Mitt Romney on The War in Iraq
Governor Romney remained silent on the Iraqi war while in office. He noted that as Governor, it was not his place to comment on the purpose or implementation of the war. During the 2008 election process, he was supportive of the war. He also stated often that once the US made the decision to go into Iraq the initial conflict was handled well, but the situation in Iraq afterwards was under-funded, under-manned, and poorly managed.
When President Bush sought to alter the strategy in Iraq through the surge, Governor Romney was generally supportive, stating that he believed that the situation in Iraq was not lost for good and that some change was necessary.
Early in the election process, Governor Romney expressed support for metrics to judge the success of the war and eventually allow the troops to return home. This was construed as his opponents as support for timetables for withdraw.
In December of 2011, Governor Romney opposed the drawdown of US forces from Iraq stating that it would be looked back upon as a mistake.
Real Clear Politics Interview
In February of 2007, Mitt Romney was interviewed by Real Clear Politics. The interview covered a number of topics, and the war in Iraq was one of those problems.
2007 Campaign Rally
In a March 2007 campaign rally, Governor Romney stated that he supported the surge because walking away would be another mistake. He stated that the US should not have it's military policy dictated by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
You know this. Iraq is just one front in the global war against the violent radical jihadists. We've removed Saddam Hussein, but afterwards, I'm afraid to report that we were underprepared and under-planned, under-managed, and under-manned. But walking away now because of those mistakes, or dividing the country and then walking away would have real and severe risks for America and for our troops. And that's why I support the troop surge, for that reason. And one thing I think that we all can agree on; we shouldn't let Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid dictate our battle strategy to the commanders in the field or to the commander in chief.
South Carolina Debate
On May 15, 2007 Governor Romney participated in the Presidential debate in South Carolina. He stated that it was critical for the US to provide stability for the Iraqi government to emerge and become stable.
New Hampshire Debate
In September of 2007, Governor Romney was asked a question about the surge and Iraq in the New Hampshire Presidential debate.
Des Moines Register Interview
In December of 2007, Governor Romney was interviewed by the Des Moines Register. When asked about Iraq, he stated that he felt that the US was not prepared for dealing with the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and that the civilian effort after the fall was lacking. He expressed support for the surge strategy and noted that plan C may need to be implemented if the surge strategy failed.
When asked about tim tables, Governor Romney opposed steadfast dates for leaving the country, but stated that obvious yard sticks and measurements should be followed.
Boca Raton Debate
In January of 2008 Governor Romney participated in the Presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida. He stated that it was the right idea to go into Iraq, but that the war has been poorly managed since going into the country.
On January 30, 2008 Governor Romney participated in the Presidential debate in California. He stated during the debate that he opposed a hard time-table for withdraw.
Foreign Policy Initiative Interview
In September of 2009, Governor Romney was interviewed by the foreign policy initiative. He spoke briefly about Iraq and the surge and stated that the surge was successful. When speaking about President Obama's first nine months in office from a foreign policy perspective, Governor Romney stated that following.
I must admit there is one thing that is encouraging, and a lot of things that are not encouraging. The one thing that is encouraging is that he did not yank all of our troops out of Iraq. We're in a position where we can be successful there. Our commitment to the surge strategy has worked, and the Iraqi people are able to defend themselves. They did not respond with sectarian violence following the attacks as our troops began to be pulled back. There are encouraging signs in Iraq and so I am glad he did not take precipitous action which a lot of people feared, given what he had said during the primary campaign.
Reaction to the Ending of the War
On December 18, 2011 Governor Romney stated during a campaign stop that did not agree with the removal of the troops from Iraq.
I think we're going to find that this president, by not putting in place a status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqi leadership, has pulled our troops out in a precipitous way and we should have left 10-, 20-, 30,000 personnel there to help transition to the Iraqis' own military capabilities.
Foreign Policy Paper
In November of 2011, Governor Romney issued a foreign policy paper for his 2012 Presidential campaign. One of the nations covered by that paper was Iraq.