Blame Game: Obama Insists He Bears No Responsibility for Chaos in Iraq

Dan covered this afternoon’s presidential press conference on Iraq, with the biggest news being the announced deployment of 300 US special forces operators into the country. As expected, President Obama repeatedly stressed that these troops will fulfill an explicitly non-combat role, promising that no US forces will return to combat duty in Iraq. He did, however, say that the military is prepared to take “targeted and precise military action” of the situation warrants it. He’s presumably speaking of airstrikes against ISIS targets from drones or manned aircraft. Obama placed a great deal of emphasis on Iraq finding a “political solution” to its troubles, praising the nation’s multi-sectarian elections in recent years. In doing so, he nudged Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki to step down — a heavily hinted call for, well, regime change. A Maliki spokesman quickly shot down the implication. Obama’s politically-focused message and demands for a more inclusive Iraqi government seemed wildly out of step with realities on the ground. Of course a political solution is the goal, but the country’s on fire right now, with hardcore militants controlling massive swaths of land and threatening to lay siege to the capital city. Iraq’s political situation isn’t the issue at the moment:

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