Iraqis, We Know Your Pain

Everything Trump touches turns to crap. In this case, he went to Iraq and all we got was a request to pull all of our troops out of their country.

Iraqi lawmakers Thursday demanded U.S. forces leave the country following a surprise visit by President Donald Trump that politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of national sovereignty.

Trump’s trip to U.S. servicemen and women at al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq on Wednesday was unannounced and the subject of extreme security, which is routine for presidential visits to conflict regions. But it came at a time when containing foreign influence has become a hot-button issue in Iraqi politics, and it provoked vociferous backlash.

Iraqi lawmakers were smarting after the U.S. president left three hours after he arrived without meeting any officials, drawing unfavorable comparisons to the occupation of Iraq after the 2003 invasion.

“Trump needs to know his limits. The American occupation of Iraq is over,” said Sabah al-Saidi, the head of one of two main blocs in Iraq’s parliament.

Trump, al-Saidi added, had slipped into Iraq, “as though Iraq is a state of the United States.”

While Trump didn’t meet with any officials, he spoke with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi by phone after a “difference in points of view” over arrangements led to a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders to be scrapped, according to the prime minister’s office.

The visit could have unintended consequences for American policy, with officials from both sides of Iraq’s political divide calling for a vote in Parliament to expel U.S. forces from the country.

Trump’s trip was probably spurred at least in part by critical stories like the one NBC News ran on December 25 pointing out that he was the first president since 2002 to fail to visit troops on Christmas Day. The trip to Iraq was an answer to that but also a chance to change the subject from an avalanche of bad news for the president.

Of course, he also used the opportunity to give the most partisan speech to the troops on foreign soil in our nation’s history and to irresponsibly reveal that a U.S. Navy SEAL team is deployed in Iraq by posting their faces on his Twitter account.

Many of us agree that Trump needs to know his limits and would be pleased if our own legislative branch expelled him from our country.

How much longer will people like Lindsey Graham be able to tolerate this?

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.