The problem with attempting to rewrite recent history is that there are too many people around who remember what actually happened and that some of them write books. Such is the case with the political spin President Obama has used to explain why there were no troops left behind in Iraq.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday about Leon Panetta‘s new book “Worthy Fights,” excerpted in Time Magazine.
The article reports:
In Panetta’s forthcoming memoir “Worthy Fights,” which Time Magazine has excerpted, Panetta argues that Iraqi leaders privately wanted U.S. forces to stay behind after the formal 2011 withdrawal; that the U.S. had “leverage” to strike a deal; and that the Defense and State departments attempted to do so. However, says Panetta, “the President’s team at the White House pushed back” and thus no deal was reached.
This statement agrees with statements made by Ryan Crocker, ambassador to Iraq during the period in question.
National security should not be governed by politics. Unfortunately, under President Obama, every decision is governed by politics. We need to elect leaders who will put the good of America ahead of their own desire for personal gains.
Ryan Crocker is currently the first Kissinger Senior Fellow at Yale University 2012-2013. He also holds an appointment as the James Schlesinger Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia. In August 2013 he will return to his position as Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He retired from the Foreign Service in April 2009 after a career of over 37 years but was recalled to active duty by President Obama to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. He has served as U.S. Ambassador six times: Afghanistan (2011-2012), Iraq (2007-2009), Pakistan (2004-2007), Syria (1998-2001), Kuwait (1994-1997), and Lebanon (1990-1993). He posted at article in July at YaleGlobal Online stating his views on military intervention in Syria.
Please follow the link to read the entire article–it details the history of the reason and makes the case for no American military involvement at this time.
The article concludes:
I was in Lebanon recently, where the outgoing prime minister gloomily predicted a renewed civil war of which there are already signs with clashes between Sunnis and Alawites in the northern city of Tripoli, in the northeast and attacks on Hezbollah-controlled areas in Beirut. If the violence spreads, the Palestinians will join forces with the Lebanese Sunnis against the Shia, and that in turn will radicalize Palestinians in Jordan’s already fragile monarchy. Both countries need our security and economic support, for the refugee influx and their security forces.
This will be a long war. There is little the United States can do to positively influence events in Syria. Our focus must be on preventing further spillover beyond its borders. There may come a point where exhaustion on both sides makes a political solution possible. We are nowhere near that point. And my fear is that at the end of the day, the Assad regime prevails. We must be ready for that too.
We need to listen to the voice of experience.