As the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq moves forward, a new poll shows that a resounding percentage of Americans agree with President Barack Obama's move.
Gallup's Wednesday report finds that three-quarters of all Americans approve of Obama's decision to withdraw troops by the end of the year. On party lines, 96 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents support the president's stance. Even on the Republican side of the aisle, 43 percent of the 992 individuals surveyed sided with the president.
Those figures fail to line up with recent criticisms levied by GOP candidates. When Obama announced that he was drawing down the military presence in Iraq, GOP hopeful Mitt Romney cast the move as a political decision.
"The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government. The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq."
Republican rival Rick Perry struck a similar tone, questioning the merits of Obama's military and security judgment:
"I'm deeply concerned that President Obama is putting political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment by announcing an end to troop level negotiations and a withdrawal from Iraq by year's end. The President was slow to engage the Iraqis and there’s little evidence today's decision is based on advice from military commanders."
Michele Bachmann joined the concerned chorus, calling Obama's choice a failure to secure an agreement with Iraq.
It represents the complete failure of President Obama to secure an agreement with Iraq for our troops to remain there to preserve the peace and demonstrates how far our foreign policy leadership has fallen. In every case where the United States has liberated a people from dictatorial rule, we have kept troops in that country to ensure a peaceful transition and to protect fragile growing democracies. We will now have fewer troops in Iraq than we have in Honduras -- despite a costly and protracted war.
A slew of Republican senators were also among the critics, pressing Congress for a hearing on the Iraq withdrawal. Eleven members of the Armed Services Committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), wrote a letter cautioning against the move. They warned that the complete exit of American troops would be viewed as a "strategic victory by our enemies in the Middle East." Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), also signed the letter.
Objections aside, Obama stood firm on his promise of ending the U.S. military presence in Iraq. During his Oct. 21 announcement, the president turned to rebuilding America as his current priority.
"After a decade of war, the nation we need to build and the nation we will build is our own," Obama said.
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