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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Perry, Bachmann, Romney: Obama's Decision to Leave Iraq 'Political"

Reaction from the campaign trail to the announcement that the US would be withdrawing military forces from Iraq by the end of this year was swift.

“The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government,” Romney said in a news release. “The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq.”

“President Obama’s astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women,” Romney continued.

Texas governor Rick Perry also questioned the motives of the president’s decision.

“I’m deeply concerned that President Obama is putting political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment by announcing an end to troop level negotiations and a withdrawal from Iraq by year’s end,” Perry said in a statement. “The President was slow to engage the Iraqis and there’s little evidence today’s decision is based on advice from military commanders.”

Minnosata Congresswoman and GOP candidate Michele Bachmann struck a similar tone, calling the announcement “a political decision and not a military one.”

“It represents the complete failure of President Obama to secure an agreement with Iraq for our troops to remain there to preserve the peace and demonstrates how far our foreign policy leadership has fallen,” Bachmann said in a news release. “In every case where the United States has liberated a people from dictatorial rule, we have kept troops in that country to ensure a peaceful transition and to protect fragile growing democracies.”

I watched the CBS Evening News tonight and there was hardly any (if any at all) mention of the Obama administration's failings in negotiations with the Iraqi government and instead the entire matter was treated as a victory and a political coup for the Obama administration. As it turns out, it seems that The Guardian was more even-handed in their coverage than the US press was...

"John McCain, one of the leading foreign affairs specialists in the Senate and Obama's Republican opponent in the 2008 White House race, said: "Today marks a harmful and sad setback for the United States in the world. I respectfully disagree with the president: this decision will be viewed as a strategic victory for our enemies in the Middle East, especially the Iranian regime, which has worked relentlessly to ensure a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq."

...One of the sticking points in the negotiations with Iraq was a US demand that American forces remaining in the country after December would enjoy the same immunity from prosecution as they do now. The Iraqi government, conscious of public anger over many controversial incidents involving US troops and defence contractors over the last decade, refused.

The Pentagon had wanted the bases to help counter growing Iranian influence in the Middle East. Just a few years ago, the US had plans for leaving behind four large bases but, in the face of Iraqi resistance, this plan had to be scaled down this year to a force of 10,000. But even this proved too much for the Iraqis."

Leave it to Obama to play up the failure of US policymakers to help secure a volatile region of the world on his watch as some sort of victory on his part. I am all for slowly drawing down the number of US troops in the region over the next few years and I only hope there isn't a Post-Soviet Size Hole of a vacuum left after the last of America's most precious resource come home in December.

Trivia Question: How many tons of yellowcake uranium found in Iraq were quietly airlifted out of Iraq three years ago to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and eventually Canada?

A. 150 tons
B. 200 tons
C. 550 tons, or
D. 0 tons

Click here and here for the answer.


Speedy G said...

By killing Osama bin Laden, Obama drew his "Get of of Iraq card FREE." This was always the Obama calculation. He doesn't give a sh*t about Iraq or the WoT. This has been Obama's "political calculus" since 2008.

GentleSkeptic said...

Reasonable counterpoint here.

In essence, it appears that the United States, at great cost in both treasure and blood, has managed to replace a staunchly anti-Iranian Sunni dictator with a pro-Iranian Shiite quasi-dictator. When neoconservatives contemplate the distasteful result that Iran may become the leading power in the region, with Iraq as a de facto ally, they should not blame Barack Obama and his decision to carry out George Bush’s pledge to withdraw the remaining U.S. troops by the end of 2011. Instead, they need to look in the mirror. They were the architects of this debacle.