State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki had the difficult task of defending President Obama’s decision to pull troops out of Iraq in 2011 – and Megyn Kelly didn’t offer her any help.
On Thursday, Kelly invited Psaki on The Kelly File to respond to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s claim that the president’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq was a prematurely poor action, especially considering Panetta and several generals had warned the president against such action. Panetta says as much in his new memoir.
Here was Psaki’s response to these excerpts from Panetta’s book:
“But what happened in 2011 was that there were two major factors, one was Iraq is a sovereign country. They decide with cooperation with the United States of course what kind of presence there would or wouldn't be. The second is we didn't have the troop protections that we needed. There were legal challenges there. There was a desire to have that go through the parliament. And that just wasn't going to be politically possible.”
Kelly challenged Psaki on these points, pointing out that the number of troops Obama had proposed was too meager for former Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take seriously. Then, she got to the real issue:
"(This is) about accountability, because the President is really very focused on what we do right now about the problem in the Middle East, and that's good. But the question also has to be answered, how did we get here?"
One person who seemed to know we would reach this current crisis, was former president George W. Bush. Brian Kilmeade interviewed 43 this past week on Fox and Friends. Kilmeade played a clip of Bush from 2007, in which he accurately described the drastic consequences that could arise if we pulled troops out of Iraq too early. Despite Bush being right on target, he declined to criticize Obama for how he’s handling the situation.
Kelly had no problem taking it to Psaki, however. Watch their fiery exchange here: