October 22, 2011

Romney: "President Obama’s astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq..."

"... has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women."

Obama campaign answers: "Mitt Romney didn't lay out a plan to end the war in Iraq in his foreign policy agenda - he barely even mentioned Iraq - but he is apparently willing to leave American troops there without identifying a new mission."

ADDED: Spencer Ackerman: "But the fact is America’s military efforts in Iraq aren’t coming to an end. They are instead entering a new phase. On January 1, 2012, the State Department will command a hired army of about 5,500 security contractors, all to protect the largest U.S. diplomatic presence anywhere overseas."

53 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The Obama mission comes first. Military missions are a distant second.

Put some ice on that Kurds. The Turks are coming from the west and the Shiites are coming from the east to exterminate you for oil.

The only really strong belief Obama brings to the table, other than world revolution and ending Israel, is to STOP spending money on military missions.

Obama and Ron Paul are in agreement here.

So why do we abandon Iraq that has a real value to us (and 5 billion in military and embassy infrastructure) while we keep right on re-stocking the Afghan Live Fire Taliban Training Base as fast as the IEDs and guerrila ambushes kill off the young American targets?

Obama is evil.

Cedarford said...

Romney is basically right, though the nation is justly sick of that Neocon adventure money pit. And many are noting the Neocons are back in the courtier business on Romney's FP advisory staff.

What happened was that the negotiaions were bungled, we didn't bring pressure on Turkey and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States to check Iranian influence.

The end is Iran got just what it wanted from Bush's Dear Friend, the Shiite PM Malawki. And America lost badly.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Neither Obama nor Romney have any qualifications for setting the future of Iraq, though they enjoy gabbling and quacking and blame-shifting about it.

But Obama's sneer at Romney's 'failure' to set out a detailed plan is the worst example of pot and kettle and black. Obama's plan from day one was cut and run, with no consideration whatever for the future of Iraqis, or any statesmanlike consideration for world affairs.

In his world, a statesman is someone who has a hammerlock on the State of Illinois via the methods of Chicago politics.

AprilApple said...

Obama needs to secure his ear-pierced tattooed drum thumping base. This was 100% political. 0% smart.
We don't need a "mission", or a total withdrawal - we need a presence to maintain all that was fought for.

AJ Lynch said...

By responding to Romney, the Obama campaign is admitting it believes Romney will be the nominee. That seems premature and dumb to me.

Also, can the US military really really get out of Iraq by the end of 2011? There are only 10 weeks left in the year. That seems logistically impossible to me.

EDH said...

"[Romney] is apparently willing to leave American troops there without identifying a new mission."

In typical Obama fashion, he's making a sideway claim of "Mission Accomplished," without actually stating that claim.

Romney should challenge Obama into either claiming Mission Accomplished or admitting retreat.

Quayle said...

Democrats wanted to oppose Bush but still look beefy, so they criticized Iraq and talked up Afghanistan.

And based on that political problem alone we are now cutting from the truly strategic location and staying in the wasteland with no hope of democracy.

And Obama makes overtures that he's going to get tough on Iran and Syria, but he doesn't seem to have looked at a map. Iraq is right there, and now he's running.

Stupid is as stupid does.

(And boy does his team look scared of Romney, for some reason.)

sane_voter said...

This Iraq pullout is going to come back to bite Obambi in the ass, big time. Independents are not going to like seeing all the effort over the last 8 years wasted in short order, once the Iranians and Turks come in and wreak havoc. I guess the Saudis will be supporting the Sunnis against the other two. What a cluster . . .

G Joubert said...

Actually, you have to go to the foreign press to gain the understanding that this was more a foreign policy humiliation for Obama than anything else.

Plus, if it holds that all troops are out by the end of December, there is plenty of time before the election for Iraq to descend back into chaos too.

Quayle said...

Oh, and we're still in Germany with bases on land we took and never gave back.

And the USSR is gone.

And what is our "new mission" there?

Isn't it obvious?

The Drill SGT said...

Insufficiently Sensitive said...
Obama's plan from day one was cut and run, with no consideration whatever for the future of Iraqis, or any statesmanlike consideration for world affairs.


You left off the rest of the plan.

"Then blame the resultant failure of Iraq on Bush"

AJ Lynch said...
Also, can the US military really really get out of Iraq by the end of 2011? There are only 10 weeks left in the year. That seems logistically impossible to me.


No way. I guess you can drive the Brigades out to Kuwait and have them sit on the runways waiting for the planes. But you'll be abandoning billions in supplies to the Iranians (ultimately)

The Drill SGT said...

Blackfive put back up his 2005 plan for withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Big arrows from both countries into Iran.

amusing :)

Iraq is strategic.

A-stan? a landlocked collection of 19th century tribes shoting at each other.

America's Politico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
frank said...

Good point EDH

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

A's Pol, [A's Pol? A's Pol? Bueller? Bueller?] enjoy K street while you can, cause the tea party people are coming for you next.

And it won't be with drums and tents.

It will be voting out any pol that even had lunch with K streeter.

Your friends will have to congregate at Union station to have a place to go.

MayBee said...

But Obama's sneer at Romney's 'failure' to set out a detailed plan is the worst example of pot and kettle and black. Obama's plan from day one was cut and run, with no consideration whatever for the future of Iraqis, or any statesmanlike consideration for world affairs.

Excellent point. His plan was to say he didn't think we should necessarily believe the "parade of horribles" people talked about if we pulled out early.

And G Joubert is right. Obama is being disingenuous is the most extreme way. He himself wanted to keep troops there! Iraq wouldn't give us the terms we wanted (immunity for our soldiers).

Browndog said...

Also, can the US military really really get out of Iraq by the end of 2011? There are only 10 weeks left in the year. That seems logistically impossible to me.

heh-

Obama's a big believer in the 2nd Amendment:

A well supplied Mahdi militia being necessary to the security of a an Islamic State, the right of the Iraqi's to keep and bear American arms shall not be infringed.

David said...

Mitt is flailing. He's gonna get the nomination but he'll make the election close. Jeb Bush miscalculated. This was his year after all. He would have stomped this field.

G Joubert said...

One thing rarely discussed, we should have been very proactive in rebuilding Iraq's oil-producing infrastructure, first to reimburse ourselves for the costs of their liberation, and secondly to leave them that economic gift too. A tremendous opportunity lost which we'll never get back.

Robert Cook said...

Um...this withdrawal is part of a binding agreement made by the Bush Administration. Obama tried to renegotiate with the Iraqis for a later withdrawal, but they declined, given the conditions required by Washington.

http://www.salon.com/2011/10/21/about_that_iraq_withdrawal/singleton/

Of course, the fact remains our invasion of Iraq was a war crime that should never have happened.

roesch/voltaire said...

It is as orderly as it is going to get considering that the Iraqi will not support legal protections of any American troops after 2011, and they are anxious to take control of their country, but they are still willing to consider a small force of military trainers staying in the country. Yesterday on some of the talk shows, I heard a number of wounded vets call in and say how happy they were to see this devastating war come to an end; I guess they have a different perspective than the politicians that order them to war.

AllenS said...

We probably don't need a lot of people over there now, just enough to complete the stealing of their oil. That was our original mission, right?

AJ Lynch said...

Ackerman is a Journolister right?

Robert Cook said...

"Obama's plan from day one was cut and run, with no consideration whatever for the future of Iraqis, or any statesmanlike consideration for world affairs."

Hahahahaha!

Since when in the last 10 or 20 or 30 years has America had any "statesmen" or the least "statesmanlike consideration for world affairs?"

AllenS said...

You are correct, AJ.

victoria said...

Should have never gone in the first place, glad we are going to be out of that place. Next, Afghanistan.


Vicki from Pasadena

Quayle said...

Yesterday on some of the talk shows, I heard a number of wounded vets call in and say how happy they were to see this devastating war come to an end; I guess they have a different perspective than the politicians that order them to war.

Yesterday Hugh Hewitt had vets calling in saying exactly the opposite

SMGalbraith said...

What is most astonishing is that Obama can say that he's "ending the war in Iraq" by pulling out the remaining troops.

Apparently if we leave then al-Qaeda in Iraq and the other radical groups will cease fighting. Peace will break out.

Neat trick cause the press is uncritically repeating the line.

Perhaps we should leave but it's foolish to think the war will end by doing so.

Cedarford said...

Quayle - "(And boy does his team look scared of Romney, for some reason.)"

I think the sense is that Team Obama knows Romney is smarter than their man and is poised to gut him out on the economic mismanagement Team Obama has done.
Obama's hope is that the rubes of the dumb part of the Republican Party go with their "hearts" instead of their heads and give Obama the Presidential version of Sharron Angle or Alan Keyes to run against instead!

=========================
David - "Jeb Bush miscalculated. This was his year after all. He would have stomped this field."

Except that Dubya poisoned his prospects. No way will the country accept a 3rd BUSH!! in 25 years. Imagine Jimmy Carter had an extremely able, well liked younger brother that was a huge success in a swing state. Odds of Jimmy's brother getting elected President? Zero! (Jimmy only had the idiot..what..Billy?? so it is moot)

SMGalbraith said...

This is a brilliant political ploy by Obama.

