Report: Obama, Biden did nothing while talks with Iraqi officials over troop levels faltered

posted at 10:32 pm on October 25, 2011 by Allahpundit

The Times claimed on Friday that both sides wanted a U.S. military presence in Iraq to continue next year but that the White House bungled the negotiations by pushing the issue of troop immunity too hard too soon. Now here’s McClatchy thickening the plot: How much of that was due to “bungling” and how much was due to Obama’s and Biden’s studious disinterest?

Throughout the summer and autumn, as talks on a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq foundered, President Barack Obama and his point man on Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden, remained aloof from the process, not even phoning top Iraqi officials to help reach a deal, according to logs released by the U.S. Embassy here.

The omission is an unusual one, given the high priority that U.S. officials had given to achieving an agreement for some sort of residual U.S. presence in Iraq after the Dec. 31 pullout deadline set in a 2008 pact between the two countries. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other senior Pentagon officials spoke often about the need for an agreement in a pivotal country in a volatile region and insisted talks were continuing up until Friday, when Obama announced that all U.S. troops would be coming home before the end of December…

A major complication was the insistence by the Obama administration that the accord go before the Iraqi parliament, something that in the end Iraqi politicians decided was impossible. But whether that restriction was necessary is an open question. Many status-of-forces agreements are signed at the executive level only, particularly in countries without elected legislatures.

But the White House turned the issue over to the State Department’s legal affairs office, reporters in Baghdad were told on Saturday. The lawyers gave a variety of options, but Obama chose the most stringent, approval by Iraq’s legislature of a new agreement, citing as precedent that the Iraqi parliament had approved the 2008 agreement, reporters were told.

In other words, they could have tried to negotiate with Maliki and Talabani directly rather than go through the Iraqi parliament, where the Sadrists had extra leverage. Whether they would have gotten anywhere on immunity with them given the political risk in Iraq of extending the U.S. occupation is unclear, but apparently the White House wasn’t eager to find out. An Obama spokesman insists that the story’s “totally wrong” and that The One and Biden were “engaged” with Iraqi leaders all along, but an Iraqi government spokesman didn’t deny the lack of contact when asked by McClatchy. Any theories on why the White House would have chosen a path of, shall we say, benign neglect on extending our troop presence? Maybe this data point from the new Times poll can help:

His approval on Iraq is suddenly up eight points since the withdrawal was announced, as I’m sure he expected it would be. If he thought extending the troop presence was a bad idea all along, notwithstanding what that would mean for Iran’s influence in Iraq, that’s fine. If he thought it was a good idea but then balked when Iraq insisted on an end to troop immunity, that’s also fine. And if he thought both those questions were subordinate to the political calculus of re-election — as Lindsey Graham put it, “Iraq and Afghanistan is being run out of Chicago, not Washington” — well, that’s not so fine but there’s nothing we can do about it. But whatever the answer is, at least be proactive about it. Don’t leave Panetta to languish for months trying to make something happen with Iraqi leaders while conspicuously refusing to bring to bear the full influence of the presidency on his behalf. The McClatchy piece leaves one to wonder if they were secretly hoping all along that negotiations would collapse, in which case Panetta’s efforts were either a going-through-the-motions show aimed at placating American hawks or else a bona fide attempt to reach a deal that the White House had no intention of capitalizing on. Embarrassing either way.

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Damn you Allah, you are anti-Obama, aren’t you?

carbon_footprint on October 25, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Well, no sh!t.

katy the mean old lady on October 25, 2011 at 10:33 PM

…Joe Biden, remained aloof…

I’m sensing a trend here.

carbon_footprint on October 25, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Rapes are gonna go up in Baghdad, Joe!

