General Odierno Says ISIS Was Avoidable

May 20, 2016

Gen. Raymond Odierno said he believes the Islamic State's creation was avoidable during an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Host Joe Scarborough asked Odierno, who commanded the Multi-National Forces in Iraq for about two years, if ISIS and the current state of Iraq were avoidable when the United States ended formal combat operations there.

"Did it ever have to begin? Was ISIS avoidable?" Scarborough asked.

"I think it is, and I'm not one for revisionist history," Odierno said. "Actually, I was, on 1 September 2010, that's when I gave up command in Iraq and that was the end of, we declared that was the end of combat operations when I left."

"What was the state of Iraq when we got out of there?" Scarborough said.

"Yeah, so it was in great shape. Violence was down, the economy was growing, a fairly stable political system, although there were signs that maybe it wouldn't be so stable, so it was going well," Odierno said. "And I think if we had stayed, I think it could have made a difference. Now that's easy to say now, you have to get the Iraqis to approve that and I think Secretary Gates made a point yesterday that Iraq probably wouldn't let us bring in hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of people back into Iraq for a lot of reasons."

"And so I think we have to now come up with a strategy that works within the political framework that's been established or the political, I would say, disarray that we have in that region now and we have to really think hard through that," Odierno said.