While the Donald tries to get the world to focus on what he meant to say, rather than what he actually said, it gives the opportunity to clarify what Hillary said about the reasons we left Iraq.
In short, we left because the Iraqi government would not sign an agreement giving our military immunity from prosecution from war crimes. For those of us that grew up in the shadow of World War II and heard all of the despicable stories of the behavior of the Japanese soldiers, it was a point of pride that we did not commit war crimes. We were honorable in war, at least as honorable as one can be while killing other human beings. Then along came My Lai, and America had to reevaluate our psyche.
Fast forward forty years and you have the story of Fallujah. The backdrop for the scene is four mercenaries from Blackwater being taken from their vehicle, abused, and hung from a bridge for all to see.
The point counterpoint is whether or not the locals were enacting pay back on the Blackwater men for atrocities performed on the Iraqi population by the company. True or not, the result was a visual that the American military would not let stand.
The ensuing battle for Fallujah proved to be the bloodiest of the Iraqi war, and the bloodiest battle involving American troops since Vietnam. Of the roughly 50,000 buildings in Fallujah, between 7,000 and 10,000 buildings were estimated to have been destroyed. From half to two-thirds of the remaining buildings had significant damage and were unlivable. It is estimated that a total of 800 Iraqis died in the battle, of which roughly 600 were civilians and 200 or so were actual combatants.
When three fourths of the casualties are civilian, it gives rise to some serious war crime investigations, hence America’s need for immunity. Whether or not we can conduct war by the rules, or choose not to, is the big question.
For President Obama it wasn’t how or why, but the fact that the United States did not want to take on that liability. As a result, he brought the troops home, and has had to listen to the charges of “creating Isis” ever since.
Now he is confronted with civilians that want to sue foreign governments, which we’ll get to tomorrow.