Obama Proclaims End of Iraq War as Contractor War Continues

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
10/25/2011
       
Obama Proclaims End of Iraq War as Contractor War Continues

President Obama announced with much fanfare in an October 21 address to the nation that "as a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.... Today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over."

But Obama's own Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough acknowledged in a press conference the same day that the withdrawal from Iraq was more due to demands from the Iraqi government than from Obama's commitment to keep his campaign promises. "The security agreements negotiated and signed in 2008 by the Bush administration stipulated this date ... as the end of the military presence. So that has been in law now for — or been enforced now for several years. So it’s difficult to rebut the proposition that this was a known date." In essence, Obama trumpeted a troop withdrawal that he had little choice but to follow.

Indeed, Obama was most reluctant to follow through on his campaign promise. The National Journal reported October 22 that "as recently as last week, the White House was trying to persuade the Iraqis to allow 2,000-3,000 troops to stay beyond the end of the year. Those efforts had never really gone anywhere; one senior U.S. military official told National Journal last weekend that they were stuck at 'first base' because of Iraqi reluctance to hold substantive talks."

President Obama announced with much fanfare in an October 21 address to the nation that "as a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.... Today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over."

But Obama's own Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough acknowledged in a press conference the same day that the withdrawal from Iraq was more due to demands from the Iraqi government than from Obama's commitment to keep his campaign promises. "The security agreements negotiated and signed in 2008 by the Bush administration stipulated this date ... as the end of the military presence. So that has been in law now for — or been enforced now for several years. So it’s difficult to rebut the proposition that this was a known date." In essence, Obama trumpeted a troop withdrawal that he had little choice but to follow.

Indeed, Obama was most reluctant to follow through on his campaign promise. The National Journal reported October 22 that "as recently as last week, the White House was trying to persuade the Iraqis to allow 2,000-3,000 troops to stay beyond the end of the year. Those efforts had never really gone anywhere; one senior U.S. military official told National Journal last weekend that they were stuck at 'first base' because of Iraqi reluctance to hold substantive talks."

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Photo: AP Images

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