U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon
Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released a statement Thursday in which he said he believes the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq was “too precipitous.”
McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, said the troop withdrawal unfolded the way it did for political rather than strategic reasons.
His statement, issued on behalf of the GOP-controlled committee, follows:
“Today we transition to a new phase in the relationship with our ally, Iraq. Their journey to independence and freedom has not been an easy one, and it has come at a very high price. I hope, though, that the price paid for freedom, by Americans and Iraqis alike, will make their liberty all the more dear.
“I would not have conducted our withdrawal in this manner. I believe it is too precipitous, and calculated on a political and not a strategic timeline. I believe that President Obama should have engaged President Maliki earlier and been willing to heed our commanders’ recommendations concerning the size and need for a credible U.S. force. I believe this could have been accomplished.
“To all the men and women of the military who have sacrificed so much to create a functioning democracy where there was once oppression, brutality, and safety for those who would do us harm, I thank you. You should be proud of your service to freedom.”
One day earlier, McKeon lauded the 283-136 House vote in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act, saying:
“It has been an honor to lead the Congress in providing our men and women in uniform the resources they need to keep us all safe. I am proud of the way members from both parties and both chambers have come together to produce this serious piece of legislation. Together, we have demanded more accountability from nations like Iran, we have aided our forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we look to emerging issues, like proliferation and cyber threats. We have assured that the Department of Defense will be a more efficient steward of the taxpayer dollar and we have ensured that as we fight terrorists around the world, we also protect the civil liberties of Americans at home.
“Soon, Members of Congress will leave Washington to spend the holidays with our families and loved ones. For thousands of Americans deployed around the world that homecoming may still be months away. As they serve in freedom’s cause abroad, I hope they will see the passage of this conference report as the clear signal of support it is. “