WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tonight responded President Obama’s second address from the Oval Office in which the President discussed the war in Iraq:
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the 1.5 million men and women who answered their nation’s call and have served in Iraq since operations began in 2003. President Obama was wrong to be against the war in the first place, he was incorrect about the surge, and he still fails to recognize the strategic importance of the United States being in Iraq. Our effort to liberate the people of Iraq from the grip of one of the most dangerous and brutal dictators in the world cannot be overstated. In so doing, we have taken steps toward putting Iraq on the road to a democratic form of government that will provide stability to the region.
“When many politicians in this country had counted the war in Iraq as all but lost, President George W. Bush made the decision to surge troops in an effort to get the security situation under control. Many, especially those on the other side of the aisle including the President and Vice President, were vehemently opposed to this approach. They said it would never work, and they decried it as an ill-fated exercise before it even had a chance to begin. Looking back, we see that President Bush made the right decision, and thanks to the hard work of our soldiers, security in Iraq was restored. As we move forward, we owe it to all who served and sacrificed in Iraq to continue to partner with Iraq and the Iraqi people to ensure continued progress toward a democratic and stable Iraq .
“While the United States still has 50,000 combat troops in harm’s way in Iraq, it is misleading for the Commander-in-Chief to declare combat operations over simply to tout a fulfilled campaign promise. With Iraqi Security Forces being increasingly targeted and with a still-to-be-formed Iraqi government, it is premature for President Obama to make this speech from the Oval Office. We must continue to be committed to the people of Iraq as we continue forward as strategic partners.
“As for Afghanistan, President Obama must be willing to dedicate more resources to the Afghanistan front in order to reach the kind of security stability that we have achieved in Iraq.”