There has been troubling talk within the Obama administration about the possibility of keeping troops in Iraq beyond the December 31, 2011, deadline (with some in the administration practically begging the Iraqi government to ask for an extension).
In response to this, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-9) led a group of representatives in a letter to President Obama urging him to stick to the deadline:
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to urge you to hold to our nation’s Status of Forces Agreement with the government of Iraq that commits our nation to bringing all of our troops and military contractors home at the end of this calendar year.
The American people have made it clear that the war in Iraq must end. By wide and overwhelming margins, Americans approve of your plan to remove all the troops from Iraq by the end of this year.
We are deeply concerned to learn that your Administration is considering plans to keep potentially thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the end of this year. Extending our presence in Iraq is counterproductive – the Iraqi people do not support our continued occupation.
Remaining in Iraq would only further strengthen the perception that we are an occupying force with no intention of leaving Iraq.
Leaving troops and military contractors in Iraq beyond the deadline is not in our nation’s security interests, it is not in our nation’s strategic interests, and it is not in our nation’s economic interests.
Mr. President, we look forward to working with you in maintaining our nation’s Status of Forces Agreement with the government of Iraq and bringing all of our troops and military contractors home at the end of this year.
You can see a full list of the signers here.