Pasalubong on October 25, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Damn you Allah, you are anti-Obama, aren’t you?

carbon_footprint on October 25, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Allah is a horrible, horrible person who goesn’t care.
Sobs

katy the mean old lady on October 25, 2011 at 10:36 PM

And the lsm is crying foul that the gop is NOT giving credit to dear leader on these issues….because he doesn’t deserve it

cmsinaz on October 25, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Allah is a horrible, horrible person who goesn’t care.
Sobs

katy the mean old lady on October 25, 2011 at 10:36 PM

People who goesn’t care suck.

carbon_footprint on October 25, 2011 at 10:37 PM

But he is so awesome
-lsm

cmsinaz on October 25, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Obama got what he wanted. Failure in Iraq is his objective. This moron said the Surge would make things worse. He wanted to concede Iraq to al Qaeda and Iran. When the fck is America going to wake up?

Basilsbest on October 25, 2011 at 10:38 PM

Wait, I’m confused. Obama threatens that the mean nasty Republicans are saying “you’re on your own,” but then tells Iraqis “you’re on your own”?

John the Libertarian on October 25, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Has there been a new Times poll? I can’t tell.

Aquateen Hungerforce on October 25, 2011 at 10:40 PM

This moron said the Surge would make things worse.

Basilsbest on October 25, 2011 at 10:38 PM

What he failed to mention…the Surge was 52% of registered voters.

Electrongod on October 25, 2011 at 10:41 PM

Cripes. If only the man were as interested in Baghdad as he was in Copenhagen and Oslo.

KingGold on October 25, 2011 at 10:42 PM

A passive-aggressive presidency.

Obama had no intention of following through with negotiations with the Iraqis. There would be no SOFA. It was not part of Obama’s grand plan scheme. He can now say it was the Iraqis exercising their own sovereignty that compelled us to leave. He can also say it was he, the great and grand Obama, who brought all the troops home.

And what happens a few months from now?

Not his fault.

Nothing is.

Apparently.

coldwarrior on October 25, 2011 at 10:43 PM

Throughout the summer and autumn,

Well, of course not, those are prime golfing/vaca months. If you want Obama/Biden to call you, you must schedule your 10 minutes from Nov-Mar, unless your union/lobbyist/wall street, then and only then is the WH open for business.

journeyintothewhirlwind on October 25, 2011 at 10:43 PM

Rapes are gonna go up in Baghdad, Joe!

Pasalubong on October 25, 2011 at 10:36 PM

But not rape-rapes. See W. Goldberg, On My Favorite Roman–Polanski.

chaswv on October 25, 2011 at 10:44 PM

People who goesn’t care suck.

carbon_footprint on October 25, 2011 at 10:37 PM

Or blow. Well.

katy the mean old lady on October 25, 2011 at 10:44 PM

This just goes to show that lack of interest and a sorry work ethic WILL get you kicked out of Iraq.

kakypat on October 25, 2011 at 10:45 PM

What did you want Obama to do? Bow down and beg them to let us stay? They wanted no immunity for American Soldiers and Marines as the price. That would mean they could try American Soldiers and Marines at their whim in Shariah Courts and sentence them under Islamic Law. To Hell with that !!!

We gave the Iraqis an opportunity they have quite adequately proved they didn’t want, and certainly did not use properly. Were we supposed to stay until the Iraqis became sufficiently interested in their own fates to behave responsibly, learn to govern themselves, rebuild their economy, and take responsibility for their own security? If so, we would be there 100 years. If we waited for them to become friends of the principles we claim to hold dear, we would be there 1000 years. If we waited for them to become a “strategic ally” or a beacon of liberty in the Middle East, the sun would burn out first.

We should immediately form an American Lincoln Brigade for all those fire-breathers who huff and puff about how Obama is running out on the poor brave helpless Iraqis. Let them go to replace American soldiers who have uncomplainingly served in that flyblown hellhole.

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on October 25, 2011 at 10:45 PM

“..don’t screw around with me..”

Plugs probably thought all he had to do was to put on his war face and that’s take care of things..

The War Planner on October 25, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Obama can’t even do a bug-out right.

SlaveDog on October 25, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Stupid move. Seriously, I’m starting to think the guy is a moron.

What does he think his poll numbers will look like if Iraq goes to hell in a handbasket between January and November 2012? If Iraq descends into Islamic tyranny, or Iran moves in… Obama will look like a clown. He’ll have squandered our investment of blood and treasure for nothing.

