U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, the former highest-ranking officer in Iraq and one of the architects of the 2007 troop surge there, recently took time in a speech Wednesday to correct GOP hopeful Jeb Bush, who has “blamed” the current situation in the Middle East on President Obama due to the military drawdown in Irag in 2011.
“I remind everybody that us leaving at the end of 2011 was negotiated in 2008 by the Bush administration. That was always the plan, we had promised them that we would respect their sovereignty,” Odierno said during his final press conference at the Pentagon.
Here’s what Jeb Bush had to say this past Tuesday at the Reagan Library:
“So why was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq, leaving not even the residual force that commanders and the joint chiefs knew was necessary?” Bush asked. “And where was Secretary of State Clinton in all of this? Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away.”
While Bush may like to pivot from his brother’s record while in the White House, the withdrawal timetable was in fact set long before Obama took office. In November 2008, both the U.S. and Iraq agreed that “All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.”