Following President Obama's announcement that all troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year, Fox News has scrambled to attack Obama's foreign policy, calling the development a “strategic tragedy” and speculating that it could mean the lives of American troops killed in Iraq could have been “wasted.”
“Strategic Tragedy”: Fox Attacks Obama Over Iraq Troop Withdrawal
Kilmeade: “Will This Mean All Our Accomplishments Could Potentially Be Erased?” On the October 24 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade began an interview with an Iraq War veteran by saying: “President Obama declared that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by year's end. But after failed negotiations with the Iraqi government to leave some military behind, will this mean all our accomplishments could potentially be erased?”
As Kilmeade spoke, the following text was aired:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/24/11, via Media Matters]
Kilmeade On Iraq Troop Withdrawal: “4,549 Americans Have Been Killed In Iraq ... If This Goes Afoul, Could Their Lives Be Wasted?” From Kilmeade's interview with Marine Corps veteran Kieran Lalor:
KILMEADE: I understand, too, the Iraqis were, up until, like, this summer, into August, were saying, could you build an embassy in Mosul? Because we'd like your presence there. There were factions, as many factions within Iraq, who need us there and know they need us there.
LALOR: What's fascinating is, the Sunnis want us, the Kurds want us, many of the moderate Shiites want us. The group that doesn't want us is the radical, anti-American Shiites led by people like Muqtada al-Sadr who is [sic] been living in Iran for the last few years. So the -- we're abandoning those allies and those other groups that want us there in favor of giving the radical Shiites what they want.
KILMEADE: I remember this conversation before the surge. Have all our blood and money been wasted if we don't find a way to leave Iraq in peace? And that was one of the reasons why you owe it to those who have lost their lives and wounded in battle to try to win this thing, and we did, and it happened. Four thousand, five hundred and forty-nine Americans have been killed in Iraq. Could -- if this goes afoul, could their lives be wasted?
LALOR: Absolutely. You know, I served with four marines who left everything they had over there. And they did so thinking they were going to protect our country and make the world a better place. And they have done that. We've had a military victory, and the Obama administration is about to turn that military victory into a diplomatic defeat. If we cannot convince the Iraqi government that it is in their best interest and in the region's best interest to keep a stability force of Americans there, we have failed diplomatically. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/24/11, via Media Matters]
Perino: I'm “Bothered” That Obama Said “Our Troops Can Now Leave [Iraq] With Their Heads Held High.” Fox News contributor Dana Perino appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss the Iraq troop withdrawal. During the segment, Perino said:
PERINO: What bothered me about Friday's announcement was when President Obama said, “Our troops can now leave with their heads held high.” In some ways to me that sounded like what you tell your kid's little league team when they lose by 20 runs. That's not what happened. Our military performed amazingly well and turned everything around after the surge. And I think that they should have gotten a little bit more credit from the commander-in-chief on Friday. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/24/11, via Media Matters]
Fox Analyst Ralph Peters On Iraq Withdrawal: “Iran Won”; “Iraq Matters -- Afghanistan Doesn't”; “Strategic Tragedy.” During the October 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday, co-host Clayton Morris invited Fox News analyst Lt. Col. Ralph Peters on the air to comment on the withdrawal. Peters claimed the withdrawal meant that “Iran won” and later called it “strategic tragedy.” From the broadcast:
MORRIS: President Obama announcing all U.S. troops will pull out of Iraq by the end of this year. Currently, there are 40,000 troops in the war-torn country. Democrats applauding the president's decision. But are we leaving too soon? Joining us now is the author of Lines of Fire and Fox News strategic analyst and Lt. Col. Ralph Peters.
MORRIS: So was this decision to pull out of Iraq too soon?
PETERS: Well, it was tragic. And it wasn't really our decision. In a sense, we're being booted out. Not so much as by the Iraqis, but by Iran. We should make no mistake: Iran won. In fact, that's even unfair because we didn't even try to play Obama through the game. Now, President Obama deserves points for growing in the job. He did authorize killing bin Laden, al-Awlaki, more drone strikes. After some fumbling, he got Libya pretty much right. But this one is the big one. This is a Super Bowl. Iraq really matters. But Obama made a campaign promise, the left has had a blind spot about Iraq's importance because it was Bush's war. Therefore, it was a bad war. And Iraq matters -- Afghanistan doesn't. Iraq has the oil, it has the strategic location, location, location. Iran wants to move in to fill the power vacuum.
And what happened is straight -- is very straightforward. The Iranians, who play chess when we play checkers, knew that the one lever they could use to get us out of there was the issue of immunity for our troops if accused of a crime, for two reasons. One, they knew we can't agree to allow our troops be tried on spurious charges in Iraqi kangaroo courts; and two, they knew the Iraqi people are bitter about the atrocious behavior of the mercenaries we foolishly employed, the former Blackwater people and others. And so this was a ready-made issue. Tehran, Iran, used its proxies, Muqtada al-Sadr's people and others, in Baghdad to leverage this issue and Obama didn't engage. In fact, Obama has never engaged with Iraq, and we're losing and it's tragic.
Peters later cited Iraq's proximity to Iran to claim that “this is a strategic tragedy for the United States and ... Obama did it.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 10/22/11, via Media Matters]
Asked When We Should Leave Iraq, Bolton Replies, “We're Still In Germany. We're Still In Japan.” On the October 21 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, host Greta Van Susteren interviewed Fox News contributor John Bolton about the withdrawal from Iraq. Bolton said that the withdrawal is “a mistake” and that the “consequences ... will be substantially negative for the United States.” Bolton later added that what “this shows is that we've given up.” When asked by Van Susteren when troops should leave Iraq, he responded, “We're still in Germany. We're still in Japan.” [Fox News, On the Record with Greta van Susteren, 10/21/11, via Media Matters]
Fox's Stephen Hayes: The Withdrawal Is “A Major Setback” And “A Disservice To Our Men And Women In Uniform.” On the October 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Weekly Standard writer and Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes said:
HAYES: Well, I think it's a major setback. I think it truly does jeopardize all of the gains that the United States has made in Iraq over the past eight years. I think it largely cedes the region to Iran at a time when Iran is emboldened because of its -- the power that it's showing in the region, the reach it has across the seas. It's -- I think overall it's a very, very bad outcome that is a disservice to our men and women in uniform and the people who have sacrificed on the diplomatic side for the past several years. [Fox News, Special Report, 10/21/11, via Media Matters]
Krauthammer: Iraq Withdrawal Is A “Big, Big Failure.” Later on the show, Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said that the U.S. should be keeping tens of thousands of troops in Iraq “the same way we retained forces in Korea, Germany, and Japan 50 years ago, to our advantage.” He later called the withdrawal “a big, big failure.” [Fox News, Special Report, 10/21/11, via Media Matters]