Despite having been debunked before, JEB Bush returned to a lie spoken before while decrying our current state of affairs in the Middle East. He claimed that President Obama was responsible for withdrawing all the combat troops from Iraq in 2011. But, that wasn’t the only lie spoken about Obama and Hillary Clinton in conjunction with the Islamic State. Carly Fiorina got in on the act by stating that the pair was the cause of the rise of ISIS.
The Presidential debates always provide a lot of fodder for fact checkers, and Tuesday night’s Republican debate is no different than any other in that regard. To start with, Mr. Bush is only partially correct when he states that President Obama is responsible for the complete troop withdrawal from Iraq. In 2008, his brother signed the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq that required the withdrawal by the end of 2011.
Now, when Obama came into office he had three years to renegotiate that deal if he wanted too, and he did attempt to, but he didn’t push for it as strongly as some would have liked. There are two reasons for this most likely. One, the President made a campaign promise to bring the troops back home. The second was that they didn’t reach a deal with the Iraqi government to keep American soldiers free from trial in Iraq if they committed a crime there. Still, Leon Panetta stated that provision could have been reached had Obama pushed harder.
Now, let’s move on to Carly Fiorina. A lot of other conservatives love to claim that Obama is to blame for ISIS, but that is factually incorrect, and they know it. The Islamic State was founded in 2006. President Obama wasn’t elected until 2008, and didn’t get into office until 2009. The current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was released to the Iraqi’s by a Bush agreement that handed over all Iraqi prisoners over in 2008. The Iraqi’s themselves released him and a number of other prisoners.
So, despite their claims, Hillary Clinton and President Obama are not responsible for the creation or the rise of ISIS. I am not going to say that they are completely absolved of its current power, but they are not solely responsible for it. And though the Republicans on the stage during the debate felt comfortable stoking up the fear and claiming how much stronger ISIS now is, they are only partially correct again. The terrorist group has made inroads into Libya and grown stronger in Africa, but they have lost over half of their territory in Syria and Iraq in the last year.
With news like that, you would hope that people running to be President would try to calm the nation and point out the truth, but I suppose that is just too much to ask in this situation. It isn’t hard to see why the conservative base is so filled with fear when all of their candidates are saying how much people are afraid. If you keep repeating something long enough, some people just come to believe it. Personally, I feel after a terrorist attack of any nature the last thing we should be doing is stoking the fear of our own people.