President Obama deserves credit for irresponsibly “ending” the Iraq War

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“Well, let’s see what I’ve done since I came into office. I said I’d end the war in Iraq. I did.”
-President Obama interviewed on 60 Minutes last Sunday

President Obama once again takes credit for something that he deserves zero credit for: The “end” of the war in Iraq. That “war” (or insurgency), for the most part, ended on Bush’s watch, post-surge and Awakening successes. The hard decision which made conditions for troop withdrawal possible- and the one which then senator Obama opposed- was made by President Bush:

the president of the United States decided to go for broke. Despite national sentiment against the war, despite condemnation on Capitol Hill, President George W. Bush ordered more than 21,000 additional troops to war-a gamble that may be a pivotal moment for his presidency and the country.

The Status of Forces Agreement was also negotiated between President Bush and the Iraqi government. Not by President Obama (who may have tried, as presidential candidate, to have the Iraqi government delay negotiating and signing until after the 2008 Election). What he did accomplish was a failure to renegotiate the Agreement, as intended.

Will he accept responsibility for his irresponsibility or push his mishandling of Iraq upon his predecessor (who can no longer make the big decisions, based upon current conditions on the ground) for bringing us there in the first place? Neil Snyder at American Thinker:

his claim that he ended the war in Iraq contradicts the reality on the ground. Iraq is still at war and is coming unglued, and it’s largely due to the fact that the U.S. got out of Iraq before the job was finished. Christians are being persecuted en masse; Sunni and Shia Muslims are killing each other almost daily; and Iran is steadily increasing its influence in Iraq. So the truth is that President Obama didn’t end the war in Iraq. He simply abandoned Iraq’s leaders and forced them to fend for themselves.

Peter Feaver at Shadow Government mentions a new book that raises questions about Obama’s handling of Iraq:

Has Obama fulfilled his most famous national security campaign commitment from 2008: to end the Iraq war “more responsibly” than he says we began it? According to this excerpt from Michael Gordon’s new book on Iraq, the answer may well turn out to be no.

Gordon is considered by many to be the best reporter on the Iraq war and his long-awaited book is likely to shed new light particularly on the last half-decade of U.S. involvement. The excerpt in Sunday’s New York Times covers the Obama administration’s failed effort to negotiate terms for the long-planned-for stay-behind military force. The Obama administration is understandably reluctant to talk about these efforts much, and nowadays when the president mentions Iraq he makes it sound like he never considered anything other than withdrawing all but a handful of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. However, if that was what the president secretly intended all along, it was not what the administration was officially pursuing for the first several years when it tried, unsuccessfully, to negotiate a new Status of Forces Agreement.


The picture is not very pretty. Gordon documents:

  • A president unable to engage in effective personal diplomacy at crunch time because he had failed to invest in the hard work of retail diplomacy along the way. This is a problem that extends well past Iraq, as another blockbuster New York Times story makes clear. As an unnamed U.S. diplomat told the NYT: “He’s not good with personal relationships; that’s not what interests him…But in the Middle East, those relationships are essential. The lack of them deprives D.C. of the ability to influence leadership decisions.”
  • A team whose wild over-confidence contributed to the failure to react in a timely manner to an unraveling situation. In one of the most devastating items in the piece, Gordon quotes Vice President Biden: “I’ll bet you my vice presidency Maliki will extend the SOFA,” he added, referring to the Status of Forces Agreement the Obama administration hoped to negotiate.”
  • A team paralyzed by infighting and poisonous civil-military relations. Gordon reports that Thomas Donilon, Obama’s national security advisor, criticized Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for presenting military advice that ran counter to what the White House wanted to hear.
  • ~~~

    The closer one looks at the facts, the less they seem to support the campaign spin of a “responsible” end to a troubled war.

    Iraq’s current quagmire is happening on President Obama’s watch. It should be marked as a part of his presidential legacy.

    President Obama blames President Bush on starting the “dumb war“, while riding the success coattails of its conclusion in the twilight year of his predecessor’s presidency.

