Obama abides by Bush’s timeline for leaving Iraq, although you wouldn’t know that to hear him tell it (video)

Less than an hour ago, President Obama announced we will abide by the agreement the Bush administration struck in fall 2008 to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

Oh, wait — that’s not what he said?

As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end…. After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011. … So, today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.

That’s what the president said (video here and below). He made no mention of the Status of Forces Agreement from October 2008, ratified by Iraqi lawmakers in November 2008, that stated, in pertinent part:

All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.

Surely, that part of “as promised” matters at least as much as Obama’s campaign promise.

It’s news that the agreement will be upheld, and it is unquestionably good news for the soldiers and their families that they’ll be leaving a combat zone and returning to their families.

Whether it’s ultimately good news for Iraqis, and whether they’ll be able to secure the gains won by precious American blood and treasure, remains to be seen. The Iraqi military has had several years to prepare for this day, and it had to come sometime. This is probably as good a time as any.

Good for Obama for standing by the agreement he inherited. But it is telling about his weak political position that he offered no credit to the people who set this withdrawal in motion.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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177 comments Add your comment

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 21st, 2011
1:38 pm

Typical Obozo…let others do the work, and if it pans out get in front of it and claim credit.

Tommy Maddox

October 21st, 2011
1:42 pm

Thank you Mr. President for honoring an Agreement struck by your predecessor.

Tommy Maddox

October 21st, 2011
1:43 pm

By the way:

Hey Iraq, you’re on your own.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 21st, 2011
1:46 pm

No doubt the Nobel Committee is preparing the next peace prize for the President who led the effort to democratize so much of the Middle East–Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and perhaps Syria and elsewhere. President George W. Bush.

straight curve

October 21st, 2011
1:47 pm

Stop blaming Bush!

Oh, you mean he should get credit for this?

Credit Bush!

Good job, fellas.

bobmoses

October 21st, 2011
1:49 pm

“Stop blaming Bush!

Oh, you mean he should get credit for this?

Credit Bush!

Good job, fellas.”

Well yes. He signed the agreement that is making this happen.

@@

October 21st, 2011
1:51 pm

Hit on this inconvenient truth downstairs. It’s a small man who takes credit for his predecessor’s difficult decisions.

But then Obama is a small man. Small in mind and overall stature.

Wanting so badly to be Bush.

schnirt

SB

October 21st, 2011
1:52 pm

Why can’t you just give the man credit. Those who claim to be the most patriotic, are being very UNPATRIOTIC by not standing by the president in these times when America is hated all over the world. The man has kept us safe, Killed Osama and Qhaddafi (unlike Bush: (9/11 and Katrina)). Makes some level headed people wonder, what is the REAL reason for the HATE. HMMMMMMMMMM..

CJ

October 21st, 2011
1:54 pm

A little context would be helpful. Obama campaigned on pulling out of Iraq long before this agreement went into affect. This agreement was executed at a time when Obama’s victory was a foregone conclusion, and in part, in reaction to the Obama campaign. Obama’s opponent during the campaign, John McCain, criticized Obama for promising to withdraw from Iraq, campaigned against such an agreement, and gave every indication that, if elected, he would attempt to renegotiate such an agreement.

When negotiations began, it was widely assumed that Bush would extract from the Iraqis an agreement which made the removal of U.S. troops entirely contingent upon American assessments of conditions on the ground…But Iraqi leaders, to most everyone’s surprise, took a hard line in the negotiations…the Iraqi leaders clearly kept a careful eye on the American Presidential elections and used Obama’s stance to strengthen their own hand in negotiations…Iraqis insisted on an Obama-style timeline for U.S. withdrawal instead of a Bush/McCain- style conditions-based aspirational time frame for U.S. withdrawal.

http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/01/18/sofa_not_the_surge

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 21st, 2011
1:54 pm

America is hated all over the world? How can that be, three years into the Obozo administration? Didn’t they hear about his Peace Prize?

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 21st, 2011
1:55 pm

Taking credit for the work of others…that’s the Obama Doctrine.

@@

October 21st, 2011
1:55 pm

It’s also important to note, the Obama’s cabinet has been negotiating for an extended stay in Iraq. Of course, that was without the knowledge of his base. Transparency doesn’t serve him well.

Under different circumstances, we’d be extending our visit to Iraq.

Inconvenient truths.

You folks are unbelievable!

