Yesterday, Washington Post columnist and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, Marc Thiessen, wrote that not only was Bush right about the fact that pulling troops out of Iraq would cause more violence in the Middle East, he deserved to tell Washington, “I told you so.”
Theissen asserts that comments made by Bush during a press conference in 2007 are now proving to be “prophetic.” Regarding the removal of troops from Iraq, Bush said:
“I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us ‘we’re ready’ would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al-Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”
“In 2010, Obama did precisely what Bush warned against and withdrew all US forces from Iraq,” Thiessen wrote. “And since then, everything Bush warned about would happen has come to pass.”
He uses examples of “women and children being buried alive, people being crucified, the attempted genocide of the Yazidis and two American journalists beheaded,” along with facts about the Islamic State (ISIS) taking control of an area “the size of Belgium” and becoming “the wealthiest terror network in the world” to support his idea of Bush the Prophet.
The problem with his logic, however, is that it was the Bush administration who set up the timetable for when troops would be removed from Iraq — not President Obama.
According to a fact sheet from the White House, the Strategic Framework Agreement and the Security Agreement with Iraq were signed in December 2008. It reads, in part:
“As we further transition security responsibilities to the Iraqi Security Forces, military commanders will continue to move US combat forces out of major populated areas so that they are all out by June 30, 2009 … The Security Agreement also sets a date of December 31, 2011, for all US forces to withdraw from Iraq.”
Thiessen completely ignores this in his piece. He never mentions that the new administration was simply following an agreement set up before Obama had even taken office.
Thiessen also leaves out that the “Obama administration actually argued for a residual force to remain behind, but the Iraqi government would not guarantee adequate legal protection for these soldiers,” as Salon reported.
Rushing into a war America wasn’t prepared for is what caused the current situation in Iraq. ISIS is capitalizing on the unrest that came about as a result of the Iraq war itself, not just the removal of American troops.
Thiessen concludes his piece by saying “The results were entirely predictable. Indeed, they were predicted — by George W. Bush.” While he might be correct about predictable results, what he should have said was, “Indeed, they were caused — by George W. Bush.”