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27 August 2014

In & Out With Obama On The Iraq Troop Withdrawal

'It was my brilliant decision to withdraw all of our troops from Iraq (even though IS stepped in and filled the vacuum...unexpectedly) - and, just to prove how extraordinarily correct I was, I plan to do the exact same thing in Afghanistan (but, expect a different result 'natch -- do you honestly think I'm insane or something?).'


'First of all, I didn't set a red line.  The world set a red line.  I didn't order the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.  Bush did. President Maliki did. The Iraqi government did.' 

Via CNS News:

Despite accusations that not leaving a residual U.S. military presence in Iraq contributed to its present crisis, President Obama on Tuesday both called the 2011 withdrawal 'the right thing to do' and reiterated his intention to remove most U.S. troops from Afghanistan at the end of the year.

'You know that we should never send America’s sons and daughters into harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary, and we have a plan, and we are resourcing it and prepared to see it through,' he told the national convention of the American Legion in Charlotte, N.C.

'You know the United States has to lead with strength and confidence and wisdom,' Obama continued. 'And that’s why, after incredible sacrifice by so many of our men and women in uniform, we removed more than 140,000 troops from Iraq and welcomed those troops home. It was the right thing to do.'

Wait, what?

Wasn't he claiming just a couple of weeks ago that, basically, Maliki made him do it?

From National Review Online:

President Obama refused to take responsibility for the lack of U.S. troops in Iraq, saying that American soldiers had to pull out due to political pressure from Iraqi leaders.

“This issue keeps on coming up as if this was my decision,” Obama retorted when asked if he had any second thoughts, in light of the terrorist force taking over regions of Iraq, about having pulled all American troops out of the country. “The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because a majority of Iraqis did not want U.S. troops there and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops in Iraq,” he said.

A report in The New Yorker showed how President Obama failed to secure the status of forces agreement necessary to leave the troops in place after 2011.

Dexter Filkins explained:

President Obama, too, was ambivalent about retaining even a small force in Iraq. For several months, American officials told me, they were unable to answer basic questions in meetings with Iraqis – like how many troops they wanted to leave behind – because the administration had not decided. “We got no guidance from the White House,” Jeffrey told me. “We didn’t know where the president was. Maliki kept saying, ‘I don’t know what I have to sell.’ ” At one meeting, Maliki said that he was willing to sign an executive agreement granting the soldiers permission to stay, if he didn’t have to persuade the parliament to accept immunity. The Obama administration quickly rejected the idea. “The American attitude was: Let’s get out of here as quickly as possible,” Sami al-Askari, the Iraqi member of parliament, said.

When Obama announced the withdrawal, he portrayed it as the culmination of his own strategy.

In fact, on 21 October 2011, President Barack H Obama made the following statement from the  James S Brady Press Briefing Room leaving absolutely no doubt whatsoever whose decision it was to remove every single American soldier from Iraq by the end of that year:

'As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end for the sake of our national security and to strengthen American leadership around the world. After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011. As commander in chief, ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities. Last year, I announced the end to our combat mission in Iraq, and, to date, we have removed more than 100,000 troops. Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country's security. A few hours ago, I spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki. I reaffirmed that the United States keeps its commitments. He spoke of the determination of the Iraqi people to forge their own future. We are in full agreement about how to move forward. So, today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over.' 

And, back on August 9th, he was blaming Bush for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq...

'So that entire analysis is bogus and is wrong. But it gets frequently peddled around here by folks who oftentimes are trying to defend previous policies that they themselves made.'

- President Barack H Obama on people blaming him for 'leaving Iraq', 9 August 2014 

President Obama appeared to adjust his narrative on the decision to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq three years ago. On Saturday, he rejected criticism for the pullout, following the rapid advance of ISIS terrorists throughout the country. 

Speaking from the White House on the U.S. airstrikes against ISIS, the president pushed back, saying, "What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision. Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government,” Obama told reporters.

He insisted that leaving U.S. troops behind required a status-of-forces agreement that the Iraqi government refused. 

Responding on America's Newsroom this morning, National Journal columnist and editorial director Ron Fournier called it a "real thin read," saying independent analysts who were following the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2011 do not echo Obama's analysis.

"The United States could have convinced [Prime Minister] Maliki to give us the authority we needed. The president didn't want to have troops there," said Fournier, pointing to Obama's determination to keep his 2008 campaign promise by getting U.S. troops out of Iraq. 

Fournier said he believes it's "disingenuous" for the President of the United States to now argue that he could not have pushed through a deal to keep some U.S. forces in Iraq. 

"At least be honest with us. Don't be shifting the goal post and don't say, 'Hey, it wasn't my decision and it's not my fault that we didn't have the forces there.' Be honest with us. Explain why it is, Mr. President, you decided not to keep troops there. And more importantly - because that's water under the bridge - what are you going do to make sure these killers, these jihadists don't come and hit us here at home? That's what I want to know. I don't want to hear blame. I want answers," he said.

...which also led him to take to Twitter to mock the Decider-in-Chief /:


And, back in June...

Obama: 'It Wasn’t My Decision to Pull Troops Out of Iraq'

'That was a decision made by the Iraqi government.'

Finally from The Washington Times:

James Taranto, a member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board and editor of, said Mr. Obama apparently is no longer claiming credit for the removal of American forces, something that, until now, he frequently boasted about.

“Obama is not only disclaiming responsibility for the troop pullout but blaming it on George W. Bush,” he wrote Monday.

Indeed, Mr. Obama’s most recent description of the 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal differs greatly from how he portrayed it in 2012, when he was running for re-election against Republican Mitt Romney.

While it’s true the administration did support keeping a small residual force in Iraq, Mr. Obama frequently took credit for fully ending American involvement in Iraq and for leaving no U.S. boots on the ground in that country.

In fact, during one October 2012 debate with Mr. Romney, the president seemed to deny that he supported a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government, a deal that would have formally allowed American troops to remain in Iraq and would have protected them from prosecution in Iraqi courts.

When Mr. Romney said he, like Mr. Obama, believed such an agreement should have been worked out, the president said “that’s not true” and went on to decry the presence of any American forces in Iraq.

“What I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. That certainly would not help us in the Middle East. You’ve got to be clear, both to our allies and our enemies, about where you stand and what you mean. Now, you just gave a speech a few weeks ago in which you said we should still have troops in Iraq,” he told Mr. Romney. “That is not a recipe for making sure that we are taking advantage of the opportunities and meeting the challenges of the Middle East.”

The White House is changing its story on Iraq at a time when the president’s broader foreign policy is under fire across the political spectrum.

In an interview with The Atlantic over the weekend, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Obama’s 2008 Democratic primary rival and the party’s 2016 presidential front-runner, questioned the administration’s underlying foreign policy principle: “don’t do stupid stuff.”

“Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” she said.

And, I won't even go into Joe Biden's boast 'I'LL BET YOU MY VICE-PRESIDENCY MALIKI WILL EXTEND THE SOFA.'

Uncle Joe's still Veep and Obama is still right.  It matters not that both have been consistently inconsistent and wrong.

It must be nice to live in a world where you're always right...even when you constantly contradict yourself.

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