I’m Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief For The New York Times. Ask Me Anything.




” … it’s not my job to rate the obama administrations actions in iraq. but i will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating i wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. that was not true. even after falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of mosul — that iraq was collapsing. “





   From Allahpundit at Hot Air:


” Is “ignorant” really the best word to describe willful blindness to a politically inconvenient truth? Obama got elected promising to bring the troops home; the only way he could do that without major domestic headaches was to claim that Iraq didn’t need them anymore. So he did, the truth notwithstanding. Imagine how many low-information voters will watch tonight’s speech and wonder where this bolt-from-the-blue known as ISIS came from. Last they heard, Iraq was doing just fine.

  You guys know better, though. I’ve linked it more than once before but it’s worth re-reading Peter Beinart’s post from a few months ago about Obama’s history of malign neglect in Iraq. He had one Iraq goal as president — to get out, come what may, just as he promised voters he would do in 2008. ” 




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