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.
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"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.