Friday, August 21, 2015

Time to Revive the Pottery Barn Rule

It is simply wrong for the Left to deny that President Obama is to blame for our withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011 because that's what the 2008 Bush-era Status of Forces agreement provided. The problems we've faced since 2011 are all on President Obama.

Max Boot addresses the persistent claim by the Left that President Obama has no responsibility for the rise of ISIL in Iraq while we were gone.

Bush did as well as he could at the time to get a 3-year deal. Really, let's not forget the history of the conflict from our history with Saddam to our departure.

I assumed another deal would replace it at the time and assumed the new President Obama would take that step to defend our gains.

But much of this analysis and argument is really bouncing the rubble of the obvious.

To deny that President Obama is responsible for our leaving Iraq in 2011, you have to believe that President Obama tried very hard to get a deal to stay even though he campaigned for president on the promise to get our troops out of Iraq; and even though President Obama boasted about keeping his promise to get out of Iraq after our troops were pulled out.

Remember, if you break it, you own it. Let's hope President Obama is serious about restoring our position in Iraq before he leaves office.

I do retain hope that we have something better planned than the plodding near-stalemate we seem to have now.

It would be the height of this president's foreign policy success to leave to his successor an Iraq in as good a shape as President Bush left President Obama.

UPDATE: Let me clarify that when I speak of President Obama bearing all the responsibility, I am talking about the withdrawal decision. Iraq bears the bulk of the responsibility (with a big assist by Iran that put Iraqi leaders under pressure without our presence) for losing Anbar and Mosul.

I even said at the time that our withdrawal didn't mean we would fail any more than staying guaranteed success. I merely said leaving increased the chance of failure and staying increased the chance of success.