Monday, August 17, 2015

We Should Have Stayed In Iraq -- Oh, Really?!

Is Obama responsible for the rise of ISIS and the chaos and conflict raging in the Middle East? Republicans, especially the now unrepentant Jeb Bush, say Obama's decision to pull troops out of Iraq caused this debacle. Nonsense. "One can argue the single most consequential decision that brought us to today’s deplorable situation is the decision to invade Iraq." This from the conservative National Review. No kidding!

As for pulling out of Iraq, Shortly before Obama took office in January 2009, his predecessor, George W. Bush, finalized an important agreement after about a year of negotiations with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Called the Status of Forces Agreement, it spelled out the withdrawal of all American troops by the end of 2011.

The agreement failed over a demand by the U.S. that American troops be given immunity from prosecution by Iraqis, a very touchy political issue within the Iraqi Parliament. Obama was not going to allow American troops to be judged by Iraqi courts after the disaster that was the Bush Administration's prosecution of the war.
No immunity meant no residual troop presence. In an October 2011 news conference, Nouri al-Maliki said, "When the Americans asked for immunity, the Iraqi side answered that it was not possible. The discussions over the number of trainers and the place of training stopped. Now that the issue of immunity was decided and that no immunity to be given, the withdrawal has started."

One can easily imagine how "enraged" Republicans would've been had Obama agreed to allow American troops to be prosecuted in Iraqi courts for alleged crimes. They might've started throwing shoes!

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