Rohrabacher on Iraq: 'That reality should be facing us now'

Whether they're just saying it for political gain or from bad advice, the current crop of GOP presidential candidates are wrong to criticize plans to pull out of Iraq by the end of the year, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) said this week.

First on Twitter on Sunday, then in an interview with the Daily Pilot on Wednesday, Rohrabacher said the military should get out as fast as possible.

"If we're going to get out of Iraq, the sooner the better. I don't understand some of my GOP colleagues & Presidential candidates," Rohrabacher posted on his Twitter account.

Soon after President Obama announced last week that the remaining American troops would leave Iraq in December, with only a few Marines remaining to protect the U.S. Embassy, Republican presidential candidates piled on the criticism.

The withdrawal is part of a timeline then-President George W. Bush established in 2008.

Rohrabacher said the military's surge in Iraq was an expensive failure.

"That reality should be facing us now — that that was the plan. It didn't work," he said Wednesday. "If there's no indication that there's going to be a huge turnaround or a change in outcome to justify more expenditure in money or lives … it's totally unjustified."

Civil war or a failed democracy shouldn't be the U.S. government's concern, the 12-term Congressman said.

"I don't care," Rohrabacher said. "I care more about the lives of the American people and the huge costs incurred by our troops in a country like that. I care more about that than what our withdrawal will do to the stability of that country."

He said the Iraqis should repay the U.S. with deals on their abundant natural resources, like oil, because of the American role in overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

"Whether or not that was worth the price that we paid for their freedom has of yet to be determined," he said.

Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan isn't a lost cause, he said.

Rohrabacher argues that Americans can ensure that Afghanistan doesn't turn into a terrorist safe haven like the country did after it successfully expelled the Russians in the 1980s, with the United States' help.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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