What can Romney say? He can criticize the decision but then Obama can ask (as he will in the debates), "Will you send troops back there?"

If Romney says "Yes", the public - especially those lovable independents - will blanche.

There is no way the American public will support sending troops back there.

edutcher said...

John Bolton said it last night: you leave when the strategic context says you can, not when domestic politics say so.

sane_voter said...

This Iraq pullout is going to come back to bite Obambi in the ass, big time.

Along with handing over Egypt and Libya to the crazies.

This will create a situation far worse than any of the Cold War or the days of the Great Game.

Robert Cook said...

Um...this withdrawal is part of a binding agreement made by the Bush Administration. Obama tried to renegotiate with the Iraqis for a later withdrawal, but they declined, given the conditions required by Washington.

No, dear, the Iraqis bailed because they saw Zero wanted to split so badly and didn't want to expose themselves politically, so they took a hard line.

An extension was the object of the negotiations and the Iraqis, otherwise, were prepared to cut a deal.

They don't want Quds operating freely in their country.

Since when in the last 10 or 20 or 30 years has America had any "statesmen" or the least "statesmanlike consideration for world affairs?"

Since the last Administration understood you go after the people who attacked your country.

But they're too busy singing the "Internationale" down at the Daily worker to understand that.

victoria said...

Should have never gone in the first place, glad we are going to be out of that place. Next, Afghanistan.

The voice of the dhimmi who tells herself she's down with all thew oppressed people of the world.

They, of course, are the first ones to go to the wall.

G Joubert said...

The "hired army of 5,000 security contractors" overseen by the State Department won't even present a speed bump to the various competing factions if they renew their fighting.

SMGalbraith said...

The "hired army of 5,000 security contractors" overseen by the State Department won't even present a speed bump to the various competing factions if they renew their fighting

These contractors will provide security. They won't be able to take offensive action against the terrorists. Only preventive.

And my guess is that the vast majority will be stationed in the Green Zone or around Baghdad and our diplomatic outposts. They won't be able to go elsewhere.

To call them an "army" is a debasement of the term.

Sally Bennett said...

Thanks for the Guardian link, G. Joubert. It's good to know that some critical thinking is still being applied in journalism. Whatever happened to the idea that we could hold the current administration responsible for U.S. foreign policy mistakes? (That's a rhetorical question)

MayBee said...

Will the contractors have immunity? I know the left wanted them prosecuted when they operated under Bush.

MayBee said...

This is a brilliant political ploy by Obama.

What can Romney say? He can criticize the decision but then Obama can ask (as he will in the debates), "Will you send troops back there?"


And why can't Romney ask the same kinds of questions to Obama?

Robert Cook said...

"Since the last Administration understood you go after the people who attacked your country."

Okay...so you give props to FDR's administration and their response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Since then, when?

Mitochondri-Allie said...

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/veterans-say-iraq-afghanistan-wars-not-worth-sacrifice/

Veterans say Iraq and Afghanistan wars not worth the sacrifice.

Quayle said...

This is a brilliant political ploy by Obama.

What can Romney say? He can criticize the decision but then Obama can ask (as he will in the debates), "Will you send troops back there?"


The answer is "Just because you burned down a house doesn't mean we automatically rebuild it. But it does mean you are destructive and you need to step down."

SMGalbraith said...

And why can't Romney ask the same kinds of questions to Obama?

Obviousl he can. But Obama can respond, "I took out Bin Laden and I helped take out Kaddafi and I've been taking out AQ since Day One. No one can challenge my defense of this country."

I don't think Rommey can attack Obama on the national security questions. Obama's got a ready response.

MayBee said...

Obviousl he can. But Obama can respond, "I took out Bin Laden and I helped take out Kaddafi and I've been taking out AQ since Day One. No one can challenge my defense of this country."

But what can he say if Iraq is a mess at the time of the debate?

What can he say the Kaddafi story tells us about his future intentions? He took out Kaddafi, but just before that he increased military aid.
Pakistan is a mess. Iran is a danger. He hasn't improved the situation with those countries.
Is there any reason to suspect Mitt wouldn't continue to take out AlQ, just as Bush did before Obama?

SMGalbraith said...

But what can he say if Iraq is a mess at the time of the debate?

"I didn't unleash this mess in Iraq. That was caused by decisions of someone else."

"It's not in our interest to go back there."

I.e., blame Bush.

If the economy is still teetering then there's no way the public will support sending troops back.

harrogate said...

sane voter wrote:


"Independents are not going to like seeing all the effort over the last 8 years wasted in short order"

It is to laugh. Without ever a clear understanding of goals or endgame, we acquire "war fatigue," we choose not to debate it any longer, while it continues for 8 years and change. Yeah. It would be much preferable to see more such waste in *long order.*

EDH writes,

"Romney should challenge Obama into either claiming Mission Accomplished or admitting retreat."