    The real narrative isn’t that he was responsible for ending the war in Iraq. The real narrative is that he bungled the hard-won gains made by others; and fumbled the ball:

    It is interesting how Iranian influence is growing in Iraq. I keep on thinking of Joel Wing’s conclusion that Iraq is still more violent than Afghanistan.

    Further article of interest:
    Why the U.S. should support Mithal Alusi and Kurdistan

    6 Responses to “President Obama deserves credit for irresponsibly “ending” the Iraq War”

    1. 1


      Most liberals are aware that the end of the Iraq war was solidified before Obama took office—although Bush was against it. Obama just says that he ended the war, hoping to sway those that don’t know any better. Kind of like Republicans say things that are untrue, hoping that some ignorant righties will believe it.

    2. 2

      Nan G

      When people say President Bush was ”against” ending the war in Iraq,” what bush was really against was TELEGRAPHING the last days, weeks, months. even year of the war to the enemy.
      Bush also hoped for an extended presence in Iraq like a base or two….like we have had in Germany and Japan after we ended war with those two nations.
      All of this Bush wanted was aligned with our military leadership as well as top strategists about how to win the peace.
      Obama had no idea how to win either a war OR a peace.
      His actions in Libya and Iraq are proof of this ignorance.

      Obama’s mismanagement of things military has cost him support from both veterans and active duty military…..
      Proof of this is seen by a poll from 2 months ago.
      Rasmussen polling found that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters who have served in the military favor the Republican challenger, while only 35% support the president.
      Obama used to have supporters claiming he had the military/veteran vote.
      Not true.
      If Obama thought he had the military vote he wouldn’t be putting up roadblocks to active duty service persons getting their ballots counted.

      Maybe the media is covering up for Obama.
      But people with military experience, military in their families are not being fooled.
      Spread the word, Word.

    3. 3


      The timeline for withdrawal from Iraq was already set at the end of the Bush admin. Obama did not “do” anything other than sign the paper that Bush left him. He simply took credit for it. It’s even more outrageous considering his opposition to the very tough decisions that had to be made and work/sacrifices to actually bring about the conditions such that the war “could” be ended. To me at least…there is a difference between politicians spinning something and taking personal credit for something you didn’t do.

      Another doozy in that 60min was Clinton when he suggested that in 98 he was never given any credible intel on Iraq about about a nuke program (ie., one of the reasons he sent rockets into Iraq that year). Here’s Bubba in 98 press conference explaining why he was “going it alone” to launch missles in Iraq.

      “Earlier today, I ordered Americas armed forces to strikemilitary and security targets in Iraq. They are joined byBritish forces. Their mission is to attack Iraqs nuclear,chemical and biological weapons programs and its militarycapacity to threaten its neighbors.”

      I long for the day that DNC past presidents/vice-presidents will have the dignity to just shut up after they leave office and not try to have a 2nd political life through media to interject themselves into anything and everything during somebody else’s term.

    4. 5

      Common Sense

      @liberal1(objectivity): Like 0-blama saying he will have unemployment at 6% by now, the deficit cut in half, our economy turned around, Gittmo closed, and affordable healthcare that will cost American taxpayers less than we pay now? Geeez what a tool you are.

    5. 6


      Well Obama always could have continued the Iraq war. He could have sent more troops in–he’s the Commander in Chief in case you’ve forgotten. Regardless I’m not going to give one bit of praise to the man who started the damn thing in the first place. Have you been over there? I have. There is NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING that America could do then, now and in the future to stop Shia and Sunni from killing each other. That hate runs so deep that it’s ingrained in their very bones. The only think that kept them even remotely in line was a sadistic, violent and selfish dictator. That country was a mess and still is a mess. I’m sorry we sunk one dollar into that place. I’m sad that I lost a good leader and friend there. The troops didn’t want to be there. The Iraqis didn’t want us there.

      I fail to see what leaving a base or two there does other than giving the local ‘insurgent’ groups something to target with their rockets and mortars. They don’t deserve anything else from us, we already gave enough. Maybe if they as a people can get their shit together then the US can think about resuming diplomatic relations. Otherwise they can rot in their own corner of the world. We’ve got enough problems elsewhere to babysit them anymore.

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