Obama blames Bush for leaving no troops in Iraq; Rebuked Romney for advocating continued presence

Special to WorldTribune.com

Washington Times

At the White House on Saturday morning — less than 48 hours after authorizing airstrikes against Islamist militants and humanitarian air drops to save the lives of trapped Iraqi civilians — President Obama blamed his predecessor, George W. Bush, for the absence of American troops in Iraq and rejected the assertion that he could have left a small peacekeeping force in the war-torn nation. …

SpinnerInChief“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,” Mr. Obama told reporters just before leaving for a two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. “So let’s just be clear: The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because the Iraqis — 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. 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.” …

During one October 2012 debate with Mr. Romney, the president seemed to deny that he supported a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government, a deal that would have formally allowed American troops to remain in Iraq and would have protected them from prosecution in Iraqi courts. When Mr. Romney said he, like Mr. Obama, believed such an agreement should have been worked out, the president said “that’s not true” and went on to decry the presence of any American forces in Iraq.

“What I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. That certainly would not help us in the Middle East. You’ve got to be clear, both to our allies and our enemies, about where you stand and what you mean. Now, you just gave a speech a few weeks ago in which you said we should still have troops in Iraq,” he told Mr. Romney. “That is not a recipe for making sure that we are taking advantage of the opportunities and meeting the challenges of the Middle East.”


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