Neocons Blame Obama for Iraq Disaster

Exclusive: In two months, the Iraq War at least the eight-year U.S. phase will be over. President Barack Obama promises the last troops will be home for the holidays. Then, Americans may finally reflect on this bloody imperial disaster. So the neocons are busy rewriting the war’s narrative, Robert Parry reports.

By Robert Parry

With President Barack Obama’s announcement of a complete U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, the neoconservative editors of the Washington Post immediately got to work rewriting the narrative of the Iraq War, shifting the blame for the eight-year strategic disaster onto him.

That is the message of Sunday’s lead editorial in which the Post joins with the neocon-advised Republican presidential candidates in setting Obama up for the fall in the likely event that the horrendous political violence in Iraq gets even worse.

President Barack Obama

The solution favored by the Post’s editors and the Republicans is to continue the U.S. military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, just as they want a similar open-ended war in Afghanistan and sought a more aggressive U.S. military role in Libya. Simply put: Spare no expense in the blood of U.S. soldiers and the dollars of U.S. taxpayers.

And, since the neocons retain enormous influence in the opinion circles of Official Washington, they will likely have a great deal of success in rewriting the history of the Iraq War into one that depicts a brilliant neocon “victory” squandered by the reckless “peaceniks” surrounding Obama.

The neocon message is this: If only Obama had listened to us like George W. Bush did everything would have worked out just wonderfully. However, since he didn’t, Obama will have to shoulder the blame for what the world will see as a humiliating U.S. retreat from Iraq.

The neocon corollary is that only a Republican president most likely Mitt Romney or Rick Perry can restore American grandeur in the world. Both Romney and Perry have surrounded themselves with neocon advisers, such as Eliot Cohen and Robert Kagan who are guiding Romney’s foreign policy.

Romney essentially contracted out his foreign policy to the neocons who produced his campaign manifesto, “An American Century.” The title is an homage to the neocon Project for the New American Century, which in the 1990s built the ideological framework for the Iraq War and other violent “regime change” strategies pursued by Bush.

Cohen, who wrote the manifesto’s foreword, was a founding member of the Project for the New American Century and a protégé of prominent neocons Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle.

Upbraiding Romney

On the campaign trail, Romney briefly deviated from the prescribed neocon path with comments that U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be withdrawn “as soon as we possibly can” and that the war showed Americans “cannot fight another nation’s war of independence.” He was promptly upbraided by the Post’s editors and quickly fell back into line.

So, after Obama’s announcement on Friday that the remaining U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year, Romney lashed out with a harsh denunciation fashioned by his neocon team. He said Obama let his decision be driven either by “naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government.”

Also toeing the neocon line, Perry charged that Obama had put “political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment” in agreeing to leave Iraq.

Then, on Sunday, the Post’s neocon editors joined the furor, portraying Obama’s withdrawal as shortsighted and foolhardy.

The editorial noted that the war will end for U.S. soldiers, but “Iraqi insurgents, including al-Qaeda, continue to wage war against the country’s fragile democratic government; Iran sponsors its own militias and has been accelerating its effort to dominate its neighbor.

“Mr. Obama’s decision to carry out a complete withdrawal sharply increases the risk that painfully won security gains in Iraq will come undone; that Iran will be handed a crucial strategic advantage in its regional cold war with the United States; and that a potentially invaluable U.S. alliance with an emerging Iraqi democracy will wither.”

The Post’s editors claimed that Obama had given in to political advisers who wanted him to fulfill his campaign pledge of a complete U.S. military withdrawal, rather than heed the advice of military commanders who wanted to extend the U.S. occupation with 18,000 or so troops.

The Post wrote: “The next year or two will show whether that calculation is correct. In the meantime Mr. Obama will surely boast on the campaign trail, as he did Friday at the White House, that he has fulfilled his 2008 pledge ‘to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.’ End it will, for Americans if not for Iraqis; as for ‘responsible,’ count us among the doubters.”

In other words, the Post’s editors, who propagandized for the Iraq invasion in 2002-03 by repeating the Bush administration’s false claims about Iraq’s WMD and links to al-Qaeda, have now distanced themselves from any responsibility for the strategic disaster that the Iraq War has created.

You see, by extending the U.S. occupation indefinitely even in defiance of conditions set by the Iraqi government Washington could presumably hold off the day when Americans will fully recognize what a catastrophe the Iraq War was. As long as that day could be postponed, the neocons could hold themselves out as worthy foreign policy experts.

But now the day is fast approaching when the U.S. occupation will end and the full scope of the dismal failure will become apparent. So, the ever-clever neocons are shape-shifting the Iraq War narrative to pass the blame for the $1 trillion catastrophe and the deaths of nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis onto Obama.

[For more on related topics, see Robert Parry’s Lost History, Secrecy & Privilege and Neck Deep, now available in a three-book set for the discount price of only $29. For details, click here.]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

25 comments for “Neocons Blame Obama for Iraq Disaster

  1. October 27, 2011 at 08:44
  2. Rory
    October 25, 2011 at 10:23

    The Washington Post. Pfffftttt!!! Is this really a source of news these days? Neo Cons, shut up and take your place in the line of the old guard that is being swept out by the broom of the people.

  3. NoMoreWars_forIsrael
    October 24, 2011 at 17:18

    The Neocons have only themselves to blame for the Iraq disaster since it was based on their Clean Break ( war for Israel agenda. To find out more about such and similar read Dr. Stephen Sneigoski’s ‘The Transparent Cabal’ book (

    Looks like the Neocons (via their mouthpieces like ‘Neocon John’ McCain) are at it again for Syria and Iran as well!:

    US Begins Huge Military Maneuvers Aimed at Iran

    ‘Neocon John’ McCain raises prospect of military option in Syria (for Israel of course!)

  4. October 24, 2011 at 07:08

    Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and the rest of that lot shall go down in history as the most DELUSIONAL, DISHONEST, DECEPTIVE, DISINGENUOUS, and DESTRUCTIVE bunch of lunatics ever.

    • Jack
      October 24, 2011 at 09:24

      And there you have it. The Truth.
      All those who wish to continue the unending war are simply war profiteers.
      Plain and simple truth.

  5. rosemerry
    October 24, 2011 at 02:45

    How can anyone believe a word of the WaPo or NYT? The USA, through Pres Obama, wants its troops to be able to continue with any crime in Iraq WITH IMPUNITY. The Iraqi government,elected with fanfare under the democratic values of the good ole USA, has refused, so Obama had to follow the agreement MADE BY W BUSH to leave the country, which they had absolutely no excuse to have invaded. Even a child in public school in the USA should see through these neocon lies.

  6. C.Dutta
    October 23, 2011 at 20:17

    At present there is no American grandeur exist anwhere in the world.Obama’s announcement of withdrawl of forces will positively benifitted common Americans who are fighting in the foreign land.Necked attack of George Bush spoil the image of American people. Republican will not get people’s support this time in the election.

  7. charles sereno
    October 23, 2011 at 19:22

    I’m fucking tired of trying to voice a message to no avail because I’m social media challenged. How about really getting “horizontal.” For what it’s worth, here’s my message. I think there would be eye-opening response if it were promulgated. Myself, I’d just hang a sign around my neck stating my age (80) and perhaps the fact that I have a bad shoulder. BTW, what do the police do with 1-armed protestors?—– Original Message —–
    From: Charles Sereno
    To: [email protected]
    Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 10:50 AM
    Subject: Proud to be a human shield

    Proud to be a human shield
    Here’s an idea. I think there are untold numbers of “old” people that would jump at the opportunity to be the leading edge in every confrontation with the police — a protective skin for the future of those they love and have labored for.
    I’m 80 years old and a lifelong anarcho-pacifist. I could scrape up one or two thousand dollars to travel anywhere in the USA if I was given the privilege of marching in a front line with other seniors, hands locked, our bodies as the message. I’d be so honored to stand with Coleen and other veterans of the flotilla.