Right! Because it MUST be one or the other! And because we always had such a clear definition of what the "Mission" was, in the first place!

It is precisely "thinking" like that embedded in the post I quote above, that should be most despised when it comes to discussions of foreign policy (and pretty much everything else).

Exit Question: EDH, how about at least a THIRD choice. How about, thank God we finally have ended this horrible thing, maybe we can learn from it (yeah right).

ic said...

No worry, our largest diplomatic presence will be evacuated soon.

Should we care about the Iraqis?No. If they like chaos, they'll have chaos; if they want a Saddam II, they'll have a Saddam II. There is really nothing we can do about it. We led them to water, they wouldn't drink. We can't stay there forever.

Let the Middle East burn, they will burnt out. We have enough oil and gas in North America to sustain ourselves.

We should leave Afghanistan too.

Romney should tell us how to dig out of Obama's ditch. He should simplify his 55 points to at most 5 catch phrases on taxes, jobs, social security, trades, foreign policy. If he can't do that, he can't win.

SMGalbraith said...

thank God we finally have ended this horrible thing,

But this "horrible thing" doesn't go away. And it hasn't ended. Because we no longer have troops there doesn't mean it's over. What happens in that region affects us here.

This isn't the 19th century anymore.

I like to tell the rest of the world to just go to hell. Unfortunately they can take us with them.

I wish it wasn't so but wishing is for children.

Cedarford said...

The growing assumption is Romney will be the nominee, but what of the rubes over on the stupid, religious, and Tea Party wing? Will they accept a boring establishment Republican who doesn't believe he was personally saved by Sweet Jesus - when they can follow their hearts and have another Goldwater that "shure sends a message!".???

Will Obama, at his 2nd Inaugural, be as chastened to the message! as LBJ was, after Obama beats the Perry/Pizzaman ticket or the Pizzaman/Joe the Plumber ticket??

MayBee said...

"I didn't unleash this mess in Iraq. That was caused by decisions of someone else."

"It's not in our interest to go back there."


But it doesn't have to be about going back. It is true that Obama wanted to stay because we fear what Iran will do, and true that we couldn't negotiate terms.
So all Romney has to say is, "It was relatively peaceful when you left. You made the choice to leave. This mess is on you".

We all recall the last election when it was all about how things would have been had Candidate X gotten what he wanted from the get-go. It wasn't about what will definitely happen in the future.

So what if nobody wants to send the troops back? The point will be, it's worse than it was when Obama got it. He had it for four years, and he was in charge those whole 4 years.

So Romney says, "I would have made a different choice, and we wouldn't be in this mess you created".

walter said...

Nothing to fear. The UN forces will keep things in check.

Quayle said...

...who doesn't believe he was personally saved by Sweet Jesus...

Romney's problem is that the Jesus he thinks saved him is the "wrong" Jesus.

sure Romney reads the Bible, but apparently when Romney reads it he sees a different Jesus than the one he's supposed to see, so the evangelicals can't abide it.

SMGalbraith said...

So what if nobody wants to send the troops back? The point will be, it's worse than it was when Obama got it. He had it for four years, and he was in charge those whole 4 years.

I agree. But I'm just arguing an electoral/political point

On substance, Romney has - I think - the better argument.

On politics, Obama does.

For better or worse, most of the American public wants to wash their hands of Iraq. It will be very difficult for Romney to convince them otherwise.

If Iraq explodes again, frankly I don't think the public will care much. They'll view it an Iraqi problem that we tried our best to solve - but no more treasure will be expended.

Obama can play the "Bin Laden" card. That can be a powerful answer to the "Obama is weak on national security" charge.

In any case, I'm sceptical of the argument that Iran has won or will be able to take over Iraq. Iraqi nationalism, Arab vs. Persian hatred and other factors will make that problematic.

MayBee said...

On substance, Romney has - I think - the better argument.

On politics, Obama does.


I disagree.
Romney only has to argue the theoretical, and we have no idea how things will be by the time they debate. If things are still going well, he can say, "I would have had a more orderly transition rather than waiting until the last minute and embarrassing ourselves in poorly handled negotiations". If things are going poorly, he could say, "This wouldn't be happening if you'd done it my way".

Obama has to argue what he actually did, and I think you overestimate the power of "I got OBL 2 years ago".

MayBee said...

It's easy enough to point out that getting OBL once he was found was the easiest call a US president could ever make.
It's the tough stuff Obama has a spotty record on. Mitt, having no responsibility for such things, only has to argue his record would have been better because he'd have done X,Y,Z.