Murf76 on October 25, 2011 at 10:45 PM

What he failed to mention…the Surge was 52% of registered voters.

Electrongod on October 25, 2011 at 10:41 PM

You’re real good with that butterfly knife.

platypus on October 25, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Or blow. Well.

katy the mean old lady on October 25, 2011 at 10:44 PM

Haha, I like you. Alot.

carbon_footprint on October 25, 2011 at 10:48 PM

What’s the news here? Obama has been on Jihad against America all his life, giving Iraq’s oil fields and people over to Iran, just another part of the plan. This decision, unlike the rest of the destruction he has brought to our culture and economy, will end in the death of millions of us and the end of our country. Then, you add the 30,000 SAMs that were “liberated” from Libya in his latest foreign policy FU, no telling who has them now, probably Iran, it may well come sooner than you think. I’m starting to believe that he cares not about the election in 2012, just the 72 virgins.

TXUS on October 25, 2011 at 10:49 PM

Bambi is always leading us somewhere in his Marxist maimed mind.

The reset he and his super antisemitic advisers want is Iran/Iraq/Syria Axis on the east and an Egypt/Libya duo on the west of Israel with the Turks acting as the broker under Obama control to make Israel an offer they cannot refuse.

Everybody can read a map.

jimw on October 25, 2011 at 10:49 PM

President Barack Obama and his point man on Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden, remained aloof from the process, not even phoning top Iraqi officials to help reach a deal

What’d you expect him to do? Suck it up with a straw?….oh wait, wrong issue.

ted c on October 25, 2011 at 10:49 PM

Haha, I like you. Alot.

carbon_footprint on October 25, 2011 at 10:48 PM

I’m tempted to cross-post your “extra” comment from that other thread.

platypus on October 25, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Man has to have time to campaign.

ThePrez on October 25, 2011 at 10:50 PM

What does he think his poll numbers will look like if Iraq goes to hell in a handbasket between January and November 2012?

Murf76 on October 25, 2011 at 10:45 PM

He’s probably counting on the MSM to convince enough people that it was a brilliant move to get out before the #OWS hit the fan.

malclave on October 25, 2011 at 10:51 PM

The McClatchy piece leaves one to wonder if they were secretly hoping all along that negotiations would collapse, in which case Panetta’s efforts were either a going-through-the-motions show aimed at placating American hawks or else a bona fide attempt to reach a deal that the White House had no intention of capitalizing on. Embarrassing either way

Dude. They are at the phase in their playbook where, if you can’t get something done, they just make it look like you did, or kinda look like you did, and say “Hey Look! We tried!” and walk off shrugging your shoulder and heading off to the Andrews Golf Course where you can send your condolences to some freshly croaked Arab via Sat phone. ahhhh well.

ted c on October 25, 2011 at 10:52 PM

Campaigning and golf are hard, leave the man alone/

Knucklehead on October 25, 2011 at 10:52 PM

I’m tempted to cross-post your “extra” comment from that other thread.

platypus on October 25, 2011 at 10:50 PM

I would have no problem with that. I was not being sarcastic here.

carbon_footprint on October 25, 2011 at 10:52 PM

I don’t feel bad about us leaving Iraq. If we were to go to war with Iran, Iraq will support the Iranians. They are not a republic that respects individual rights, but instead, a theocracy where women are worse off now than they were under Saddam. Modern Iraq is the antithesis of modernity. The same applies to Afghenistan, who are also our enemies. Let’s face it. We are wasting money and lives by staying in these Islamist he’ll holes. If they want to live in the 7th century, we should let them, and if their countries devolve into civil war, then that’s their problem.

OberfeldwebelSchultz on October 25, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Graham (Lucy), has been spitting bullets over BO’s decision to pull out. Graham is a jerk on most issues, but on the military I tend to give him some respect.

I’ve never seen him so pi$$ed off about anything as he is with this decision, and he isn’t holding back. At the same time, one has to question his judgement. What would anyone have expected from BO? Every decision is politically motivated. Killing OBL was. Quadaffi made him look good, but the Euroweenies had more to gain from his demise. In this case leading from behind was easy and made Barfy look good because most Americans won’t understand the difference.