October 21st, 2011
1:56 pm

Let’s see: Bush = good. Obama = bad. That’s it, right? Kyle, I have just eliminated the need for you to have a blog. Please cease now.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 21st, 2011
1:56 pm

“Why can’t you just give the man credit.”

We do. He didn’t stray from his predecessor’s plans. Not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan, and not in chasing AQ. He gets credit for all of that. What’s your point, SB? If you can name a new initiative he started in any of these areas, please do so.

@@

October 21st, 2011
1:57 pm

SB:

Had Obama acknowledged Bush’s prior committment, I’d be giving him credit. The man’s ego is going to devour him.

Kyle Wingfield

October 21st, 2011
1:57 pm

Oh, so now Obama gets credit not only for doing what Bush agreed to do, but for making him agree to it? Will wonders never cease…

Btw, the Obama administration has been trying for months to get an extension to leave several thousand troops in Iraq after Dec. 31. Baghdad refused, and now the president comes out and says he’s removing all of ‘em. No mention of that, today, either…

Debra Cooper-Stewart

October 21st, 2011
1:57 pm

Nice try, Kyle Wingfield. Great attempt to deflect from the facts that this war was NEVER justified in the first place and the our former president of the United States, George W. Bush had us go to war without cause. But hey, you go for it. I couldn’t stand George Bush, but I’m gonna celebrate today as an American. I suggest you do the same, if you give a damn about this country. Peace, brother.

straight curve

October 21st, 2011
1:58 pm

“Well yes. He signed the agreement that is making this happen.”

Ironically, I have no problem with giving him credit for agreeing to this. I also wish that Obama had given Bush the nod in his speech.

Junior Samples

October 21st, 2011
1:59 pm

Kyle, I agree that it’s good news that our soldiers are coming home to their families. And yes, President Bush made the commitment, and President Obama followed through with it.

I am thankful to both that this hasn’t continued longer than it has.

Kyle Wingfield

October 21st, 2011
2:01 pm

straight curve: That’s the point. As I wrote, good for Obama for standing by the agreement. He deserves that part of the credit. But for a man who has spent nearly three years blaming nearly every one of his problems on his predecessor, would it have hurt to nod to Bush just once in today’s remarks?

@@

October 21st, 2011
2:01 pm

And by the by. He’s about to get a big lesson in humility. I seriously doubt he’ll be re-elected. From what I’ve read, even his media arm has turned on him. They’ve soured on “the lemon”.

Kyle Wingfield

October 21st, 2011
2:01 pm

Amen, Junior.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 21st, 2011
2:05 pm

“Great attempt to deflect from the facts that this war was NEVER justified in the first place and the our former president of the United States, George W. Bush had us go to war without cause.”

Debra, a deflection is used to change the subject of the column or an individual post in following comments. Kyle has done neither of these. You may argue (correctly, in my opinion) that we never should have gone into Iraq, but you cannot argue logically that any deflection has occurred on Kyle’s part.

@@

October 21st, 2011
2:06 pm

Btw, the Obama administration has been trying for months to get an extension to leave several thousand troops in Iraq after Dec. 31. Baghdad refused, and now the president comes out and says he’s removing all of ‘em. No mention of that, today, either…

‘Scuse me! I mentioned it at 1:55

I’ve BEEN mentioning it for months. The left-wing bloggers chose to ignore it. They really do live in a world of make believe.

Kyle Wingfield

October 21st, 2011
2:06 pm

Sorry, @@, meant no mention by POTUS.

Hey

October 21st, 2011
2:08 pm

Debra Cooper-Stewart

October 21st, 2011
1:57 pm

Of course Libya was certainly justified. Typical liberal hypocrisy.

Pete

October 21st, 2011
2:09 pm

Thank God for Barack Obama. Bush=War. Obama=Peace.

E-Roll

October 21st, 2011
2:11 pm

Since this concept is above some of your head, your’s also Kyle this is what the plan was for the Status of Forces Agreement. The plan was ALWAYS to have troops remain in Iraq after 12-31-11 not in a combat role but in an “advisor” role (sounds like the beginning of Vietnam). President Obama decided to remove all troops because the US and Iraq could not come to an agreement on prosecution of US troops for future accused crimes that may happen in the future. All of the information below came during the Bush administration and includes some information from the NY Times the same publication that you sited Kyle.

