Blaming Bush? Fournier Says Obama Making 'Thin' Argument on Iraq Pullout
President Obama appeared to adjust his narrative on the decision to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq three years ago. On Saturday, he rejected criticism for the pullout, following the rapid advance of ISIS terrorists throughout the country.
Speaking from the White House on the U.S. airstrikes against ISIS, the president pushed back, saying, "What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision. Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government,” Obama told reporters.
He insisted that leaving U.S. troops behind required a status-of-forces agreement that the Iraqi government refused.
Responding on America's Newsroom this morning, National Journal columnist and editorial director Ron Fournier called it a "real thin read," saying independent analysts who were following the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2011 do not echo Obama's analysis.
"The United States could have convinced [Prime Minister] Maliki to give us the authority we needed. The president didn't want to have troops there," said Fournier, pointing to Obama's determination to keep his 2008 campaign promise by getting U.S. troops out of Iraq.
Fournier said he believes it's "disingenuous" for the President of the United States to now argue that he could not have pushed through a deal to keep some U.S. forces in Iraq.
"At least be honest with us. Don't be shifting the goal post and don't say, 'Hey, it wasn't my decision and it's not my fault that we didn't have the forces there.' Be honest with us. Explain why it is, Mr. President, you decided not to keep troops there. And more importantly - because that's water under the bridge - what are you going do to make sure these killers, these jihadists don't come and hit us here at home? That's what I want to know. I don't want to hear blame. I want answers," he said.
Watch his full analysis above.