“Here at home, opinion polls have for years shown that two-thirds ofÂ Americans oppose the warÂ in Iraq. Opposition to a continued presence has also been building in Congress, always the most lagging indicator. On July 22, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and 94 other representatives sentÂ a letterÂ to President Obama urging him to bring all U.S. troops and military contractors home by the end of this year and she is introducingÂ a billÂ that would cut off funding.
As for the Iraqi opinion, anti-U.S. cleric and politician Moqtada al-Sadr put out aÂ statementÂ on August 3 saying that any foreign solider remaining in his country after 2011 would â€œbe treated as an unjust invader and should be opposed with military resistance.â€ Weâ€™ll mark him down as a â€œno thanks.â€ According to Al-Iraqiya TV, meanwhile,2.5 million of al-Sadrâ€™s compatriots have signed a petition calling for U.S. troops to get out.
â€œWe want them to leave, even before the end of this year,â€ Youseff Ahmad, a tribal sheik from the Iraqi town of Al Rufait,Â recently told one reporter. â€œTheyâ€™ve destroyed us. Theyâ€™ve only brought killing and disaster.â€ Ahmad spoke after having just witnessed U.S. troopsâ€™ â€œtrainingâ€ and â€œsupportâ€ mission in action, the consequence of which was â€œa shootout involving bullets, grenades and American Apache helicopters that left the tribal Sheik and two others dead, and several wounded, including two young girls.â€
Even top members of the Iraqi government are saying no thanks, even if their more powerful colleagues are toeing the U.S. line. On Sunday, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi saidÂ that a continued American military presence in Iraq would be â€œa problem, not a solution,â€ adding that training could be done by other countries at a cheaper price.