U.S. President George W. Bush hailed the passing of the agreement between the two countries. “The Security Agreement addresses our presence, activities, and withdrawal from Iraq”, Bush said. He continued that “two years ago, this day seemed unlikely – but the success of the surge and the courage of the Iraqi people set the conditions for these two agreements to be negotiated and approved by the Iraqi parliament.”[39]

Army planners have privately acknowledged they are examining projections that could see the number of Americans hovering between 30,000 and 50,000, but maybe as high as 70,000, for a substantial time beyond 2011. Pentagon planners say those currently counted as combat troops could be “re-missioned” and that their efforts could be redefined as training and support for the Iraqis.[40] Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has also said “three years is a long time. Conditions could change in that period of time.”[41]

In a letter to U.S. military personnel about new rules of engagement, Gen. Ray Odierno said that U.S. forces would reduce their visibility but that this does not mean “any reduction in our fundamental ability to protect ourselves.” Odierno wrote that U.S. forces would coordinate “operations with the approval of the GoI (Government of Iraq), and we will conduct all operations by, with, and through the Iraqi Security Forces.” “Despite some adjustments to the way we conduct operations, the agreement simply reinforces transitions that are already underway, and I want to emphasize that our overarching principles remain the same”, he further wrote.[42]

General Raymond Odierno said that some U.S. forces would remain at local security stations as training and mentoring teams past the June 2009 deadline specified in the status of forces agreement. In contrast, Robert Gates estimated U.S. troops will be “out of cities and populated areas” by June 30. “That’s the point at which we will have turned over all 18 provinces to provincial Iraqi control,” he predicted.[43] A spokesman for Odierno, Lt. Col. James Hutton, reiterated that the soldiers staying in cities would not be combat forces but rather “enablers,” who would provide services such as medical care, air-traffic control and helicopter support that the Iraqis cannot perform themselves.[44] Odierno’s comments sparked outrage among some Iraqi lawmakers who say the U.S. is paving the way for breaching the interim agreement.[45]

When asked by Charlie Rose in a PBS interview how big the American “residual” force would be in Iraq after 2011, Secretary of Defense Gates replied that although the mission would change, “my guess is that you’re looking at perhaps several tens of thousands of American troops.”[16]

MarkV

October 21st, 2011
2:11 pm

Kyle, you must be really out of ideas how to attack Obama if you resort to criticizing that he reminds people that he has kept his promise. As a President, Obama certainly had the option to try to renegotiate the agreement. He did not do that and kept his promise. End of story.

Stevie Ray

October 21st, 2011
2:12 pm

DEBRA S-C:

I concur relative to the unnecessary wars between, let’s see: Korea (Truman), Vietnam (over-rated JFK geometrically ramped up by LBJ), Afghanistan (Cowboy) and Iraq (Cowboy). If you are suggesting that one party has an advantage over the other in volunteering death to so many kids without direct threat to our shores, you are sadly mistaken.

Yes, your boy in the WH definitely perpetuated Bush’s timetable. Also, the idea that any sitting president wants to take “credit” for work that is already in progress, especially asassinations of non-threatening nutjobs, is like me taking solo credit for a TD from the 1 yard line after a 90 yard drive.

Independent Voter

October 21st, 2011
2:13 pm

President Obama should get credit Bush destroy america when he was in office.

We are happy we have a president in office like president Obama.

Obama/Biden 2012

Hey

October 21st, 2011
2:15 pm

Obama= War in Libya, troops in Africa, ordering killing of American citizens without due process……can you imagine the hysterical outrage in the liberal community if this was not Obama doing these things.

Jefferson

October 21st, 2011
2:15 pm

Again the President has to bail out President Bush.

@@

October 21st, 2011
2:16 pm

Mark V:

As a President, Obama certainly had the option to try to renegotiate the agreement. He did not do that and kept his promise. End of story.

It was the Iraqi government that refused to negotiate.

Something I’ve noticed about Obama. He likes to let others do his dirty work. I’m assuming his cabinet members do what they’re told. If not, he’s a lousy leader.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 21st, 2011
2:19 pm

“you must be really out of ideas how to attack Obama if you resort to criticizing that he reminds people that he has kept BUSH’s promise.

Fixed your typo, MarkV. What part of this do you NOT understand?

