RUSH: The Morning Bell today at the Heritage Foundation, which is one of their morning blogs, describes Obama's Iraq failure, pulling out of there at the end of this year with no vestige, with no reminders that we were there.
"To hear President Barack Obama describe the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, you’d think it was a long-anticipated political victory, the fruition of a promise he made when campaigning for the White House. But his announcement last week that American troops in Iraq will return by the end of the year is a result of a serious Obama Administration failure that will undermine US security interests in the Middle East. Speaking on Friday from the West Wing, President Obama wasted no time in reminding the American people that, 'As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end,' and that as commander in chief, he was making good on that promise in time for the holidays. What the President didn’t mention, though, was the story behind the headline -- that the Administration tried and failed to negotiate with the Iraqi government to extend the US troop presence there in order to ensure the country’s security and stability."
In other words, what you haven't heard is that Obama wanted to keep troops in Iraq beyond the end of the year. The end of the year 2011 deadline is from the Bush administration. This is also something that was not mentioned last week. On Friday Obama gets all these rave reviews, it's a campaign season of course, his base has frayed, the independents want no part of him. So it's time to revive this whole promise that he's gonna get everybody out of Iraq. Yeah. By the Bush timeline. But according to the Heritage Foundation Morning Bell, Obama was in negotiations with the Iraqis up until last week to keep troops in Iraq beyond 2011.
"The sticking point for the negotiations was immunity for US troops in Iraq. Heritage’s James Phillips explains: 'Up until Friday, the Obama Administration had insisted that negotiations were on track for extending the presence of a small residual force that US and Iraqi military leaders agreed were necessary to support Iraqi operations in key areas such as counterterrorism, air support, intelligence gathering, logistics, and training. But Friday, in a hard-hitting article posted on The Cable blog, Josh Rogin reported that the Administration had bungled the negotiations.' Those negotiations stalled, Phillips writes, because Iraqi political leaders didn’t want to risk the political consequences of extending immunity for US troops." Which, of course, is a must. Without immunity, there's no way we're gonna keep them there.
"And given the Obama Administration’s eagerness to withdraw from Iraq and unwillingness to confront Iran they didn’t want to put their political necks on the line. Now, as a result, US security interests will suffer -- bilateral US -- Iraqi cooperation in fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq and radical pro-Iranian Shia militias will be limited, and the ability to contain Iran will be weakened. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) criticized the Administration on Sunday, calling the withdrawal decisions 'a serious mistake,' and faulted the White House for its failure to negotiate with the Iraqi government: 'There was never really serious negotiations between the administration and the Iraqis. I believe we could have negotiated an agreement. And I’m very, very concerned about increased Iranian influence in Iraq.'"
Another guy at Heritage, James Carafano, a good guy, I've met James Carafano. I've never played golf with him. But I've met James Carafano. He was at the "24" forum. We had a forum at the Heritage Foundation on "24," the TV show, on terrorism. And Maureen Dowd showed up at the thing. The media showed up to criticize, a waste of Heritage Foundation time. The reason that the "24" guys did it is because the New Yorker had just done a long expose on how the TV show "24" was responsible for torture, that American interrogators were getting ideas from the writers of the TV show "24," so we decided to do a seminar. I, of course, hosted the seminar. Carafano from Heritage was on the panel.
So I know Carafano's a good guy, and Carafano said, "With Syria in turmoil, Iran on the march, a more isolated Israel, and Turkey’s ever-more ambivalent policies, now is the worst time to see a diminished US influence in ensuring continued progress in Iraq. A total troop pullout will leave Iraqi security forces much more vulnerable to terrorism, sectarian conflict, and Iranian meddling, and it will leave them much less capable of battling al-Qaeda in Iraq and pro-Iranian Shia militias."
Now, we gotta say, nobody wants to see US troops stationed in the Middle East in harm's way longer than they have to be, but, sadly, premature withdrawal from Iraq could jeopardize the progress that's already been made. Forty-five hundred American soldiers have died in Iraq to establish it as an outpost of democracy, something that, you know, a nation that stands apart from the rest of the Middle East, and we're just gonna pull out unilaterally, didn't even seriously negotiate with Iraq to maintain even a minimal troop presence beyond the end of 2011. Foreign policy blunders just continue to pile up everywhere around the world, thanks to this administration.
RUSH: No, seriously, the plan was to keep at least 3,000, maybe 4,000 troops in Iraq beyond the end of this year. There was a New York Times story back in September. "Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is supporting a plan that would keep 3,000 to 4,000 American troops in Iraq after a deadline for their withdrawal at year’s end, but only to continue training security forces there." And that's not even going to happen. The Pentagon, senior American commanders in Iraq, Lloyd Austin III wanted to keep as many as 14 to 18,000 troops in Iraq after the pullout. We've been saying since, my gosh, at least February 2009 that there's no way that the Democrats are going to totally pull out of there and secure defeat for themselves. They do not want to have to shoulder the blame when Iraq goes down the tubes, as it probably will now without any US presence there. So this is a huge failure, and it's a failure in the negotiations with the Iraqi government to keep even a small force there.
Now, Iraq is not gonna fall immediately but it may not take long without us there, and this does kind of surprise me. I was of the opinion that the Democrats would love to secure defeat there, but only with a Republican in the White House. And who knows, that may yet well happen. If a Republican is elected in 2012, inaugurated in 2013 and Iraq goes down the tubes shortly thereafter, it may well be that a sitting Republican president, if he does nothing to change Obama's plans here, could theoretically get blamed for it. At least we know that the media and the regime would try. Still it's a triumph, folks. If you had any doubt, if you had any questions that Obama is in trouble with his base, this is it. He's willing to sacrifice saddling his own party with the notion of defeat in Iraq in order to secure his base, because his base wants that.
His base would love for the US to be defeated in Iraq. The base of the Democrat Party is a fringe bunch of lunatics. They've been outraged at Obama for not closing Club Gitmo, where we still have, by the way, a thriving licensed merchandise business there. Club Gitmo gear is available at RushLimbaugh.com. You can see it. Club Gitmo not closed, not out of Iraq, the base is ticked as they can be. Now all of a sudden we're gonna get out of Iraq at the end of the year. This is a campaign move, pure and simple, that runs the risk of saddling the Democrat Party with the ultimate loss of Iraq 'cause we're not gonna have any troops there. And I guarantee you, on a scale, seesaw, whatever they have balanced it out and Obama says, "If I have any chance of being reelected, I gotta get the base back in love with me," and that means pulling out of Iraq regardless what else what happens.
Now, don't frown at me, Snerdley. I know you think it's over the top to say, but it's not at all. Obama's base, the Michael Moore crowd would love it if we got shellacked, they would love it if we end up, quote, unquote, losing in Iraq. It would be a repudiation of Bush, they could say, "See, we never shoulda gone there in the first place, it didn't make any difference." Damn straight. Even after 4500 American soldiers dead, damn straight. We're not dealing with a rational bunch of people on the left. We're dealing with people who have an abject hatred for this country, who believe this country needs to be taken down a peg or two or three, who believe we shouldn't-a gone to Iraq in the first place and we need to pay a price for going in there. And what would that be? World-wide humiliation. And Obama would benefit from it, from the base. Not gonna help him in the general, don't misunderstand. It's not gonna help him get reelected. But it will help him in the base.