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John Bolton: Obama Sabotaged Negotiations With Iraq In Order To Withdraw Our Troops

Reported by Ellen - October 21, 2011 -

It’s not very surprising that Fox News reacted to President Obama’s announcement that all American troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year pretty much the same way the “fair and balanced” network reacted to the death of Qaddafi and even Osama Bin Laden – by immediately finding ways to diminish and denigrate Obama. But Fox News contributor and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton took the tactic to new lows when he announced tonight on On The Record that President Obama had deliberately undermined negotiations with Iraq to leave some of our forces there after January 1, 2012, the date President Bush negotiated for us to depart.

Most of the commentary that I saw was similar to the remarks of Jonathan Hunt, an “objective” Fox News reporter who suggested on Fox Report that the withdrawal would be “ceding the region” to Iran. On Special Report, chickenhawk Steve Hayes echoed those sentiments by calling the withdrawal a “major setback” that “largely cedes the region to Iran at a time when Iran is emboldened.” Of course, neither mentioned how Bush’s invasion helped embolden Iran in the first place. The Cato Institute’s Ted Galen Carpenter and Malou Innocent wrote:

Even before the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq, Iran possessed a budding nuclear programme, the region’s largest population, an expansive ballistic-missile arsenal and, through sponsorship, influence over the Lebanese Shia group Hizbullah. The George W. Bush administration and neo-conservative proponents of the war overlooked these assets, and America’s removal of Saddam Hussein as the principal strategic counterweight to Iran paved the way for an expansion of Iran’s influence.

Nevertheless, Hayes said the war was “absolutely worth doing.”

On the same show, Charles Krauthammer called the withdrawal a “monumental diplomatic failure.”

On On The Record, host Greta Van Susteren did a fairly decent job of putting forth all the information and playing it straight. But given that “I want war against Iran” Bolton was her only guest, the outcome was never in doubt.

But even I was surprised when Bolton suggested it was all a devious trick.

I think the president effectively made the decision that he was going to have all American forces out by the end of 2011, even before he was inaugurated. I think the negotiations (to keep American troops in Iraq after January 1) we’ve seen over the past couple months were efforts by the Defense Department to try and salvage something. I think the president wanted to be able to say that he had withdrawn all American forces, that he had ended this war. He’s now done that and the consequences, which I think will be substantially negative for the United States, will be his responsibility.”

Like Hayes, bellicose Bolton never served, either.

Noting that the agreement to leave had been struck by Bush and that the Iraqi government refused to grant U.S. troops immunity if they stayed longer (a deal breaker for the U.S.), Van Susteren asked, “What are our options? I mean, what was the President’s option?”

Bolton answered:

“If you say, what are your options in the last three months of negotiation, when the leverage is all against you, when the deadline is looming, when this question of immunity for me, is a deal breaker, then it’s very hard to find a way out of it. That’s why I believe the president always wanted to get everybody out by the end of the year and he allowed the negotiations to collapse.”

Did Bolton have any evidence to back up such an outrageous allegation? He didn't offer any and, sadly, Van Susteren didn’t challenge him for any.

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