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“A Clairvoyant Invader”: Did George W. Bush Foresee What’s Happening In Iraq?

In their rush to blame the escalating violence in Iraq on President Obama, Republican critics brush off any suggestion that his predecessor may also be to blame, offering up some version of “Oh yeah, Democrats always want to blame Bush, but Obama has been in office for more than five years.”

As annoying as that theme may be (there is in fact a direct correlation between current events and Mr. Bush’s decision to destroy the Iraqi government, military, courts and police force and do too little, too late to rebuild them), the latest talking point on the right is even more irritating and absurd.

Mr. Bush, this line of “reasoning” goes, was prescient. He foresaw the unraveling of Iraq if the United States pulled out its military prematurely. As Igor Volsky reported this morning on Think Progress, Fox News obligingly explained “how the president who first invaded the country was also the region’s most clairvoyant analyst.” According to this narrative, Mr. Bush “pretty much laid this out as it is happening,” way back in July 2007.

Mr. Bush did say there would be more violence if the United States left too early. But he let military commanders set the timetable (as was reasonable) and military commanders suggested the end of 2011. Mr. Bush began the drawdown in September of 2008, at the tail end of his presidency.

After Mr. Obama took office the following January, he urged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to sign an agreement allowing America troops to stay on longer than Jan. 1, 2012. But those talks fell through and the military recommended withdrawing as scheduled.

In 2011, Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a Republican who served under both Bushes) said Iraq would face security problems after a U.S. withdrawal. But, he pointed out, “it’s a sovereign country. And we will abide by the agreement, unless the Iraqis ask us to have additional people there.”

The Iraqis did not ask, and U.S forces withdrew. Mr. Obama did his best to clean up a huge mess left by his predecessor (and Iraq was far from the only one). To heap all the blame on him now is partisan hackery.


By: Andrew Rosenthal, Taking Note, Editorial Page Editors Blog, The New York Times, June 16, 2014

June 17, 2014 - Posted by | Foreign Policy, Iraq, Iraq War | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Paul Wolfowitz, prominent Neocon, was the number two man in the GW Bush Department of Defense and he was the first to advocate invading Iraq. He also designed the invasion, told Congress that the Iraqi people would welcome us as liberators, and that the war would pay for itself. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Yet he is appearing everywhere on the tube to offer his expert opinion on what President Obama should do now in Iraq. Don’t listen to the man. IMHO, he has no credibility.


    Comment by walthe310 | June 17, 2014 | Reply

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