Lindsey Graham's view of the US withdrawal from Iraq in 2011

I can’t find any arguments to support Sen. Graham’s view that the US withdrawal in 2011 was unnecessary. He says bullshit to the statement that Obama withdrew US forces in 2011 because Iraq would not sign a status of forces agreement with the US.

I have reread the wikipedia pages on the subject and a couple of articles written in the years after the withdrawal, but I don’t understand Sen. Grahams point of view.

Can someone explain why Obama is blamed by some people for withdrawing troops?
To get things started here are some historical facts:

The US and Iraq signed a SOFA in 2008 stating clearly that all US forces would be withdrawn by Dec 31 2011. This SOFA was signed by President Bush and the Iraqi Government.

The US was very reluctant to sign and Bush only did so because he needed a SOFA immediately and the Iraqis refused to budge on setting a specific date. At the time, Iraqi security was improving rapidly and oil production had reached 2 million barrels a day. Popular support for the US presence ranged from the low 20s to single digits.

Obama campaigned on removing troops from Iraq and kept promising to do exactly that in the first years of his administration.

Many people (for example the US ambassador to Iraq and the US military) advocated leaving a small force behind. Some members of the Iraqi military privately supported the idea.

Obama eventually agreed to leave 5000 troops in Iraq as trainers and advisors-assuming a new SOFA could be negotiated. This was considered by many to be too small a number to be useful.

No SOFA could be negotiated and the troops left on schedule. Obama is reported to have not pushed very hard for an agreement and there was very little support inside the Iraqi government. Many people, including Sen. Graham, argued at the time that it was a bad idea. Which it turned out to be-especially for Iraq.
So, to repeat my original question:
Can someone list the arguments for why Obama, and not Obama and the Iraqi Government, is blamed by some people for withdrawing troops?

“He didn’t try hard enough.” Is the only explanation I can find.

While, strictly speaking, “what are the arguments used” can be answered factually, by citing people using various arguments, I think this is a much better fit for GD.

Have you ruled out the possibility of opportunistic posturing on Graham’s part?

Honestly, not considering that FIRST may have been understandable in 2011, but observation of the man’s behavior in just the past two years makes this question a bit Occam’s Razor-y.

“He didn’t try hard enough” is pretty much the actual answer.

There’s some other arguments in there, but basically it breaks down to hawks not wanting troops to leave Iraq and accusing Obama of not trying hard to keep them there.

“Nothing Obama did is correct, by definition,” is a core principle of the GOP today. Facts are entirely irrelevant. Graham appears to be both lying about the actual reason and back-fitting a fake one.

re: move.
OK. I am hoping for a reference to some articulated reasons, but that may not exist. So GD seems as good a place as any. :slight_smile:

Well, for some definition of “enough” that seems to be the argument. Did anyone criticize Bush for not trying hard enough when he was negotiating the SOFA?

It’s not uncommon for agreements to be negotiated on a “Just kick any difficulties down the road” basis. I guess that when Bush and Iraq agreed to a SOFA deadline, there was hope and assumption that a new SOFA would be re-negotiated before any actual withdrawal.

OTOH, Obama had campaigned on troop withdrawal and a majority of Americans supported that. Criticize a President for not doing what he promised and not doing what the people want. Or criticize him for doing what he promised and doing what the people want. Criticizing both ways is inconsistent. (In defense of the R’s, their algorithm is much simpler: Criticize the President if and only if he’s a Democrat.)

However …
Bush and Cheney told lies to provoke an amazingly stupid war, and followed the stupid war up with even stupider reconstruction policies. The war left Iraq in ruins, led to an insurrection which provoked a terrible war in Syria and has enhanced the regional strength of America’s enemies — Russia and Iran. These stupidities cost trillions of dollars in treasure, led to thousands of American soldiers grievously maimed, hundreds of thousands with lesser injuries, millions of Mideasterners killed or with lives otherwise destroyed, and left the Mideast in far worse shape than before. The Bush-Cheney mistakes dwarf any mistakes Obama made a thousand-fold. Only a hypocrite peculiarly devoid of perspective would assign blame to anyone other than Cheney’s cabal and their under-qualified puppet President.

One more point. By invading Iraq, 43 pulled troops from Afghanistan and we know how well that worked. Mission Accomplished, indeed.

This can’t be understated. Destabilizing the Levant and strengthening Iran was one consequence of the war, but the moment Bush decided to invade Iraq, it meant that Afghanistan became a second thought. This isn’t to say that there was a war to be ‘won’ in Afghanistan. I don’t know what a victory looks like in a country with incessant tribal warfare. It’s doubtful Afghanistan could become a Western style democracy but it probably could be a lot less fucked up than it is now.