The Heritage Foundation's Michael Needham blamed President Obama for honoring Bush's status of forces agreement in Iraq and his "foreign policy of weakness" and disengagement for all of our current problems in the Middle East.
June 22, 2014

Heritage Foundation flack Michael Needham with another round of "everything is Barack Obama's fault" and please pay no attention whatsoever to anything the Bush administration did to bring us to where we are today.

Needham had plenty of advice about what the Obama administration should have done a few years or even a few months ago, but he came up short when asked what we should do about the problems in Iraq and the Middle now, other than to say he'd probably be doing the same thing as Obama. So in other words, he's got no constructive advice to give and is just there to fling as much mud against the wall as he can find and see what sticks.

If Needham and his boss Jim DeMint are so gung-ho to have U.S. troops back in Iraq, maybe they can both volunteer to join the military and go over there and help with the fight.

Transcript via Fox:

WALLACE: Yes, I want to pick up on that because while some hawks like John McCain this week were calling for immediate U.S. airstrikes against ISIS, there was a very interesting reaction from General David Petraeus, who is the architect of the U.S. troop surge in Iraq that was so successful back in 2007. Take a look.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET), FORMER TOP U.S. COMMANDER IN IRAQ: This cannot be the United States being the air force for Shia militias or a Shia on Sunni-Arab fight. It has to be a fight of all of Iraq against extremists.


WALLACE: Michael, does Petraeus have a point that at this point, if you go in on the side of the Iraqi government, you're going in on the side of the Shiites against the other factions? And that you shouldn't do this until you have some kind of a unity or more unified government in Baghdad.

MICHAEL NEEDHAM, CEO, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: No, absolutely, he does. We can't be doing anything that makes us look like we're picking sides in a civil war. The problem is in terms of holding together a coalition government, we don't have any good options. The reason we don't have any options is that the president a months ago was running around town talking about how his foreign policy was don't do stupid stuff, but that actually means the foreign policy of weakness and a foreign policy for American disengagement from the world, and the stupidest thing we can be doing right now is having America disengage from the world.

So, six years ago, he makes the decision. We're going to pull out of Iraq, leave no forces, the forces that could have been there, identifying the intelligence and targeting the assets that would have prevented this from happening. Six months when the intel was coming in, that there was going to be a challenge to the government, we didn't send the 300 troops there because that would have gone back on the president's statement that Iraq was stable and self-reliant.

And so now, we're forced into a situation where we have no good options and it's because of the president's policy of weakness that is showing itself with Russia, showing itself in the Middle East, and it doesn't work.

WALLACE: I can see you, Juan, chomping at the bit.

But before you do, because there does seem to be a growing feeling in support of Michael's point of view. A new poll out this week showed that support, public support for the president's foreign policy has hit a new low of just 37 percent. And here's what House Speaker John Boehner had to say this week about the president's larger foreign policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: It's not just Iraq. It's Libya. It's Egypt. It's Syria. The spread of terrorism has increased exponentially under this president's leadership.


WALLACE: And it isn't just John Boehner. As we saw from the poll, there's a growing feeling among Americans that the president's war on terror isn't working.

JUAN WILLIAMS, Fox NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that's a sign of frustration is what it is. We had an endless stream of, you know, chaos in the world, events emerging. I think it was President Lincoln who said something to the effect of "I don't control events, events control me."

I think that applies directly to this situation. But what you're seeing is that the polls indication there's no good alternatives.

If you ask the same polls, if you ask Americans, should we send Americans into Syria? No. Should we send them into Iraq? No. Should we antagonize Putin in Russia? No. So, should we stay in Afghanistan? No.

So in a sense, the president is reflecting American attitudes. But he's having to deal with the, you know, a band of troublesome players and failure in terms of Maliki. It's Maliki's failure in Iraq. Let's not confuse that.

Michael said, well, why -- you know, he's not engaged in the world. Remember, it was President Bush who decided we were going to pull out of Iraq. That was President Bush's decision.

So you have a situation where this president is trying to manage things. I think the poll, Chris, reflects frustration, not a lack of faith. When you start to hear people like Boehner, like Dick Cheney this week in "The Wall Street Journal," you know, critical of this president, I think people are then reminded, gee, you know, I might not think the president is doing such a great job with this, but boy, I'm glad he's not the Republicans whose rating is even lower than the president's.


NEEDHAM: In the presidential debate, President Obama said he was the one who made the decision not to leave a residual force in Iraq.

WALLACE: A residual force.

NEEDHAM: That would have given us options. When America is strong and America leads around the world, we have options that we can debate. When America is weak and withdraws from the world, we don't have options.

WILLIAMS: I don't think it's a matter of withdrawing.

WALLACE: Wait, wait, let me ask you a question, Michael, and I have heard this from all of you, no good options. What would you do in Iraq now? Forget the past, today?

NEEDHAM: This is the problem. We don't have options. I'd probably do something pretty similar to what President Obama is doing. What would I have done six months ago? I would have sent people in to send intel and help target. We could have stomped this out in 24 hours?

What would I have done when we pulled out? I would have left a residual force. When you pull back from the world, you're left in a situation where you don't have options. The problem was in the past. The problem isn't going forward.


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