President Barack Obama announced yesterday that the last remaining U.S. troops in Iraq will leave that country by the end of 2011. All the Iowa Democrats in Congress welcomed the news and commended war veterans for their service. Senator Tom Harkin expressed regret only that the end to this "misguided" war "did not come sooner." Representative Bruce Braley (IA-01) similarly described the war's end as "long overdue." Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02) pledged to "closely monitor the safety of our troops" as they leave Iraq. Representative Leonard Boswell (IA-03) called for working "towards this end in Afghanistan as soon as possible."
After the jump I've posted the president's comments on the troop withdrawal as well as the full statements from Harkin, Braley, Loebsack and Boswell. I will update this post if I see comments from Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, Representative Tom Latham (IA-04) or Representative Steve King (IA-05).
Excerpt from President Obama's October 21 statement on withdrawing the last remaining U.S. troops from Iraq:
Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq-tens of thousands of them-will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq-with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America's military efforts in Iraq will end.
Reaction from Senator Tom Harkin:
"The men and women serving in our armed forces have more than succeeded in accomplishing the mission we asked them to do in Iraq. They have served honorably and heroically and they should be commended. I support the President's decision to withdraw the remaining U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of the year.
"This misguided war has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $800 billion dollars and claimed the lives of 3,525 American service members and an untold number of soldiers who are physically and mentally injured. The United States now has a responsibility to ensure that they receive the care they deserve. I am pleased that U.S. involvement has come to an end in Iraq, I only regret it did not come sooner."
Reaction from Representative Bruce Braley:
"The end of US involvement in Iraq is long overdue. For the thousands of Americans directly involved in the war both on its front lines and home front, its legacy is permanent. Some wounds, both physical and mental, will never heal - especially for those who lost loved ones in the war.
"As Americans, we must always remember the sacrifices made by Iraq War veterans and their families and live up to the promises we've made to them."
Reaction from Representative Dave Loebsack:
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after President Obama announced that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year. Loebsack is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and has visited Iraq three times to meet with the troops and be briefed by the commanders on the ground.
"First and foremost, the men and women, and their families, who bravely served in Iraq are owed a debt of gratitude and our unyielding respect and support. Earlier this year, I wrote directly to the President to again urge him to withdraw our troops by the end of this year, and I applaud his announcement today. It's time for the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own country," said Loebsack. "We must focus on growing jobs here at home, and that includes helping our nation's veterans find jobs when they come home. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I will continue to closely monitor the safety of our troops as they complete their responsible withdrawal over the coming months."
Reaction from Representative Leonard Boswell:
"This announcement is welcomed news. Our troops have served honorably and heroically over these years at great cost of lives, however there is little more to be gained by their presence in Iraq. It is time for the Iraqi people to hold each other accountable for their future and success. We must now work towards this end in Afghanistan as soon as possible."