August 10, 2010“Adverse developments in Iraq will be (and will look to be) increasingly a function of the Obama Team taking their eye off of the ball and rushing to declare mission accomplished. Yes, in such a scenario the Iraqis should bear most of the blame, but the part that is due to U.S. action or inaction will be Obama's responsibility. And it will matter. Iraq is at the center of a region that every president since Jimmy Carter has identified as vital to our national security. Iraq is next door to, and the playground for mischief from, the most thorny national security challenge the United States faces: a nuclear-weapons-seeking Iranian regime. These inconvenient facts mean that if the Iraqi situation demands more focused and costly U.S. attention, it will likely get it. At that point, what sort of domestic coalition will be available for President Obama's Iraq policy?”
—Peter Feaver, director, Triangle Institute for Security Studies; former director for defense policy and arms control, National Security Council, “Obama’s Iraq Speech: Another Missed Opportunity,” Foreign Policy, August 3, 2010
“But I will tell you that I think Iraqis themselves are nationalistic in nature, and that's why it's important. A strong Iraq will defend itself against interference from outside countries, and I think as we build a strong Iraq and as we continue to build a strong security mechanism and as we continue to help them economically and diplomatically, that will make it less likely of others from the outside being able to interfere.
“Now, for the vacuum as we see today, again, I remind everyone is that we still have a significant presence here, and we are not going to—we will not allow undue maligned influence on the Iraqi government as they attempt to form their government. What we're trying to do is provide them the space and time for them to do that, and we will continue to do that post 1 September. We'll still have a significant civilian presence, and again, we'll still have 50,000 troops on the ground here to ensure that this government can be formed by the Iraqis. And that all the other nations respect their sovereignty as they go about forming their government.”
—General Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, interview, “This Week” with Christiane Amanpour, August 8, 2010