The Foreign Policy Institute's Dan Senor addressed President Obama's Iraqi policy Friday on Fox & Friends, saying he was "struck" by the president's passing of the buck on the Status of Forces agreement.
With Iraq under siege from the terrorist group ISIL and criticism mounting for the administration, Obama said Thursday that he hadn't made the decision to withdraw troops from Iraq, claiming that was a "decision made by the Iraqi government." Obama proudly campaigned on bringing the troops home but chose to distance himself from the ultimate call to not leave behind residual forces at his press conference.
"I was really struck by that, more than anything the president said," Senor said of Obama trying to put the onus on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for not coming up with a Status of Forces Agreement.
"We offered a modest residual force to help continue to train and advise Iraqi security forces," Obama said. "We had a core requirement which we require in any situation where we have U.S. troops overseas, and that is that they are provided immunity. The Iraqi government and Prime Minister Maliki declined to provide us that immunity."
"First of all, our military commanders, our Secretary of Defense at the time, Bob Gates, our chairman of the Chiefs of Staff recommended to the president numbers well above 10,000, anywhere from 10 to 16,000 troops should be left behind, not in combat roles, to help train Iraqis, to advise Iraqis, to do intelligence gathering, but not actually be in front line combat roles," Senor said. "So the president rejected that ultimately, claiming because of these immunity issues.
This was a campaign pledge and Obama fulfilled it, Senor said, but there are drastic consequences.
"It's a shame because the strategic interest and human catastrophe at stake are enormous for the United States," Senor said.