Obama Destroys The Bogus And Wrong Republican Talking Point Blaming Him For Leaving Iraq


At a press conference today, President Obama set the record straight on the Republican claim that the current crisis in Iraq was his fault because he didn’t leave combat troops in the country. Obama called the entire Republican analysis “bogus and wrong.”



Q Mr. President, do you have any second thoughts about pulling all ground troops out of Iraq? And does it give you pause as the U.S. — is it doing the same thing in Afghanistan?

THE PRESIDENT: 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. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.

And the Iraqi government, based on its political considerations, in part because Iraqis were tired of a U.S. occupation, declined to provide us those assurances. And on that basis, we left. We had offered to leave additional troops. So when you hear people say, do you regret, Mr. President, not leaving more troops, that presupposes that I would have overridden this sovereign government that we had turned the keys back over to and said, you know what, you’re democratic, you’re sovereign, except if I decide that it’s good for you to keep 10,000 or 15,000 or 25,000 Marines in your country, you don’t have a choice — which would have kind of run contrary to the entire argument we were making about turning over the country back to Iraqis, an argument not just made by me, but made by the previous administration.

So let’s just be clear: The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because the Iraqis were — 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.

Having said all that, if in fact the Iraqi government behaved the way it did over the last five, six years, where it failed to pass legislation that would reincorporate Sunnis and give them a sense of ownership; if it had targeted certain Sunni leaders and jailed them; if it had alienated some of the Sunni tribes that we had brought back in during the so-called Awakening that helped us turn the tide in 2006 — if they had done all those things and we had had troops there, the country wouldn’t be holding together either. The only difference would be we’d have a bunch of troops on the ground that would be vulnerable. And however many troops we had, we would have to now be reinforcing, I’d have to be protecting them, and we’d have a much bigger job. And probably, we would end up having to go up again in terms of the number of grounds troops to make sure that those forces were not vulnerable.

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.

As soon as President Obama announced the airstrikes and humanitarian mission, the Republican criticism began with accusing the president of causing this problem by not leaving combat troops in Iraq. President Obama was correct. The Iraqi government no longer wanted U.S. troops in their country.

Time magazine described the Iraqis’ desire to get the U.S. troops out, “But ending the U.S. troop presence in Iraq was an overwhelmingly popular demand among Iraqis, and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki appears to have been unwilling to take the political risk of extending it. While he was inclined to see a small number of American soldiers stay behind to continue mentoring Iraqi forces, the likes of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, on whose support Maliki’s ruling coalition depends, were having none of it. Even the Obama Administration’s plan to keep some 3,000 trainers behind failed because the Iraqis were unwilling to grant them the legal immunity from local prosecution that is common to SOF agreements in most countries where U.S. forces are based.”

When the Iraqi government refuse to grant U.S. troops immunity from local prosecution, that was a deal breaker.

A big point that Republicans overlook is that it was George W. Bush who signed the Status of Forces Agreement that set the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in motion. When President Bush signed the agreement in December of 2008, he said, “We’re also signing a Security Agreement, sometimes called a Status of Forces Agreement. The agreement provides American troops and Defense Department officials with authorizations and protections to continue supporting Iraq’s democracy once the U.N. mandate expires at the end of this year. This agreement respects the sovereignty and the authority of Iraq’s democracy. The agreement lays out a framework for the withdrawal of American forces in Iraq — a withdrawal that is possible because of the success of the surge.”

The Republican plan, to the extent that there was one, always involved keeping a lid on the conflicts inside Iraq with U.S. combat troops for as long as it takes. The problem was that the Iraqis wanted the troops out, and the American people wanted the troops home. The Bush administration was trying to clean up their legacy by signing the Status of Forces Agreement.

The instability in Iraq was caused by the Bush decision to launch a war of choice. Republicans can’t pass off their own failed war in Iraq on Obama. It is interesting that the same Republican Party that claims to love freedom is so willing to violate the freedom of the Iraqi people by forcing combat troops on them.

The inescapable truth for Republicans is that President Obama is still cleaning up after Bush’s failed war.

57 Replies to “Obama Destroys The Bogus And Wrong Republican Talking Point Blaming Him For Leaving Iraq”

  1. These not really journalists know that it was Bush’s decision. The person who asked the question knows it. It was presented as a “gotcha” query and it got shot down. I’m so glad. It will be interesting to see how this will be reported.

  2. I didn’t see the presser but I wonder what paper boy asked that asinine question? If someone say Jonny-boy Karl ….

  3. as with everything that has happened since Obama was elected the right wingers are doing everything to make Him responsible & remove Bushes blame hey know it hey know it but with their hatred of Obama
    ,it isn’t working ,they cant help it hatred is stronger than love for them !!

  4. So that entire analysis is bogus and is wrong.

    Yes, it is but that won’t stop them from trying to spin it that way.

