In 2010, Vice President Joe Biden called the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and the ongoing drawdown of that war one of President Barack Obama’s “great achievements.” As recently as Tuesday, incoming White House Press Sec. Josh Ernest called ending the Iraq War one of Obama’s “most important national security priorities” and the neutralization of al-Qaeda a “success.”
With violence exploding in Iraq this week as al-Qaeda affiliated groups seize cities and force whole Iraqi armies to surrender, outgoing White House Press Sec. Jay Carney was grilled by ABC News’ White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl over whether the administration still regards the withdrawal from Iraq as a success.
“Given what we’re seeing now in Iraq, can you still claim those as two of your signature achievements?” Karl asked.
“There is no question that the president pledged to end the war in Iraq, and he did,” Carney replied.
“There’s no war in Iraq right now?” Karl pressed.
“U.S. combat missions in Iraq,” Carney clarified.
He later asserted that “core” al-Qaeda, based in Pakistan and Afghanistan, has been “unquestionably been severely compromised and decimated.”
“Isn’t it equally dangerous, or arguably more dangerous, to have an al-Qaeda-linked group in control of major Iraqi cities than to have them in the mountains of Pakistan?” Karl asked.
Carney closed by reminding Karl that the September 11th attacks were organized by al-Qaeda out of the Af-Pak region and not Iraq.