President Obama’s decision to withdraw all American troops from Iraq by the end of the year is confusing Newt Gingrich. The former House speaker-turned-2012 GOP presidential contender said last month that Obama made the “right” decision, yet two days later suggested the president is ushering “defeat” in Iraq.
But Gingrich broke his own flip-flop record yesterday during the online portion of an interview with the Fox News “All Star” panel. First, Gingrich said “there’s no short term advantage to us being” in Iraq. And 13 seconds later, he said he does not agree with the president’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq, a position — given Gingrich’s prior statement — that even had conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer confused:
GINGRICH: If you watch in the next few weeks, the Shia are going to go after the Sunnis. I mean the second we are out of that country, the Shia, this is their first chance in hundreds of years –
KRAUTHAMMER: Are you glad that we’re out as a result of that?
GINGRICH: I think — yeah — I think there’s no short term advantage to us being there. And I really thought by the way, trying to leave 3,000 troops was an invitation for total disaster.
KRAUTHAMMER: So you approve of the agreement, or the place where the president has come to?
GINGRICH: No! No. I think we are — look if this president had been serious we’d be in a different place.
Watch it starting at 2:50:
Back in March, Gingrich attacked Obama for not having launched a no-fly zone in Libya, saying he would “exercise a no-fly zone this evening…the United States doesn’t need anybody’s permission.” Then less than 24 hours later, after the president signed off on American participation in NATO’s air campaign, Gingrich accused Obama of “opportunism,” adding, “I would not have intervened.”
Writing about recent Republican attacks on Obama’s foreign policy, Michael Cohen concluded over at Democracy Arsenal that the GOP critique “is basically ‘whatever he does we will argue the opposite.’” Newt Gingrich is the personification of that conclusion.