Thursday, October 2, 2014

Panetta: Obama allowed Iraq to collapse

All for politics. Astonishing that someone from this administration finally felt compelled to divulge the truth (at least in this matter)...
PoliticalWire: Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta blames the White House for much of the current chaos in Iraq in his new memoir, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace.

Panetta writes that "our side viewed the White House as so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests."
Related link: Panetta: Obama, White House Responsible For Chaos In Iraq

Ed Morrissey of HotAir takes a look back at the lead up to this revelation...
...this mirrors the reporting at the time — that Obama allowed the opportunity to slip away through apathy and a lack of leadership. No doubt the failure of that effort to reach a new status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) fit within his political goals. Obama wanted to be able to claim that he’d achieved his promise of withdrawing all troops from Iraq, a major theme of his 2012 re-election campaign; in fact, he sounded offended during one of the debates when Mitt Romney suggested that Obama had actually wanted a new SOFA.

“What I would not have done,” Obama declared in October 2012, “is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down — that certainly would not help us.” And that was the party line until the ISIS onslaught of the summer, when Obama tried rewriting history in mid-June:

Panetta’s memoir sets this record straight once and for all. Obama might have tolerated a SOFA if it was handed to him on a silver platter (making what he said in October 2012 a flat-out lie), but wasn’t going to lift a finger to get it (making his June 2014 statement untrue as well).

This isn’t a new revelation from Panetta, however. A week before Obama went on 60 Minutes to claim that the ISIS surprise was caused by the intelligence community underestimating the threat, Panetta preceded him on 60 Minutes to discuss the withdrawal from Iraq. Panetta told Scott Pelley that it was a mistake, and he knew it at the time, but that Obama was determined to abandon Iraq:

Panetta also says that Obama ignored the advice of his national-security team in regard to Syria as well. In the same show, Panetta also warned that it would take a very long time to defeat ISIS, and that the American public isn’t being warned sufficiently of the time and resources it will take.
Of course, Obama would rather fault intelligence than accept blame for yet another debacle of his own creation (or neglect).

Related link: Panetta: Obama has given up (We could only be so lucky!)

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