Interviews with Americans across the country found little jubilation and much skepticism over President Barack Obama‘s announcement that the Iraq war is over and U.S. troops, for the most part, are coming home.
“I don’t believe it for a second,” Andrew Atkins of St. Louis told Capitol Hill Blue in a telephone interview Saturday. “Obama is lying to save his political ass.”
Susan Haskins of Toledo reflected the same doubts.
“How long has it been since we saw that stupid ‘Mission Accomplished‘ banner on TV? We’ve heard too many lies too many times,” she said.
“I’ll believe it when I see the last American solider leave that Godforsaken country,” says Kevin Harman of Anderson, Indiana, who served three Marine tours in Iraq. “We’re going to leave behind all that money and infrastructure that my brothers paid for in blood? Yeah, right.”
Obama Friday declared the Iraq war over and said troops currently deployed there will come come by year’s end. But Obama couched his announcement with statements that “American presence” will remain.
“As long as one American remains at risk there the war is not over,” says Sheryl Lester of Atlanta, who served as a corpsman for two tours. “You can’t be a little bit pregnant.”
Many of the doubts expressed by those interviewed appeared to believe that troops will have to remain in Iraq and more may have to return because of instability in the country.
“As soon as trouble flares, we’ll be back in there and more Americans will die for nothing,” said Carl Andrews, a Marine who left the Corps after his third deployment to Iraq.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to support those doubts Sunday when she said American presence would “remain strong” in the region and that the American military would continue to remain in-country for “training and support.”
“No one should miscalculate America’s resolve and commitment to helping support the Iraqi democracy,” Clinton said on CNN’s “State of the Union” news talk show. “We have paid too high a price to give the Iraqis this chance.”