At the Republican presidential debate at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire on Saturday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that the U.S. should not have withdrawn its forces from Iraq.
“I would send troops back into Iraq,” he said. “Because I will tell you, I think we start talking with the Iraqi individuals there. The idea that we allow the Iranians to come back into Iraq and take over that country, with all of the treasure — in both blood and money — that we have spent in Iraq, because this president wants to kowtow to his liberal leftist base and move out those men and women.”
“He could have renegotiated that time frame,” Perry continued. “I think it is a huge error for us. We are going to see Iran, in my opinion, move back in at literally the speed of light. They’re going to move back in, and all the work we’ve done, every young man that has lost his life in that country will have been for nothing because we’ve got a president who does not understand what’s going on in that region.”
The U.S. completed their withdrawal from Iraq on December 18, nearly nine years after the Bush administration wrongly declared that former dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to the region.
The withdrawal was the final crux of an agreement struck by President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2008. Efforts to keep a U.S. military training mission in Iraq beyond 2011 collapsed when the two sides failed to agree on a deal to guarantee U.S. troops immunity from prosecution.
Watch video, courtesy of the Associated Press, below: