Foreign and Defense Policy, Middle East and North Africa

Bush warned this would happen in Iraq

Photo Credit: smiteme/Flickr

Photo Credit: smiteme/Flickr

In 2007, President George W. Bush warned that if America withdrew prematurely from Iraq, American troops would eventually have to return:

To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready … would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous. [EMPHASIS ADDED].

Well just an hour ago, the Washington Post reported:

President Obama said Thursday it is now clear Iraq will need help from the United States as the situation there deteriorates, adding that he wouldn’t “rule out anything,” including drone strikes and air strikes, but not ground troops.

“What we’ve seen over the last couple of days indicates the degree to which Iraq’s going to need more help,” Obama said during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the White House. “So my team is working around the clock to identify how we can provide the most effective assistance to them. I don’t rule out anything, because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria, for that matter.”

He’s not ruling anything out, you see – except ground troops. He’s ruling that out.

Let’s recall that Obama inherited a pacified Iraq, where al Qaeda had been defeated — both militarily and ideologically.

Militarily, thanks to Bush’s surge, al Qaeda was driven from the strongholds it had established in Anbar and other Iraqi provinces. It controlled no major territory, and it’s top leader – Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi – had been killed.

Ideologically, al Qaeda had suffered a massive rejection by the Sunni masses. Iraq was supposed to be a place where al Qaeda rallied Sunnis to drive America out. Instead, the Sunnis joined with Americans to drive al Qaeda out. That was a major ideological defeat.

So al Qaeda in Iraq (now ISIS) had been beaten on the battlefield and rejected by the Sunnis it claimed to represent. In fact, the situation Obama inherited was so good that the Obama administration was actually trying to take credit for it. Joe Biden declared that Iraq “could be one of the great achievements of [the Obama] administration.”

Obama took that inheritance and squandered it. And – just as Bush predicted – we’re now talking about going back (at least in the air) to help the Iraqis to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.

Is this how wars end in the 21st century, Mr. President?

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69 thoughts on “Bush warned this would happen in Iraq

    • You leftists love to call the Iraq war “illegal” or “unconstitutional”, but never explain why. Unlike Obama, Bush requested, and received congressional approval for everything he did, and he did not rewrite laws or selectively enforce them to suit his taste or political ends.

      • You made up the reasons to go into Iraq. there was absolutely no reason to go into Iraq. the whole thing was a failure from the start. You make a mess and Dems have to clean it up. After 1 trillion dollars if the Iraqis can’t figure it out, then they can burn.

        • Remember one thing, this was a bipartisan agreement, nuff said. BTW, that last sentence shows how ignorant you are. You talk about trillions? Obama is about to steam roll this country to the ground, grow up!

        • No reason for Iraq?
          Not the WMD’s?? Not the common goals that united Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein – the death of the west, specifically America
          (just google WMD’s – wikileaks)

      • Why, Because the entire thing was based on a lie. There were no WMDs there never were and Bush at al knew that there were not.

        Iraq was the biggest foreign policy blunder in US history. It totally destabilized the region. It was a complete waste of the 3400 young Americans killed or wounded and the 2 trillion dollars thrown at it. And lets not even get into the 100;s of thousands of Iraqis that were needless killed.

        • Except there were not “hundreds of thousands” needlessly killed. You’re pulling a liberal trope out of your butt again. Current conservative estimates are double the amount of US troops killed, even the “researched” liberal estimates are 10 times the amount of US troops killed. Bush “didn’t know” there were “no” WMD’s there (we did find WMDs, but never in the massive amounts claimed) Saddam “at al knew” that he didn’t have a lot of WMD’s but attempted to blow the number out of proportion to increase his bargaining power. You’re right on one count, Saddam lied, and he did it well. What few WMD’s that Bush, Kerry, Clinton, et al voted to go in after were quickly shipped to Iran.

        • Hillary voted for the invasion of Iraq. She was in the Senate at the time. So did others from the Dem side of the aisle. At least W sought Congressional authorization for the invasion, and that resolution has never been withdrawn by Congress. Now, Obama is not using the authorization to help the current government of Iraq to defend itself, so the field is left to Iran, the Shia militias and the al Quds forces of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

      • BS. It HAS been explained- and well documented-how the premise for the Iraq war )the presence of WMDs) was false. And this article contains statements by Bush that are demonstrably false: It was established before the Iraq war was even under way that Iraq had no ties to Al Qaeda or to 9/11- but Bush/Cheney perpetuated the myth anyway and used it as the primary basis for their 2004 election strategy.
        As for Bush “requesting Congressional approval for everything he did- that is completely untrue. The list of Constitutional transgressions is lengthy.
        http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/power-of-the-pen/
        http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/power-surge-constitutional-record-george-w-bush
        What planet have you been on anyway?

    • Bush went to Congress, Congress gave permission. How was this war unconstitutional?

      If you claim that Bush lied, answer me this: Have you ever worked as an imagery analyst? If you haven’t shut up about Bush lieing

      • Bush and his cronies planted fake stories in the newspapers and scared everyone with lies. There was no proof of WMDs. conservatives/GOP whatever. you screwed up royally. You and your ilk are unfit to run anything. OK, Bush was a failure. Cheney is a war criminal. Repeat, Bush was a failure.

        • It’s highly unlikely the newspapers would have done anything for Bush. And if Bush was a failure what do we call that pos in the White House, a traitor?

      • He lied. Cheney lied. Rice lied. Rumsfeld lied. Yellow cake uranium, aluminum tubes, active WMD, mission accomplished.

    • You may be right about that, but the immediate cause of the crisis is Obama’s failure to leave a residual force in Iraq.

      • It was Bush, and not Obama, who negotiated the STOFA which set the timeline for withdrawal from Iraq with no residual force. Bush signed the STOFA in 2008 before leaving office. It was Bush, who failed to get an agreement with the Iraqi government for a residual force. Obama also tried with no luck.

        The Iraqi government thru the U.S. out.

        The text of the agreement his here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2008/11/18/56116/unofficial-translation-of-us-iraq.html

        I am really stunned at the complete ignorance of this simply fact by a group of educated people.

    • Bush never started this ungodly war… the radial Muslims did in 1979
      Recent TERRORIST attacks under Bill Clinton : World Trade Center (first hit) 02/26/1993 – Kobar Towers – 06/25/96, U.S. Embassies Kenya and Tanzania 08/07/98, – USS Cole bombing in Yemen – 10/17/00 and Clinton didn’t take any of these hits seriously. ADDING INSULT TO INJURY… Clinton failed to take out the planner and financier of these hits, Osama Bin Laden when he had the chances (more than one) . But the icing on the preverbal cake is letting the 9-11 terrorists into America and train here.

    • Looks like a good debate. I think we ought to give ISIS the address of every libtard and let them wipe each other’s vile, existence off the face of the planet. Hey, you know what libtard? Bush warned us all what would happen if we pulled out of Iraq too soon. And once again, he was right. Then again, you don’t know what it’s like to pull out too soon. That’s why you have so many baby’s who grow up voting for Osama, just like you! So you can get free stuff. SHAME ON YOU! Oh, and even the majority of socialists, errr, I mean Democrats agreed on WMD,s under Sadam. ASSSHoles!

  1. Look, while both Bush and Regan were disgraceful morons, just because Regan managed to gain some respectability, do not think the same is possible for that despicable piece of shit Bush.

    • Okay, well now that we’ve established your superior credentials as a world leader, perhaps you could take some time to at least read enough history to learn how to spell REAGAN! I am supposing that if it wasn’t for a certain animated film (that is probably playing right now on your DVD player)you wouldn’t have spelled DESPICABLE correctly!

    • Typical leftist troll. Roll out the ad-hominems when you can’t bring any facts to bear. Eloquent argument, as always.

      • What do rethugs know about facts? You have Judith Miller plant fake stories in the TImes. You are criminals and you have no problem sending other peoples children into nonsense wars.

      • What is it with you morons, and morons are what you are. THIS COUNTRY NEVER SHOULD HAVE INVADED IRAQ. Say it again and again until it penetrates your ignorant minds, AGAIN AND AGAIN. IRAQ is Bush’s fault. Got that Michael? AGAIN AND AGAIN. How the hell do you conservatives even find the voting booth. The fact that you do is the tragedy of America.

    • Bush and Reagan were disgraceful morons, according to who?

      Liberals should never never never judge anyone about anything, conservatives tend to be open minded and intelligent and do not refer to Reagan or Bush like that.
      Middle of the road people would call some one a piece of sh*t. So I guess only anti American radicals would call Bush or Reagan names.

      • Well of course Republicans wouldn’t call Reagan or Bush a POS.. However many are more than happy to call Clinton or Obama a POS. lack of class isn’t exclusive to either side. You are all ignorant, Bush and Obama are responsible for different reasons. Anyone with half a brain knows neither side is completely excusable.

  2. The terms of US withdrawal from Iraq were negotiated by the Bush Administration. Bush agreed to 100 percent withdrawal. I realize wars are eternal now, but is Marc T. too young to remember that?

    • No, not too young. Too vested. Too obtuse. Just add it to the pile of lies that got us to the inevitable in Iraq. Civil war was always going to happen from the start, unless we were willing to stay there forever from a war we should have never started in the first place. The blood is and always has been, on the hands of those who celebrated Shock and Awe, who helped plan and support Abu Gharib (Hi Marc! How’s the torture going, buddy?) and who ginned up this stupid war with a country a couple of borders away from a separate war in a different country. It turns out that kicking over a hornets nest for no reason at all might cause problems. It’s so obvious, even Bush managed to see it evidently — not, of course, before waging this disastrous adventure to begin with of course.

  3. Bush? You guys can’t see the forest for the trees.
    If Obama wouldn’t cater to >20% of the population, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  4. Mr. Thiessen quotes the wrong prophet.

    In 2003, Pope John Paul II warned President Bush that his “Preemptive War” on Iraq would throw the Middle East into “chaos.”

    He was right.

    And what is most troubling is that Mr. Bush, who ran as a devout Christian with a humble foreign policy in 2000, has not said one public word regarding the ongoing destruction of Christianity in the Middle East.

    The Patriarch of Kirkuk blames Bush and his coalition for doing what Islam has not been able to do for 1500 years: destroy Christianity throughout the region.

    Would that Mr. Bush would at least offer some words of condolence, if not an apology … although politicians never do seem to apologize, do they?

  5. And right on cue the blame Bush fan club comes out with knives. Good Lord, when will you people finally see the light on the incompetency of our current Commander in Chief. Do you not know history or just pretend to make yourselves feel better? Iraq was stable, not perfect and certainly not a democracy but stable and well in its way to becoming one when Obama took over. Yes the first prez negotiated a withdrawal but not on such a quick time line and not without advice from military commanders who Bush always deferred to. This is Obama’s mess and it’s infuriating that the sacrifices done by our military were all for naught because the idiots now running our country. The future does not bode well.

    • “Iraq was stable, not perfect and certainly not a democracy but stable and well in its way to becoming one when Obama took over.”

      That’s a laughable lie from start to finish. The participants in this Civil War were always just waiting for us to leave. It was predicted and predictable. The alternative, which no one was proposing, was to stay there forever.

      • Go read your history Jay on the stability of Iraq or at least read the article your commenting on so you can respond intelligently and peel of your blinders this time. Geeze, the O administration even tried to take credit for the “success” in Iraq with Joe Biden swooning over how it will transform the Middle East. Everyone on all sides of the political aisle, aside from the most blinded partisans agreed the surge worked and a fragile democracy was in the making. Our Bozo in chief even referenced it in a speech on how awesome he was for bringing about a peaceful end to the wars. Face reality, President Obama FUBARED Iraq. That you can’t see this or are willfully denying it is just as disturbing to me.

    • And right on cue the Bush fan club comes out with stretched-to-the-point-of-breaking post-justification of W’s little adventure. Good Lord, when will you people finally open your eyes and see the true incompetency of our former Commander-in-Chief? Do you ignore history or just pretend to make yourself feel better? Iraq was not part of the 9-11 attack. Saddam was not responsible for that attack, nor was he plotting our demise with his vast array of WMDs. It is highly questionable whether Iraq was truly “stable” when Obama took over. Yes, the first prez negotiated a withdrawal, essentially to placate the great majority of Americans – especially those who had finally pulled the gauze from their eyes and saw how disastrous our Iraq Adventure had become. This is a mess that Obama inherited from a deeply dysfunctional and manipulative administration. It’s infuriating that he has not handled it better, but the idiots inhabiting Congress have done everything they could to thwart any rational attempt at governing by the administration since Obama took office. The future does not bode well for you, Tricia, if you continue to view the world from inside your little cave. Come out into the light and look around for a bit. You might be surprised by what you find.

    • “We are able to keep arms from him, his military force has not been rebuilt”–Condi Rice, speaking about Saddam Hussein in July 2001, just 20 months before the invasion. This is also within a month of the ignored memo about bin Laden determined to strike in U-S, which he did a few months later. After 9-11 the Bush team worked to ramp up the blame on Saddam, knowing it was not true.

      You can call the current administration idiotic if you wish. If it is true, the previous administration is not even describable. It would have to be a word that describes not only an administration lacking in intelligence (no pun intended) but one with the responsibilities that go with avoidable destruction.

  6. EVERYONE agreed on a withdrawal EXCEPT that Bush conditioned his acceptance on the “situation on the ground” In addition NOBODY but Obama and his leftie loonies thought an absolute withdrawal appropriate, thus the purposeful failure of the status of forces agreement that Bush left to Obama to negotiate to not hamstring an incoming President.

    As for Bush being a piece of feces, ask the wounded warriors he entertains regularly at his ranch without public fanfare whether he’s a piece or not. You really should be ashamed of yourself.

    • Bush is a piece of s**T. Every death is blood on his hands. You are pathetic defending that pathetic excuse of a human. When you have a GOP president again in what 10 years maybe you’ll have learned your lesson

    • The wounded warriors who shouldn’t have even been wounded in the first place. Iraq is one of the greatest foreign policy blunders in US history. And the blame can and must ultimately be laid at Bush’s feet.

  7. Another point. Israel is not part of NATO, but arguably should be (they are certainly a more important ally than many of the countries that are) and Saddam Hussein was actively supporting the Intifadah. As a general rule, allies help allies. That’s why we have alliances. And alliances were the centerpiece of American foreign policy after WWII. The problem is the West no longer believes in Western values. We are criminalizing Christianity at the same time we are celebrating multi-culturalism, which includes inter alia female circumcision, aborting girls, and beheading infidels. Look at the disgraceful response to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Maybe we should ship some of those pathetic students for a year of study abroad to Baghdad. Sorry. What is going on is a disaster. And may well presage the end of the West as we know it. Bad news in the neighborhood.

    • This isn’t another point; it is a lot of toss and drivel. Criminalizing Christianity???? All I see is the Supreme Court trying to interfere in the great American value of the separation of Church and State. You are right about disastrous situations here; but maybe if the Republicans actually went over and fought and died in the needless wars they started, we might end up in a more tolerable place.

      Since when is supporting the US in an illegal war a Western value?

      • You couldn’t explain the original meaning of “a separation of church and state” if someone paid you to do so. Since the military voted overwhelmingly for republican candidates, your comment is not only stupid, but its factually incorrect.

        Over 70% of the military deaths in both Afghanistan and Iraq happened under Obama’s watch. Don’t forget that nasty little fact, genius.

  8. I am a Conservative Republican, but I have to be honest with myself and how my party messed up. Marc Thiessen should not be taken seriously and neither should most of the Bush Administration until they admit that their foreign policy strategy was a disaster. They cost us lives and money and our status as the governing party because they got it so wrong.

    Our strategy after 9/11 should have been threefold; 1) To strike Iran and replace its leadership 2) To build a fence around the US and to toughen immigration laws dramatically; no more third worlders and especially no more Muslims 3) To work on getting Energy Independent through Nuclear Power to cut off the supply of funds to the Middle East

    Instead, Bush’s secular leadership – and yes, I say secular because they had no understanding of the theology that drives the different Islamic tribes – thought that by holding votes and nation building that we could create liberal democracies in the Muslim Middle East. In hindsight, this idea was so silly, so insane and so against out interests, that the people who pushed this should not get another chance until they own up to their mistakes.

    Our surge in Iraq was another disaster based on what we said we wanted (a stable democracy). Had we armed the Sunnis to purposefully ignite a Civil War, I would have been all for it. Our interests in the Middle East are to separate from the Muslims while guaranteeing that they can’t threaten us (mostly through coming here) or our allies (mostly through acquiring nuclear weapons). That’s it. We need total separation from Islam.

  9. I’m not sure that Iraq ever quite reached the days of wine and roses to which Mr. Thiessen eludes, but there is no doubting that the situation is infinitely worse now.

    Still, I’m also not sure that another pot shot at this or any other administration is useful either.

    When you boil it down, the US wants to eliminate extremism in the Middle East. I submit that NO administration can achieve this goal, because the American people are not willing to support what is necessary to achieve the goal. The amount of force needed (think Saddam Hussein’s iron fist) would violate our core values, and the expense could never be justified on a return-on-investment basis.

    Unfortunately, the Bush administration’s attempt to find some middle ground by forcing the Iraqis to “democratize” was doomed from the very outset. The middle eastern people have proven time and again that when an impasse requiring compromise arises, a sizable contingent is willing to die to get its way. How can we possibly counter such irrationality without compromising our core values? It cannot be done.

    Sadly, I think our best strategy may be to learn to accept that bad things are going to happen from time to time, and do the best we can to try to mitigate (as opposed to eliminate) them.

  10. I regret to say I supported the war in Iraq; however it was not executed well. For months we waited to do the surge and yes even though we succeeded; what really needed to be done was to ensure that Bush had a proper successor to follow up.

    We got Obama; Bush was personally weak in responding to disparaging comments by the Democrats never verbalize his response in defense of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Think about it; two wars at the same time….what were we thinking.

    We should gone all in, in Afghanistan and finished until we started anything else.

    Bush made a lot of mistakes; he cannot claim innocence.

    But now we have Obama; and he has destroyed any gains that were made on the war on terror and now it’s ten times worse than when we first begun.

    Bush; should of thought of his successor; should of defended his policies at every step of the way and he should of completed these wars before an anti-war President took office.

    Both Bush who supported the wars and Obama who despises the wars are responsible.

    But ultimately; we the people are the ones who elected these two.

  11. “Let’s recall that Obama inherited a pacified Iraq, where al Qaeda had been defeated — both militarily and ideologically.”

    You’re kidding, right? That one sentence proves your gullibility and serious ignorance of the facts. Keep on believing every single ridiculous lie the Kochs and Murdoch (do you KNOW who they are?) want you to believe so they can keep you voting against your own best interests. Good luck, Suckers!

  12. One of the warning signs that this misadventure was a bad idea was that Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden all voted for it.

  13. I submit that some administration had BETTER eliminate extremism in the Middle East, or many of us will be dead.
    There is NEVER political will to go to war; contrary to popular Leftist myth we do not like war. It’s up to our leaders to make the case and lead.
    To claim that Bush is somehow to blame for the current state of affairs in Iraq is just willfull blindness and short term memory loss. This is on the guy who’s been playacting as president for last 6 years. We are where we are (or aren’t) in Iraq — and to be replayed soon in Afghanistan — because of Obama’s premature, telegraphed, date-in-stone withdrawal to suit his own political purposes. It’s like a horrible flashback to 1939, only it’s Obama saying, “Time for the Austrians to step up — and by the way, they’re on their own.” Self-absorbed arrogance combined with negligent, incompetent foreign policy has given us Benghazi, Syria, and now, potentially, a lethal caliphate stretching from Damascus to Baghdad.

    • wow! the most delusional comment I have read in a long time. First off, regarding the faux outrage over Benghazi. You do realize there were 13 US consulates and embassies attacked during the Bush years resulting in 61 deaths. Strangely, no one gave a shit back then and don’t pretend you actually give a shit now. I hope you realize the author of this column, Marc Thiessen, was perhaps the biggest cheerleader for the Iraq war and his writings are often parodied on the internet for being so ridiculous. He’s a complete joke. Oh yes, the Iraq war was just great, hundreds of thousands of civilians died, well over a trillion dollars wasted, millions of refugees, entire cities and villages decimated, the mass influx of terrorists organizations, our reputation around the world destroyed all based on a lie that Iraq had WMDs. Bush’s legacy is the Iraq war and nothing these neo-con extremists now say can change that (although his tanking of the economy to depths we haven’t seen since the Great Depression comes in a close second).

  14. Fine, susan, you join the military and you go over to that mess. “Self-absorbed arrogance combined with negligent, incompetent foreign policy” what was bush’s competent policy. You actually think bush was a good president. Bush was so horrible that Obama got reelected a second time. Everything is crap right now, but people still said, better than the GOP.

  15. One little problem with this bizarre version of events from one of the jug heads who got us into this nightmare. It’s called the Status of Forces Agreement and it was signed by Bush in 2008 and it’s principal articles called for all US troops to be withdrawn to their bases by June 2009 (which they were) and to have completely quit the country by the end of 2011 (which they had). There was a suggestion that a small residual force of trainers should be left in the country but the Maliki government effectively refused. And it’s hard imagine what a force of say 6-8,000 trainers, clerks. etc. would do in the current situation. They’d have to have been rescued. In short Obama implemented the Bush SOFA agreement. Mission Accomplished!

  16. Thank you ottovbvs for setting the record straight. It amazes me how folks pull opinions out of the ass and don’s know the facts. Otto is correct – that is the history. Also, Maliki has brought this on himself by refusing to bring the kurds and sunnis into his government. I guess, now, Iran will help him clean it up.

  17. “Obama inherited a pacified Iraq.” Pacified? I though the goal was a liberated Iraq. I thought the goal was a democratic Iraq. I was told the mission was accomplished 11 years ago when Bush was president. What are you talking about?

  18. While I do think it was an initial mistake for Bush to start war in Iraq, there is no way Obama can pass this one off to Bush in my book. Yeah, you can always say “it shouldn’t have been like that in the first place,” but that doesn’t solve a problem at all. In fact, I think it’s often the attitude that usually precedes a worse scenario. The president, regardless of who holds that seat, should be a leader, not a cry baby who keeps saying “it was like that when I got here.” I think of my cousin who bought a home a few years ago. The previous tenants were a pack of most-likely illegals who left the place totally trashed, and very disgusting by the time she held the keys. What do you think she did with that home from there on? Do you think she just kept complaining about what the previous owners did? I’ll tell you. She got to work, she acted like a leader over the territory she controlled, and now the house is beautiful.

