Perry: Obama should have held parade to honor Iraq troops

Texas governor wonders if politics is behind the lack of a celebration.

URBANDALE, Iowa - Texas Gov. Rick Perry opened a new line of criticism against President Obama Wednesday, saying that the president hadn't shown the proper courtesy in welcoming troops returning home from the war in Iraq.

"It really disturbs me that after nine years of war in Iraq, this president wouldn't welcome our many heroes home with a simple parade in their honor," Perry said during a meet-and-greet with the West Side Conservative Club here. Perry speculated that there was no parade because of the war's unpopularity among Democrats. ""I don't know," he said. "But, Mr. President, our soldiers come first, and it comes before party politics."

Obama gave a speech at Fort Bragg, N.C., earlier this month to mark the end of the war and honor the troops. He also laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, devoted a Christmas Eve video address to thanking the troops, and participated with Vice President Joe Biden in a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base to receive the American colors returning from Baghdad.

The war has been unpopular with most Americans, not just Democrats. Numerous polls show that two-thirds to three-quarters of the people oppose the war and approve of bringing the troops home.

Perry has accused Obama of "giving the enemy a timeline" and of pulling the U.S. out of Iraq for political reasons; Perry claims that lives will have been lost in vain because of the president's policies.

Obama pledged to end the war during his 2008 campaign, and the timetable was negotiated by the Bush administration. Negotiations to maintain a small U.S. troop presence foundered when Iraqi officials refused to give the U.S. soldiers immunity from prosecution.