya war, escalated her war compensation rhetoric on Sunday, saying the Iraqi government should "fully" reimburse the U.S. for the Iraq war costs.
"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, and that's not good," Bachmann said.
According to official government accounting, the Iraq war to date has cost about $700 billion. In 2008, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz pegged the total cost at $3 trillion, including a broader set of costs, such as health care expeditures for returning U.S. veterans.
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