    In any case, enough analogies. The facts of the Iraq matter are true. Bush did take us to Iraq (and that was a mistake in my opinion). But Obama did inherit a stable (at least relatively speaking concerning recent news) Iraq. Bush did tell an accurate warning of what a premature departure would result in (at the top of this article). Even if Bush was warned not to go into Iraq in the first place (which he was, and you can blame him for that), the fact remains that Obama did inherit something that was much better then than it is now. Everybody inherits their portion of this world when they are born, and then sub-portions within as they progress through life. While we are not accountable for what previous generations did with the world, we are accountable for what WE DO with what we inherit. What did Obama do with what he inherited? Obama blundered.

    And as for lying, yeah, I do believe Bush lied, and it’s not ok. And I personally don’t think he was a good president. But Obama is far, far worse, and a much bigger liar:

    Healthcare scandal – Obama lied about keeping your doctor
    IRS scandal – Obama lied about what was happening
    NSA scandal – Obama lied about the whole thing
    VA scandal – Obama lied about not knowing
    Bergdahl scandal – Obama lied about his health

    We can go on and on about the horrible decisions Obama has made. But the point is, Obama really messed up in Iraq.

    • In 2008 George W. Bush signed the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. It included a deadline of 31 December 2011, before which “all the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory”.[12][13][14]

  19. One problem. It was Bush who signed the 2008 Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and all U.S. forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011. Which they were.

    So you guys are angry Obama followed an agreement?

    Uh, ok…

  20. If Vietnam was about hearts and minds, the middle east is about heads and genitals, the cruelty of which is beyond what most Americans can fathom. There’s a lot of crazy people running around, but few with leadership and organizational skills. Target them. Make it where they can’t even take their dog for a walk without getting whacked. Terror works both ways. Never loose sight of long term strategic interests and goals especially the political dimension there– and here. That’s where Bush failed(Mission Accomplished). Americans do not like protracted conflicts. They wait on the final gun and game point. That never comes in war; political conflicts continue. So find your friends(with leadership skills). It may be a president or a tribal chieftain. Support them, let them know you will be there and won’t leave them hanging.
    Understand you might have to turn a blind eye to their cruelties. And finally, watch Lawrence of Arabia every so often as a reminder of the sensibilities you’re dealing with here.

  21. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/22/world/middleeast/united-states-and-iraq-had-not-expected-troops-would-have-to-leave.html?_r=0

    Revisionist history says all there ever was ref SOFA was the 2008 agreement. That is of course false. One needn’t look to far to shake loose the cobwebs and read some pieces that will clarify the memory that this administration failed in their efforts to negotiate a SOFA beyond 2011. Panetta, Biden, Clinton, and the President himself all made efforts, and failed, to complete a post withdrawal SOFA.

    From the NYT, above, the administration made an analytical judgement that Iraq was not in fact in danger of devolving into chaos post war. This led to their negotiating numbers that were lower and lower by the day, from 10s of thousands, down to the final proposal of 3-5k.
    They eventually failed to reach any agreement at all, and were left hoping to reinstall training forces in 2012.

    2008 was the platform for withdrawal. It was never intended as the final word for US presence in post war Iraq.
    The long term SOFA efforts of this administration in 2010 and 2011 were noted across the board as a failure. You can’t simply skip past that piece of the story and fall back to the 2008 SOFA to blame Bush. Even in Nov of 2008 a second agreement was already under discussion.
    Lose the talking points and do your homework. It’s all out there.

  22. Here is analysis from 2007, the same year that GW gave his warning (which I guess was because major combat operations had not really ended?):

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/25/AR2007052501380.html

    “Months before the invasion of Iraq, U.S. intelligence agencies predicted that it would be likely to spark violent sectarian divides and provide al-Qaeda with new opportunities in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Analysts warned that war in Iraq also could provoke Iran to assert its regional influence and “probably would result in a surge of political Islam and increased funding for terrorist groups” in the Muslim world.

    The intelligence assessments, made in January 2003 and widely circulated within the Bush administration before the war, said that establishing democracy in Iraq would be “a long, difficult and probably turbulent challenge.” The assessments noted that Iraqi political culture was “largely bereft of the social underpinnings” to support democratic development. ”

    Now how prophetic is that?

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