By Daniel Strauss - 10/23/11 03:08 PM EDT
President Obama's decision to withdraw all American forces from Iraq by the end of the year is more politically motivated than strategically necessary, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said Sunday.
"We're going from the point from leaving to leaving zero troops behind," Bachmann said on CBS's Face the Nation. "It seems more political-based than military-based so it's more like a General Axelrod is making this decision to take the troops down to zero."
On Friday, Obama announced that all U.S. troops in Iraq would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.
American officials had hoped to leave a force of between 3,000 and 5,000 troops in the country but were unable to negotiate immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for those troops. Instead, the Obama administration decided to recall all U.S. forces by the end of the year.
Other Republican presidential contenders echoed Bachmann’s criticisms of the president, saying that Obama should leave a small contingent of forces in the country.
"President Obama’s decision, however, to not leave a small, focused presence in Iraq is a mistake and the product of his administration’s failures," former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) said in a statement.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said Obama had not figured out a way to cleanly hand over power to the Iraqi government.
"President Obama’s astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women," Romney said in a statement. "The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government."