    Unfortunately, there are too many people who don’t know the details, and don’t want to know the details, that led to our leaving Iraq and those people will be content to live in their Fantasy Land where they can blame Pres. Obama for everything and not feel a stitch of guilt about it.

    Lies are truth to them because they don’t bother finding the real truth – and this is about everything, not just Iraq.

    It’s always easier to find someone to spoon feed you information (false or otherwise) than it is to really learn about issues and form logical opinions about them that are totally your own.

  5. Bush, the name we cannot say, signed the agreement less then a month before Obama took office. Even McInsane liked it. After all he was well known for hugging GWB.

    And now the gop pretends Bush, the name we cannot say, never existed. All for political gain. Ill botten gooty

    Idiots, liars and thieves.

  6. Hey troll Iraq was sovereign, stable and self-reliant before you dumbasses decided to blow it up. What was the reason again? Stop being stuck on stupid

  7. In August, after debates between the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House, the Americans settled on the 3,000 to 5,000 number, which was reported in August. According to two people briefed on the matter, one inside the administration and one outside, the arguments of two White House officials, Thomas E. Donilon, the national security adviser, and his deputy, Denis McDonough, prevailed over those of the military.

    Intelligence assessments that Iraq was not at great risk of slipping into chaos in the absence of American forces were a factor in the decision, an American official said.


  8. Hey dummy when was the last time ground troops were in combat. I know your vast experience was gain playing call of duty but for once can you use that brain matter

  9. Nothing is ever Obama’s fault. Nothing. What’s impressive is the willing suspension of disbelief on the part of the Obama supporters to see this and somehow to believe that Obama is an impotent powerless buffoon who controls nothing.

  10. I fully expect senator McInsane will be trolling the sunday shows tomorrow with his talking point that Obama is not fighting ISIS hard enough, how many of the hosts do you think will ask him why he wanted to arm ISIS in Syria?

    Poor old John, he is rapidly losing the plot.

  11. Did Obama invade a country that was no threat to us? Did Obama after he invaded the country instead of turning to people who knew WTF they were talking about instead put people in charge based on their position on abortion? I see why you are a bagger, you are a colossal DUMBASS

  12. Don’t forget the over 25 million who has affordable health insurance or the tripling of the stock market. I swear that Kenyan is up to no good

  13. Although it will probably be strictly GOP Senators, because the optics of a House member criticizing the president while they themselves are on a 5 week vacation would be disastrous for their image, and their polling numbers.

  14. I am proud of the way he states his case I do wish he had spoken up sooner. Better late than never.

  15. We’ll stop blaming Bush when you guys start to do so. Do a Google search for two books from about 10 yrs ago: Hubris, and Fiasco. The war was barely started and the Pentagon KNEW it was such a disaster that officials gave the Fiasco author 30,000 pages of documents showing how flawed the whole thing was.

    Also do a Google search for Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) for August 6, 2001. W
    Bush was told AGAIN about bin Laden’s plans and yet W stayed on vacation. In fact W spent 2.5 yrs of his 8 yrs in office on vacation!

    He told us that tax cuts for the job creators would, you know, create jobs. That never happened, did it?

    Our debt is $16 trillion and $11 trillion is attributable to Reagan (“deficits don’t matter”), Bush and Bush. So please tell how fiscally responsible the GOP is.

    So yes, we defend the President because folks like you can’t accept responsibility for what the W regime did.

    These are facts. Indisputable facts. Yet somehow the “liberal” media seems…

  16. But we just HAD to rid the globe of “So Damn Insane”! So much better now, isn’t it? And the Middle East is now SUCH a peaceful place, isn’t it?

  17. I’m so worried about what happens when ISIS finds the massive underground bunker full of all those WMDs… LOL!!!

  18. When Bush started his war of choice, he was asked who would pay for it. His answer was Iraqi oil.

    My question is, WHERE’S THE MONEY?

    You call Obama “an impotent powerless buffoon who controls nothing”. In the case of him controlling the Status of Forces Agreement, no President in his right mind would allow civilian law of another country to have control over our military. Bush didn’t, but apparently you think Obama should have.

    One may think Obama controls nothing, but WE know who controlled G.W. At least Obama thinks for himself.

    One can only shake one’s head at the obtrusiveness of the right-wingers. Sad, so very sad.