Stevie Ray

October 21st, 2011
2:20 pm

MARKV:

In the event your boy BO is not re-elected, will he be first US president to blame his lack of leaderhip and failure to successfully address employment issues, education problems (not to mention passing a behind the scenes healthcare bill that is not beyond the shadow of a doubt constitutional)on a prior administration. What a book that will make: How George Bush Doomed My Presidency” by BO.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 21st, 2011
2:21 pm

“Obama=Peace.”

Yeah, those were 500 lb. flower arrangements our aircraft were dropping on Libya, right? :roll:

JF McNamara

October 21st, 2011
2:23 pm

I wonder if Bush were around would we be honoring this agreement, or would Kyle be writing about America’s need to keep global stability and keep Iran and Amhenijad in check?

Given his track record, my guess is that we’d be staying there indefinately. Having an agreement is one thing. Honoring that agreement is another.

BTW, when is Iraq oil money going to pay us back for our costs there? Why aren’t we taxing the oil companies getting the stuff out of the ground or getting some of the Iraqi governments oil money?

Hey

October 21st, 2011
2:23 pm

Liberals never let facts get in the way of their opinions.

Stevie Ray

October 21st, 2011
2:23 pm

I suspect OB’s follow up book to “Doomed” will be: It’s Not Easy Being the Only Adult in the Kindergarten (and other tales of my fickle finger of fate) by BHO…

Kyle Wingfield

October 21st, 2011
2:24 pm

MarkV: Actually, he did try to negotiate an extension for several thousand troops. He and Maliki couldn’t strike a deal, so the original plan stood.

CJ

October 21st, 2011
2:25 pm

so now Obama gets credit not only for doing what Bush agreed to do, but for making him agree to it?

Again, the Iraqis made him agree to it, using Obama’s position and standing at the time as leverage. As the link I provided indicates, the existing agreement was about to expire and if Bush couldn’t come to an agreement, then we would have been forced to withdraw immediately.

Chuck

October 21st, 2011
2:25 pm

Yeah. Bush signed the agreement to end the war. He also lied (or omitted the truth, same thing) to the American people and Congress to start the war in the first place. So since we’re giving Bush credit, we might as well hold him accountable for the 5,000 American lives lost, the trillion dollars squandered, and tens of thousands of Americans wounded. What did we get out of this whole mess? I have no idea! Why did we get into this mess? I have no idea! So go blame Obama. Lord knows we can’t blame Bush.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 21st, 2011
2:26 pm

“I wonder if Bush were around would we be honoring this agreement, or would Kyle be writing about America’s need to keep global stability and keep Iran and Amhenijad in check?”

We’ll never know, will we? Just as we’ll never know if not bailing out banks and not racking up trillions in new debt might have been better for our economy in the long run.

Idle speculation is just that. And every bit as pointless.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 21st, 2011
2:28 pm

Actually, Chuck, no one is not blaming Bush for Iraq. You have merely engaged in what is called a deflection.

Dresden

October 21st, 2011
2:31 pm

Kyle, what legitimate reason did we have to go into Iraq in the first place? No link to Al Qaeda, No WMD, No 9-11 involvement. Plain and simple, the Iraq war was not justified one bit.

@@

October 21st, 2011
2:32 pm

Don’t any of you leftists find it odd that Obama’s recent incursion (for humanitarian reasons) into Uganda follows after the discovery of oil?

Earlier this year, at least 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil were discovered along Uganda’s border. The Economist reports that the country expects to earn $2 billion a year beginning in 2015.

Could this be Obama’s WAR FOR OIL??????

Hey

October 21st, 2011
2:32 pm

Every death that has occurred since 12PM on Jan 20, 2009 is Obama’s responsibility. As commander in chief he has the authority to order every American soldier in both Iraqi and Afghanistan to withdraw and return to American territory.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

October 21st, 2011
2:35 pm

“Kyle, what legitimate reason did we have to go into Iraq in the first place?”

Again, Dresden, a deflection. It has nothing to do with the subject matter of the article Kyle posted.

“No link to Al Qaeda”

Actually, a tenuous link, but not enough to invade.

“No WMD,”

Not known at the time.

“No 9-11 involvement.”

Probably not.

“Plain and simple, the Iraq war was not justified one bit.”

Correct, but still a deflection from the point Kyle is making.

Hey

October 21st, 2011
2:38 pm

Also, Obama is responsible for every civilian death that has occurred as “collateral damage” from the greatly increased drone attacks that have occurred since he became president, at his command.