Liberals waste money, treasure, lives and the future. That’s our putz president. It’s all he knows. If he wins another four years, he may learn a lesson when the money finally runs out, but he won’t care because he’s one of those folks who “have enough money” as he says.

We have a so-called “president” who is a bottom-feeding, scum sucking, marxist thief.

Cody1991 on October 25, 2011 at 10:56 PM

SIGH

gophergirl on October 25, 2011 at 10:57 PM

So Sheriff Joe’s his point man on Iraq – how’s that partition working out, Joe? Isn’t he also his point man on the Stimulus, and Green Energy and 200 lb men standing over you, making you submit? That’s a full plate.

They’re not paying him anywhere near enough.

notropis on October 25, 2011 at 10:58 PM

Steve, I’m done …

hawkdriver on October 25, 2011 at 10:58 PM

You’re real good with that butterfly knife.

platypus on October 25, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Obama is showing to be the expert in this field.
I am just trying to match

Electrongod on October 25, 2011 at 10:58 PM

The level of interest from B & O is the main indication Maliki & Co had of whether it would be worth it to negotiate for the US to stay in Iraq.

The Iraqis would be sticking their necks out to continue hosting a big US troops presence. If they were to do that, they’d need to know we’re committed.

The commitment would have to be more than a casual “Sure, whatever, we’ll stay.” It would have to come with a plan; a strategic vision; something better for Iraq than what she can achieve by cutting the ties now and playing off Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia against each other. Russia will be in the mix as well. Iraq has to know the US commitment would withstand pushback from Iran and from AQ-type Islamists, and that it would pay off better than snuggling up to Turkey and Russia.

The silence from B & O told them everything that mattered.

J.E. Dyer on October 25, 2011 at 11:01 PM

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/10/21/how_the_obama_administration_bungled_the_iraq_withdrawal_negotiations

As recently as August, Maliki’s office was discussing allowing 8,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops to remain until next year, Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaida’ie said in an interview with The Cable. He told us that there was widespread support in Iraq for such an extension, but the Obama administration was demanding that immunity for U.S. troops be endorsed by the Iraqi Council of Representatives, which was never really possible.

Administration sources and Hill staffers also tell The Cable that the demand that the troop immunity go through the Council of Representatives was a decision made by the State Department lawyers and there were other options available to the administration, such as putting the remaining troops on the embassy’s diplomatic rolls, which would automatically give them immunity.

“An obvious fix for troop immunity is to put them all on the diplomatic list; that’s done by notification to the Iraqi foreign ministry,” said one former senior Hill staffer. “If State says that this requires a treaty or a specific agreement by the Iraqi parliament as opposed to a statement by the Iraqi foreign ministry, it has its head up its ass.”

kakypat on October 25, 2011 at 11:06 PM

Obama and minions wanted out for the last 9 years even though they said they did not when they got in. The military leaders are the one who wanted to stay not the minions. So they when they got their chance to negotiate they took to the biggest most outrages thing first and then blame Iraq for not doing to it. Then took the ball and went home.

To think that O and minions would go to bat to stay when his entire base and every yes men adviser said get out on day one and ran on getting out at the first chance must have been sleeping for the last 9 years. Just like every political battle that they have done with the republicans. Ask for the moon and then settle on a mountain. Iraq folded the bluff of asking for the moon and would not settle on a mountain.

tjexcite on October 25, 2011 at 11:07 PM

“it has its head up its ass.”
kakypat on October 25, 2011 at 11:06 PM”

That’d be Hillary’s department, right? I’m not so sure we’d have been better off with her than with Barry….

notropis on October 25, 2011 at 11:08 PM

Now the worth of all the training we’ve given the Iraqis will be shown.

Oh, wait, they’re Islamic tribalists who scorn any infidel interference.

So our efforts will have had no effect.

Since Islam trumps all.

Next time, just bomb from afar.