  19. LOL – the last thing he wants is for people to know details – he thrives on the appeal to low information voters – then he can talk our of both sides of his mouth on the issues of the day from health care, to immigration, to this. The Washington Post summed up his evolving position nicely. The fact is, when the prior status of forces agreement (which Bush actually negotiated) expired, this president gave a take it or leave it proposal and insisted it go directly to the Iraqi Parliament – not unlike his handling of domestic issues. Now, children are suffering brutal deaths so now it was the Iraqi’s, not his, decision to leave. On the campaign trail, it was his decision. In reality it should have been the decision of ALL parties based on negotiation. Obama does not do things this way, and that is why we are where we are


  20. Really? The fact is Iraq would not approve of protecting our troops.

    No matter how you look at it, Bush signed the agreement less then a month before Obama took office. Your little whine doesnt fly

  21. Bush negotiated? I guess when the answer was get the fuk out your cod piece boy negotiated. It astound me how you Reich wingers want to rewrite history to suit your juvenile fantasies. Look that may work with you brain dead idiots but guess what, we read and know the facts. I understand that you want stupid people to nod and say okay but your dumbass wont find it here

  22. Are you serious? Don’t you get the concept that agreements involving two parties are the subject of negotiation? Bush overcame initial reluctance on the part of the Iraqis by entering into a dialogue on the details of the agreement. Obama refused to do this. An absolute immunity for American’s in Iraq was one issue, and it could have been addressed by a modified counter proposal containing proper substantive and procedural protections. OBAMA WOULD NOT ENTER INTO TALKS. He refused to even try. And then, after the take it or leave it proposal was understandably rejected, he took full credit for the full withdrawal. Next, after it turns to crap, it was someone else’s idea for the U.S. to withdraw completely. His positions at campaign time and at the present time can not be reconciled. One might disagree but still respect many policy positions. However, an opinion that Obama is not a hypocrite on this issue should not simply be disagreed with, it should be disrespected.

  23. This is your 4th estate people. Can anyone point out how alike they are other than stupidity?
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Now can someone please tell them to do a little research

    BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister hailed the end of the American military presence in Iraq as a new dawn for his country and urged Iraqis to preserve the unity of a nation still under attack by insurgents and beset by sectarian divisions.

    At a televised celebration in Baghdad on Saturday, Nouri al-Maliki declared Dec. 31 a national holiday marking “a new dawn” in which Iraq would focus on rebuilding a nation shattered by nearly nine years of war.

    “Your country has become free,” he said. “The faithful sons of Iraq have to preserve its sovereignty, unity and independence.” …


  24. Translation: I just find it interesting that you and others like you are such dumb-a$$es. Next.

  25. Ah….the old tried and true Bush blaming…because Obama could not have negotiated another SOFA and Strategic Agreement with Iraq.

    Nope. Certainly, Obama could not have done that. I mean…then he couldn’t blame Bush for this.

    He had to have something else for which to blame Bush.

  26. ISIS or ISIL or w/e is what the Bush and neo-con menace hath wrought. We should object to any media that calls “Desert Storm” “the good Iraq War” (supposedly because it was short and got Kuwait away). The excessive meddling of that war brought the retribution of both WTC attacks on the US and meat-headed events since have paved the way for the new middle east monster. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Condi, Bush I and II and others should be parachuted into the middle of their depleted uranium poisoned mess.

  27. I was in Iraq at the end. This is how this issue works. SOFA is a negotiating point in any form. The Iraqis did not want to sign it ,so we left. we have this agreement with other countries we base our military in.

  28. Republicans are such liars. They’re teaching a whole generation of children that it’s OK to lie and cheat to get what you want, especially their own children.
    We should teach our children by our words and by our deeds for they will surely become who we are.

  29. so in every argument on this thread the commentators invoke and blame.for the 6 yrs its obama, bush.cheney.condy,reagan. nothing but blame and finger pointing.so i ask when does one solve a problem or fix the wrong hmm.when do you get to say yes they screwed that up royally but we fixed it so every one can move on and stop relying on the past as an excuse for not handling the problems they so eloquently promise to fix.you republicans and democrats are locked in your nowhere rants solving nothing screaming like hungry little birds in the nest waiting to be fed.your america i slipping away while you dribble out your nonsense until your face is as red as the sun..pathetic little people.

  30. You typed all that without saying a damn thing. Fix what? The middle east? I now you failed history in summer school but the middle east hasn’t been fix since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and if one wants get picky you can go back further.

    What you pointy head baggers don’t seem to understand there was a reason Iraq was somewhat stable before you chickenhearted blood thirsty idiots decided to break Iraq. So yes when you people come on here with your revisionist bullshit expect to be called out

  31. For those who say “you’re just blaming Bush again,” let me point something out.

    Just because someone points out something that happened during the time when Bush was president – or during the time when any other person was president – does not constitute “blame.” It constitutes responsibility.

    You cannot speak of Iraq without speaking of Bush. You cannot speak of policies related to Iraq without speaking of Bush. You cannot say anyone started the war in Iraq except Bush.

    Bush was president for 8 years. You cannot erase the disastrous invasion of that country by Bush, or the devastating lies by his Administration that led to it.

    You can practice revisionist history all you want, but that doesn’t actually CHANGE history.

  32. When referring to the party of personal responsibility, you are not allowed to use the phrase take responsibility

  33. Well I’m glad the President said what he did, however why put a you tube video of it up and then when someone clicks on it they’re told it’s private. Doesn’t make any sense at all.

  34. Many times the owner of the video changes its public property after its on the youtube servers. People who link to that cannot control that

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