Fielding questions about the deterioration of security in Iraq, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki maintained that "Obviously, the withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 was not a mistake."
"So there are — there were factors that we could not have predicted five years ago — six years ago," Psaki said.
"Right, but I mean, some people did predict that complete withdrawal, the withdrawal that happened in 2011, would lead to something like this," answered Associate Press reporter Matt Lee.
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In response, Psaki held that "I would pose to these same individuals whether they would think that the small contingent of military that was being discussed to leave on the ground would have prevented this. And I think the answer would be no."
When Lee asked her to comment on suspicions that the president "really didn't try hard enough to get — to negotiate a SOFA with the Iraqis" because of his campaign promises to end the war, Psaki responded, "I would say that's absolutely false. I would remind you that the timeline was laid out by the prior administration. It wasn't a political decision."