Sen. Webb issued the following statement a short while ago.
After more than seven years of operations and countless rounds of troop rotations, I am heartened today by the President’s confirmation of the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq and his stated intention to withdraw all our troops by the end of 2011. Although our residual force of 50,000 will continue to perform hazardous duties during the year ahead, today’s transition is an important milestone.
More after the “flip”
As I have said many times, we went to war in Iraq recklessly, and little has happened since 2003 that was not both predictable and predicted. The war’s costs to our nation have been staggering-chief among them, the lives of thousands of our brave men and women as well as thousands more who have been wounded or injured in the service of our country. The effects of past rotation cycles, multiple combat deployments, and inadequate dwell time between those deployments have also taken a heavy toll on the more than one million men and women who have served in Iraq since 2003, as well as their families. We have incurred extraordinary financial costs that have contributed to record deficits and a poorly performing economy.
This drawdown is appropriate and crucial. It is not in our nation’s strategic interest to become an occupying force in the region. It is time for the Iraqis to play a larger role in seeing to their nation’s security. It is critical that our military retain its maneuverability, when faced with mobile international terrorist movements.
With regard to Afghanistan, I have previously stated that I will defer comment on the Administration’s new strategy until its December report to Congress. At that time, I hope it will provide clear indications of the endpoint of our military operations, how the administration will achieve that objective, and the prospects for a timely transition of operations to the Afghan government.