But Bush’s look back at U.S. failures in Iraq doesn’t tell the whole story. A review by PolitiFact shows he leaves out some key turning points.
“We had an agreement that the president could have signed that would have kept 10,000 troops, less than we have in Korea, that could have created the stability that would have allowed for Iraq to progress,” Bush said in May. We rated that claim Mostly False.
The so-called Status of Forces Agreement to which he was referring was created in 2008, before Obama took office. President George W. Bush and then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed U.S. forces would leave the country by the end of 2011. There were no stipulations about leaving a certain number of troops in Iraq beyond then, although negotiators assumed a new agreement would be hammered out when the old one expired.
Obama, who during his 2008 presidential campaign made promises to end the war, kept the timeline George W. Bush and al-Maliki settled upon. The Pentagon and military leaders in Baghdad wanted as many as 24,000 troops to remain as a residual force, but the White House rejected that number as too high.
Jeb Bush has said that “ISIS didn’t exist when my brother was president. Al-Qaida in Iraq was wiped out when my brother was president.” We rated that statement Mostly False.
The roots of ISIS actually go back to 2004, when a Sunni extremist named Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi established Al-Qaida in Iraq. The National Counterterrorism Center said al-Zarqawi’s group was also known as the Islamic State of Iraq, and later called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Clinton favored keeping a limited number of troops in Iraq past the end of the war. During a 2007 MoveOn.org virtual town hall, she said, “We do envision a vastly reduced residual force to remain for some limited period of time to train Iraqi troops, to provide logistical support, for counter-terrorism missions, to protect the Kurds if necessary.”
Journalist Dexter Filkins, in an essay in the New Yorker, wrote that then-ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey had confirmed to him that “Hillary very much wanted to keep troops in the country.” Jeffrey had previously said the same thing to the Daily Beast in 2014.
Published: Aug 14, 2015