Iraq War

Hillary Clinton Just Made the Same Point About Obama Not Ending the Iraq War That Romney Did in in 2012

What the 2012 Democratic nominee took credit for the 2016 nominee blames on Bush.

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JOHN ANGELILLO/UPI/Newscom

Hillary Clinton argued at tonight's presidential debate that the decision to end the war in Iraq and completely withdraw U.S. troops from the country was made by George W. Bush, and not Barack Obama, in response to Donald Trump's contention that it was Obama's withdrawal from Iraq that created the space for ISIS to grow there.

Clinton's admission, which was correct, is a startling reversal from 2012, when President Obama made ending the war in Iraq a cornerstone of his re-election campaign. Republican nominee Mitt Romney, at the last debate that year, tried to point out that President Obama had actually at the start of his term tried to renegotiate Bush's status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq past the withdrawal date, but Obama persisted in denying it. By 2014, when ISIS began to become a substantial destabilizing force in an Iraq with an already ineffective, corrupt government, President Obama changed his tune, blaming Bush for negotiating the status of forces agreement that governed the total U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and insisting he had tried to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq past the withdrawal debate. This presidential election season, the talking points have made a complete reversal, with Hillary Clinton, this year's Democratic nominee, assigning credit (or blame, as it's become in mainstream politics today) for ending the war in Iraq on George W. Bush.

What difference, at this point, does it make? Not much. Obama eked out a victory in 2012 by repeating the talking point about having ended the war in Iraq (false) and bringing the Afghanistan war to a responsible end (it is in its 15th year with no sign of ending anytime soon), and the U.S. returned to Iraq in 2014 for an anti-ISIS campaign that continues, rudderless but persistent, to this day. The two major candidates argued about who had the better rhetoric on wiping ISIS out, but neither questioned the premise of interventionism itself. Without a third-party candidate on the debate stage, there won't be a conversation on the wisdom of U.S. interventions that have almost uniformly led to destabilization, from Libya to Afghanistan, both places where ISIS now also operates thanks to those U.S. interventions.

NEXT: Trump and Clinton Declare (Again) Support for Denying Guns Based on Gov't Suspicion

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  1. The reality is that there was an agreement in place to end the war when Obama took over, but the goal was always to leave 10,000 troops. Obama came in and the people actually involved in those talks all admit that the Obama administration made nothing more than a token gesture to stay. And a lot of libertarians don’t want to admit that staying was the right course of action at that point. And it did contribute to the rise of ISIS and the mess that followed.

    The excuses made for Obama on this don’t really matter. His supporters won’t hear them even when you show them the quotes from people who were part of the talks.

  2. And the attempts to ‘fact check’ tonight, and after, all show what absolute horse shit political fact checking is to begin with.

  3. It’s not your job to fact-check, Ed.

    1. Debate isn’t over holding politicians to task after they speak. The issue is with the term ‘fact-checking’ when it comes to politics, and even more specifically with the notion that a debate moderator is the one who should be doing that job. The talking heads get to speak before and after the debates putting whatever spin they want on it. The writers get to type out breathless stories.

      The debate itself is for the two candidates, and as we saw tonight, there’s no way in hell they are going to fact check two candidates evenly.

  4. “…Obama eked out a victory in 2012 by repeating the talking point about having ended the war in Iraq (false) and bringing the Afghanistan war to a responsible end (it is in its 15th year with no sign of ending anytime soon),…”

    Pretty sure he managed because of low-info voters like Tony and turd; they listened, said ‘sure’ and pulled that D lever.
    He could have claimed he cured cancer with exactly the same result.

    1. Low-info or delusional?

    2. You think those people would ever vote Republican in this universe, regardless of the nominees? It’d be like Hannity voting D

  5. “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

    and paraphrasing from last night’s tweet:

    “Wiping out ISIS, you mean like with a cloth?”

    Ed —

    Careful! That is two days in a row you have used Hillary’s words against her. Pretty soon you won’t get invited to those DC cocktail parties.

    J

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  7. I doubt last night’s two hour Establishment! ad changed Any hearts or minds. Both candidates’ supporters expected their newly anointed savior to win, so that’s what they saw. Not excluding the media, of course.

  8. I was surprised this didn’t get more attention. Not only did Obama and Clinton run around waving banners and proudly taking credit for Bush’s timeline, the point of the discussion at the time was Clinton’s leadership and negotiating skill.

    So they were not able to negotiate a favorable treaty with the Iraqi government – and this means she’s totally capable of being the person who negotiates these agreements? What?

    See Republicans… this is what happens when you nominate a trunk monkey. A competent politician could have pointed out this abject failure.

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