About that Iraq withdrawal (Glenn Greenwald)
Sunday October 23rd, 2011
President Obama announced today that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year, and this announcement is being seized upon exactly the way you would predict: by the Right to argue that Obama is a weak, appeasing Chamberlain and by Democrats to hail his greatness for keeping his promise and (yet again) Ending the War. Itís obviously a good thing that these troops are leaving Iraq, but letís note three clear facts before either of these absurd narratives ossify:
First, the troop withdrawal is required by an agreement which George W. Bush negotiated and entered into with Iraq and which was ratified by the Iraqi Parliament prior to Obamaís inauguration. Letís listen to the White House itself today:†"íThis deal was cut by the Bush administration, the agreement was always that at end of the year we would leave. . . .í an administration official said.Ē As I said, itís a good thing that this agreement is being adhered to, and one can reasonably argue that Obamaís campaign advocacy for the warís end influenced the making of that agreement, but the Year End 2011 withdrawal date was agreed to by the Bush administration and codified by them in a binding agreement.
Second, the Obama administration has been working for months to persuade, pressure and cajole Iraq to allow U.S. troops to remain in that country beyond the deadline. The reason theyíre being withdrawn isnít because Obama insisted on this, but because he tried ó but failed ó to get out of this obligation.