No boots on such useless ground.

profitsbeard on October 25, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Is there any doubt that our feckless leader is a SCOAMF.

hepcat on October 25, 2011 at 11:14 PM

The continuing belief in the mindset that is still stuck in the Bush/Wilsonian hogwash that by expending enough Blood and enough Treasure, and no mater how much it never seems enough, America can build liberal (in the classic definition) democracies in the Muslim world that will be friendly towards the United States is to the clear point of being a mental illness. It has failed miserably. Iraq has turned into an ally of Iran and did so quite some time ago. On to Afghanistan! On to Libya! On to Syria! On to Sudan!

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on October 25, 2011 at 11:16 PM

That’d be Hillary’s department, right?

notropis on October 25, 2011 at 11:08 PM

I didn’t put those two…Hillary and Ass…together, but ewwwww!

kakypat on October 25, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Of course they didn’t. They were coming home to satisfy the base, like it or not.

RedNewEnglander on October 25, 2011 at 11:17 PM

“Any theories on why the White House would have chosen a path of, shall we say, benign neglect on extending our troop presence?”

Do you know how hard it was to organize the OWS protest…?

… Give the man a break!

/

Seven Percent Solution on October 25, 2011 at 11:19 PM

The McClatchy piece leaves one to wonder if they were secretly hoping all along that negotiations would collapse

Captain Obvious says:

“Umm … Duh?”

Sorry for the snark, AP, but this has always been my default assumption. I’m hard pressed to believe anyone with any political savvy at all would ever think otherwise.

nukemhill on October 25, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Embarrassing either way.

…and his approval on the issue goes up 8 points.
And that’s how you get a media brainwashed 52% to vote this corrupt , clueless, political cipher from the Chicago leftist swamp into the White House.
Try to tell me the republic isn’t finished.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on October 25, 2011 at 11:35 PM

Obama votes the troops off the island.

kringeesmom on October 25, 2011 at 11:40 PM

This administration is worse than incompetent, it is malevolent.

He is TRYING to screw us up.

crosspatch on October 25, 2011 at 11:46 PM

Well, he said the price of oil would have to skyrocket to discourage demand and fight global warming. What better way than to turn the oil producing regions of the Middle East over to Iran while turning off domestic production. The Enviros will be pleased by $200 per barrel oil.

KW64 on October 25, 2011 at 11:47 PM

KW64 on October 25, 2011 at 11:47 PM

Wonder what the enviros are gonna do when they find out they cannot charge their new Fisker’s Karma electric toy on wind or solar power alone.

Now, that is karma.

coldwarrior on October 25, 2011 at 11:59 PM

Funny how Obama insisted it be agreed to by the Iraqi parliament rather than just by Maliki or Talibani.

He seems to love to go around Congress in this country.

Jvette on October 26, 2011 at 12:22 AM

In other words, they could have tried to negotiate with Maliki and Talabani

Why? Barry wants OUT. Problem solved.

GarandFan on October 26, 2011 at 12:23 AM

Funny how Obama insisted it be agreed to by the Iraqi parliament rather than just by Maliki or Talibani.

He seems to love to go around Congress in this country.

Jvette on October 26, 2011 at 12:22 AM

Yeah, Libya comes to mind.

MayBee on October 26, 2011 at 1:12 AM

Report: Obama, Biden did nothing while talks with Iraqi officials over troop levels faltered

Wish they would ‘do nothing’ over here, too.

More freedom that way.

listens2glenn on October 26, 2011 at 1:14 AM

You guys are missing the big picture here. The plan is, we’re going to send them 10,000 copies of Dreams of My Fathers. Haha F you Iraq! Ya putz! And Sean Penn, too. Sadr is ecstatic. Sean! [spontaneous goesn’t care suck follows]. Mission Dis-accomplished.

Kenosha Kid on October 26, 2011 at 1:54 AM

The best interests of the country have always taken a back seat to the best interests of Barack Obama.

novaculus on October 26, 2011 at 3:12 AM

Barry and Joe never tried at all, never wanted an agreement to stay. But they own the bug-out now, too.

Adjoran on October 26, 2011 at 4:37 AM

Can we just go ahead and split Iraq up into three regions now?

