Hemmer to Psaki: Was Iraq a 'Teachable Moment' for This Administration?
After a grilling on The Kelly File last night, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was on "America's Newsroom" this morning after Washington was set abuzz by the new claims of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
In his new memoir, “Worthy Fights,” Panetta blames the White House for pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq over objections from the military and other top officials.
He recalled that the White House was "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."
Panetta, who also served as Obama's CIA director and was Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff, suggested the White House never really wanted a deal with the Iraqi government to allow some U.S. forces to stay in the country.
Psaki pushed back this morning that the Iraqi government was never going to agree to give U.S. troops legal immunity.
"It wasn't going to get through the parliament. It was clear at the time that the politics were just not aligned with making this happen," she said.
Bill Hemmer countered by pointing out that the administration just signed a deal with Afghanistan to leave 10,000 U.S. soldiers in the country beyond this year.
Psaki said Afghanistan is a different country with different leadership and different circumstances.
Hemmer asked whether Iraq "was a teachable moment" for the administration as it gets ready to pull troops from Afghanistan.
She answered that there are "certain pieces" where the administration has taken a "slightly different approach."
But Psaki added that even if a small contingent of U.S. troops had stayed in Iraq, it was hard to predict that the Iraqi forces would refuse to fight ISIS.
Watch the full discussion above.