WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today responded to President Obama’s announcement that no Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) had been reached with the Iraqi government, resulting in all U.S. forces being pulled out of Iraq by the end of this year: 

“I am disappointed in the Obama Administration’s failure to negotiate a well-planned transition in Iraq that would have extended U.S. force presence beyond the end of the year in a role that would protect our hard fought security gains while helping the Iraqi people secure their own country. Of course we all want our men and women out of harm’s way, but at what cost?  Internal and external threats including corruption, governance, militant and splinter groups, an ongoing insurgency, disputed internal boundaries and a strong Iranian influence will continue to challenge the newly trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces.   

“According to our commanders on the ground, there are still gaps in these Iraqi Security Forces that cannot be closed before the end of 2011.  Gaps in logistics, maintenance, intelligence, special operations and airspace control will impact their ability to provide security for their people and their country.  Both U.S. and Iraqi military commanders have said U.S. forces should remain to help fill these gaps. By failing to negotiate a continued presence of U.S. forces beyond 2011, President Obama is jeopardizing Iraq’s long term stability, a risk that threatens to undo all that our forces have fought and died to gain.”