- Sheriff Joe

pain train on October 26, 2011 at 5:26 AM

The McClatchy piece leaves one to wonder if they were secretly hoping all along that negotiations would collapse

Not so secret since he stated it from the beginning that was his intention.

Why don’t we believe liberals when they say crazy stuff like Obama does?

scotash on October 26, 2011 at 6:11 AM

Isn’t this a Ron Paul type of foreign policy?

Cindy Munford on October 26, 2011 at 7:04 AM

So where was the oversight from Congress on this???
Why didn’t the Republicans call for hearings before this went as far as it did?
Why is Congress (read: Republicans) absent from so many issues???

albill on October 26, 2011 at 7:08 AM

Iran +1
USA 0

Nice work, Chump.

petefrt on October 26, 2011 at 7:13 AM

albill on October 26, 2011 at 7:08 AM

because the dems wouldn’t give them the time of day or any paperwork about it…just like they are slowwalking everything for issa

cmsinaz on October 26, 2011 at 7:15 AM

Obama could be tarred, feathered and run out of Washington on a rail and he’d claim he was leading a parade

Bevan on October 26, 2011 at 7:24 AM

Why is Congress (read: Republicans) absent from so many issues???

albill on October 26, 2011 at 7:08 AM

Because they still wet themselves when they think of how they’d be pilloried in the NYT for opposing the great black messiah.

SKYFOX on October 26, 2011 at 7:29 AM

Maintaining existential blamelessness is not part of the job description, Mr. President. You can’t be President and skip along on the surface like you’ve apparently done with the whole of the rest of your life.

DrSteve on October 26, 2011 at 7:49 AM

Surrender.

Buy Danish on October 26, 2011 at 8:04 AM

Maintaining existential blamelessness is not part of the job description, Mr. President. You can’t be President and skip along on the surface like you’ve apparently done with the whole of the rest of your life.

DrSteve on October 26, 2011 at 7:49 AM

Based on the past three years apparently you can.

Extrafishy on October 26, 2011 at 8:08 AM

Why would the Iraqis want to work with us when we stood by and said nothing when Turkey invaded the Kurdish area of northern Iraq last week?

SDN on October 26, 2011 at 8:27 AM

The Times claimed on Friday that both sides wanted a U.S. military presence in Iraq to continue next year but that the White House bungled the negotiations by pushing the issue of troop immunity too hard too soon.

BS…bottomline…Obama wants out and is just using that as an excuse to do so.

Same thing of a different variety will happen in Afghanistan…

PatriotRider on October 26, 2011 at 8:46 AM

Leadership.

Not leadership. With Obama its leadershit.

FIFY

Old Country Boy on October 26, 2011 at 9:07 AM

What else can you call it when you lead from the REAR?

Old Country Boy on October 26, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Perfect. This task was an actual valid FUNCTION of the EXECUTIVE BRANCH of government.

But SCOAMF would rather tinker with interpretation of law and demonizing the legislative branch.

He’s a constitutional scholar?
Of what constitution?!?

connertown on October 26, 2011 at 9:23 AM

They wanted out and needed an excuse, this was all about getting past the next election. After that, they couldn’t care less.

jnelchef on October 26, 2011 at 9:25 AM

This will go down as another Gitmo. The troops aren’t leaving, at least not all of them. This announcement was all political.

rjoco1 on October 26, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Meh. It was all by design. Oboobi wanted the Iraqis to “kick” us out so that he can claim success and send the troops to another warzone.

AH_C on October 26, 2011 at 2:01 PM

And a bigger point that hurts him with his base. Obama did nothing to get us out of Iraq earlier.

He embraced Bush’s plan , while pretending to be changing things

Bush laid it all out and Obama just continued with war mongering.

Obama made promises he did not intend to keep. He rallied against a war our troops were fighting to get support for his election campaigns, even though it disillusioned the troops about their fight and mission
This fact is still not lost on the troops.

The “report” you are promoting is an attempt to soften the criticism of him by his own base.

LeeSeneca on October 26, 2011 at 2:15 PM