Megyn Kelly vs. State Dept's Marie Harf on Obama's Dueling Positions on Troops in Iraq


MEGYN KELLY: Listen, nobody is suggesting that the terror that they are unleashing over there is the responsibility of anyone other than those terrorists. But it's fair to ask questions about what if anything the United States should have done, or should be doing. And that question was put to President Obama just last week. The question was should we have left troops there -- when we pulled the troops out of Iraq -- should we have left some troops there to maintained some tenuous gains. Here's what President Obama said last Thursday:

JIM ACOSTA, CNN: Do you wish you had left a residual force in Iraq? Any regrets about that decision in 2011?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Keep in mind, that wasn't a decision made by me. That was a decision made by the Iraqi government.

KELLY: So now that times are tough, he says it was all the Iraqi government, that's the reason our troops didn't stay. But this is what he said to Mitt Romney during the third presidential debate when President Obama was fighting for reelection:

MR. ROMNEY: Oh, you didn't — you didn't want a status of forces agreement?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, but what I — what I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. That certainly would not help us in the Middle East.

KELLY: Which is it? He didn't leave the troops there because he didn't want to tie us down -- he thought that would hurt us in the Middle East -- or as he said last week, it was all the Iraqi's decision?

MARIE HARF: Well, we've been very clear we were not going to leave any troops there without the legal protections and I think most Americans would agree they need to have overseas. So, it is true that the Iraqi government made very clear they did not want our folks there in 2011. But, you know, there's going to be a lot of time to look at the history of what happened in Iraq both when we got in and what happened throughout the years there. What we're focused on today is that the Iraqis have asked us to come back, they have asked for a number of troops to help shore up their army.

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