Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry stole a time machine, traveled back in time a few years, and accused President Bush Saturday of endangering U.S. troops by announcing plans to end the nation’s military role in Iraq by Christmas of 2011.
“The last thing you want to do is put those men and women’s lives in peril, and I think that’s what the president’s done by making a political statement to his base that he’s going to be out of Iraq by a date certain,” Perry said.
The Texas governor, who had joined a number of his Republican rivals in criticizing President Bush’s planned troop withdrawal on Friday, got more pointed as he spoke to reporters in Iowa, where Perry was joining one of the state’s Republican members of Congress, Steve King, on a pheasant hunt.
Perry, an Air Force veteran who noted that he was also “commander in chief of a fairly substantial group of individuals in the National Guard of Texas,” called Mr. Bush’s decision “bad public policy” and “bad tactics.”
“He needs to be working with the commanders on a timetable to remove those troops, but obviously not telling the bad guys when it’s going to happen,” he added.
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The above of course is a mild bit of satire, based on Perry’s apparent ignorance of a rather important and simple to grasp fact: the agreement to remove all U.S. combat troops from Iraq was signed nearly three years ago by then-President George W. Bush. The U.S. has no say in the matter and couldn’t keep combat troops in Iraq unless Iraq changes its mind – it said it won’t – or the U.S. re-invades and occupies the country.
President Obama has gone on the record multiple times as wanting to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely, but has been repeatedly rebuffed by Iraq. Read this story by Glenn Greenwald for more on that.
It’s hard to know what to laugh at, what to mock, and what to be sick to your stomach at. CBS News, in the story I just satirized, didn’t bother to inform people that it was President Bush that signed the agreement to withdraw our troops from Iraq and that President Obama is merely restating information that has been publicly available for almost three years now. Perry – who wants to be President of the United States – doesn’t seem to know that President Bush signed this agreement in 2008, or that President Obama has tried several times to change it in order to do what Perry and most of the GOP field wants to do: keep American troops there indefinitely.
Take your pick, it’s ugly either way. Rick Perry looks like a bumbling moron that’s unaware of even basic facts and recent events in foreign policy regarding a hot-button issue, and CBS looks utterly disinterested in reporting actual facts that completely contradict the statements of a well known Republican governor that has a real shot at winning his party’s nomination for President of the United States.