Barack Obama, The Liar in Chief …
After President Barack Obama threw the US intelligences community under the bus and blamed them for his underestimating Iraq and ISIS. However, Former Defense Secretary & CIA Director Leon Panetta is firing back and calling out Obama’s lies. Panetta says that not only was Obama advised to keep American military forces in Iraq to protect its fragile stability, he also warned that the rise of the Islamic State “greatly increases the risk that Iraq will become al-Qaeda’s next safe haven.”
It would appear that Panetta wants to put forth the truth as to what really took place and create a firewall between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for her 2016 presidential run.
Leon Panetta … warned the rise of the Islamic State “greatly increases the risk that Iraq will become al-Qaeda’s next safe haven.”
In clear and unequivocal terms, former Defense Secretary and CIA director Leon Panetta confirms precisely what conservative critics, lawmakers, former officials, tactical experts and military officials have said about Iraq: President Obama was advised to keep a stay-behind force and warned about the consequences if he did not. He preferred to keep his campaign pledge to get all the troops out. The White House therefore allowed negotiations to falter for a status of forces agreement and bragged it had gotten all the troops out. Iraq has now collapsed.
In excerpts of his new book printed in TIME, he writes: “When President Obama announced the end of our combat mission in August 2010, he acknowledged that we would maintain troops for a while. Now that the deadline was upon us, however, it was clear to me — and many others — that withdrawing all our forces would endanger the fragile stability then barely holding Iraq together.” Among others, Panetta and Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy tried to convince the White House this was essential, but the White House refused to take obvious measures to maintain troops:
In them, Panetta explained that Iraqi leaders privately wanted some U.S. forces to stay behind after the formal 2011 withdrawal, though they would not say so publicly. The former secretary, though, said the U.S. had “leverage” to strike a deal, and the Defense and State departments tried to do exactly that.
“But,” he wrote, “the President’s team at the White House pushed back, and the differences occasionally became heated. … and those on our side viewed the White House as so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests.”
He said the negotiations with then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went down to the wire in December 2011, but the White House never stepped up.
“To my frustration, the White House coordinated the negotiations but never really led them,” Panetta charged. “Officials there seemed content to endorse an agreement if State and Defense could reach one, but without the President’s active advocacy, al-Maliki was allowed to slip away.”
The account from Panetta challenges the notion that the Obama administration would have left some troops behind – as U.S. military advisers wanted – if only the Iraqi government had been more willing to negotiate. While Panetta lays some blame at the feet of the Iraqis, he also argues that the White House never seized the chance at a deal.
Panetta claims that a residual troop presence like he and others had advocated could have made the difference.
“To this day, I believe that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq could have effectively advised the Iraqi military on how to deal with al-Qaeda’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that has engulfed the country,” he wrote.
Panetta also warned that the rise of the Islamic State “greatly increases the risk that Iraq will become al-Qaeda’s next safe haven.”