MN’s delegation reacts to Obama’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq

Several members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation have released statements on President Obama’s declaration that the war in Iraq will end by the end of the year.

DFL Rep. Tim Walz, DFL Rep. Keith Ellison, GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen and GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann have all released statements.

I’ll post additional statements if/when they come in. (Update: GOP Rep. John Kline and DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar also issued statements. The statements are below)

Here’s the statement from Walz:

“The President’s announcement today is welcome news and I am pleased this war is coming to an end. We need to reinvest right here in America, pay down our debt and rebuild our roads and bridges at home.

The brave men and women who have served our nation in uniform have done so admirably and I am incredibly proud of them. Now, more than ever, we need to commit ourselves to making sure they are taken care of when they return. We need to redouble our efforts to get them good health care, get them back to work and reintegrated into their lives.

Let us also pay tribute to those soldiers who will not return home and always keep their families in our thoughts and prayers.”

Here’s the statement from Paulsen:

“This is welcome news for the Minnesota servicemen and women who have been separated from their families — many on multiple tours of duty. Our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen have served bravely and honorably in Iraq, and our country is forever grateful for their service and sacrifice,” said Rep. Paulsen. “We also need to remember our troops who continue to serve in harm’s way around the world and keep them and their families in our prayers.”

Ellison released this statement (along with Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva):

“The President’s announcement is a victory for America and another monumental step toward the end of the disastrous foreign policy of the Bush era. The President is fulfilling a promise to the American people to end this misguided war quickly and responsibly. For nearly a decade, Americans across the country spoke out against this war, and we can now turn the page on history. This is a long overdue victory for not just the people of Iraq, but the Progressive movement.

“As the President fulfills his promise to our country, we must also fulfill our promise to our veterans by ensuring that they and their families receive the benefits they have earned and deserve.”

Here’s a statement from Bachmann (which was released through her campaign for president):

“Today’s announcement that we will remove all of our forces from Iraq is a political decision and not a military one; 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.

“President Obama’s decision represents the end of the era of America’s influence in Iraq and the strengthening of Iran’s influence in Iraq with no plan to counter that influence. We have been ejected from a country by the people that we liberated and that the United States paid for with precious blood and treasure. The administration claims that we got exactly what we needed, but today’s announcement demonstrates otherwise. The United States needed a working democratic partnership in Iraq and we should have demanded that Iraq repay the full cost of liberating them given their rich oil revenues. I call on the president to return to the negotiating table with Iraq and lead from the front and not from weakness in Iraq and in the world.”

Here’s Kline’s statement:

“Without the tireless efforts from our brave sons and daughters in uniform, the drawdown of our troops that started under President Bush and continues under President Obama could not have happened. Minnesota should be proud of its National Guard, whose Red Bulls have played such a pivotal role in ‘Iraqi Freedom.’ And we must never forget our nation’s heroes, those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom. While the progress made has been significant, we must remember we remain at war against Islamist extremists and we continue to keep our troops and their families in our prayers.”

Here’s Klobuchar’s statement:

“I have long supported a military policy in Iraq that focuses on the responsible withdrawal of U.S. troops and the transfer of authority to the Iraqi government. Our troops have shown tremendous courage to get us to this point. The mission of our Minnesota National Guard troops in Kuwait and Iraq to bring our soldiers and equipment home from Iraq is the right one.”

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