    • rosemerry
      October 24, 2011 at 02:47

      One of the best suggestions I have seen, showing the desperation of the situation in the eyes of those who are rational in the USA.

  8. MalleusMaleficarum
    October 23, 2011 at 19:01

    Neocons are attempting to shift the blame for the Iraq debacle. Why should anybody be surprised? Why is this considered news? Romney, Lindsay Graham and all their ilk ooze their noxious hypocrisy.

  9. October 23, 2011 at 18:12

    I am sufficiently angry that i have decided to confront them from a non political base but one of Principle and Honor. They have reduced this nation to the rules of the gutter, where winning or getting what is want is all that matter no matter how. It is the same basic principle the Protester are trying to express as they say “shame” All the protester need to ask of those companies “yes you are right no crime in being rich but it depends how you obtained your wealth, how many bodies you trampler on, how many children did you starve. Have you no sense of honor. YOU have dishonored this nation.”
    Right after WWII with the Marshal Plan this nation was God’s Country to the world. Now, I, as I travel, I have to defend the honor and motives of my country. “Stop your lies, how can you face your children and our troops who most explain to the world it is all a pack of lies.
    As the Veteran who faced the police in New York stated “stop it! there is NO HONOR in this”. So what is the cry of “shame by the protester? What is those people crime? They have destroyed the HONOR of this Nation and we intend to Clean it up.
    I think it is time to EXPOSE the behaviour for what it is morally and ethically.

    • Karen Romero
      October 24, 2011 at 13:02

      As to the part of your comment
      All the protester need to ask of those companies “yes you are right no crime in being rich but it depends how you obtained your wealth, how many bodies you trampler on, how many children did you starve. Have you no sense of honor. YOU have dishonored this nation.”

      This is very similar to what I have been saying for years!

      Judgment…Thank you for your service to our once Beloved Country!

      Karen Romero

  10. bobzz
    October 23, 2011 at 18:08

    “Spare no expense in the blood of U.S. soldiers and the dollars of U.S. taxpayers.” The only way the neocons will stop making war is to raise taxes to pay for them as we go and reinstate the draft. Of course, that will never happen. I just remember Eisenhower commissioning Matt Ridgeway to study what would be needed to go into Viet Nam. Ridgeway reported the estimated cost and that it would require at least 500K men. Eisenhower said the American people would not stand for it, and Ike did not send thousands into VN. That was in the old days when we paid as we went. When someone asked about the high number of suicides among our troops, one of our generals reportedly said, “We have an endless supply of warm bodies.” Does anyone have the source for that quote?

  11. Norman
    October 23, 2011 at 16:12

    Oh my goodness. The Neocons are sniveling & whining. The same architects of the Iraq war, which is a failure, as well as Afghanistan is too, causing every Veteran to ask the question today, “what were we doing there”? Shades of Vietnam. Oh, and just what do the Generals think? Another failure in the history books. Keep on going until the country collapse’s from running out of money? The sad part was the “O” fell into the trap, which is on him, whether or not he is/was naive or just plain plain over his head. These are his wars, he bought them, owns them, as well as any & all of the adventures taking place today. There shall be no pity expended toward the “O”, but it’s too bad he didn’t stand up as a leader, instead of waving his magic wand and sprinkling the fairy dust around. Oh well, he did get to be the 1st, probably the last too.

  12. October 23, 2011 at 12:51

    And to give Obama a little credit for being just as clever as the neo-cons, he knew about the kick the can game too. And, in fact, he was trying his hardest not to have the US military pull out under his watch. In large part, Obama found his hands tied by the prior Bush Status of Forces agreement, when Maliki got backbone due to the WikiLeaks’ story coming out this summer about another terrible massacre of Iraqi women and children that had been covered up. See Glen Greenwald’s article:

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