NBC Minimizes Obama's Iraq Pullout As Contributing Factor to Islamist Advance

On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams strongly hinted that the recent Islamist blitzkrieg in Iraq was completely former President Bush's fault: "Make no mistake: what's happening in Iraq right now is a direct outgrowth of the U.S. decision to invade the country over a decade ago." However, he glossed over the Obama administration's failure to negotiate a continued U.S. presence and pulling out all American forces in late 2011 as a factor in the crisis.

Williams repeated his point to David Gregory: "How does the President sell any action at all to the component of the American people who feel...it's not our dance...even though...we broke it?" Gregory seconded his contention: "Right, that Pottery Barn rule: you broke it; you own it; you got to somehow fix it." Later, Stephanie Gosk did reference the troop pullout, but didn't mention President Obama by name: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

STEPHANIE GOSK: Ellen Mark's husband fought in Korea. She thinks the U.S. military did pull out of Iraq too fast.

ELLEN MARK: They should have left some back, and brought them back in smaller quantities at a time.

Williams led the evening newscast by detailing the ongoing advance of jihadists towards Baghdad: "Their name is ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Syria)]. They're heavily-armed; highly motivated – they are ruthless fighters. They've carried out daytime crucifixions to make their point. They have swept from Syria to the east, and are rolling across Iraq. And on their way, they've taken over major cities; some oil facilities; some U.S. weapons and vehicles."

The NBC anchor continued with his "direct outgrowth" line, and added that "the question of what the U.S. should do now; what it can do – the President talked about that today." After playing a clip of Mr. Obama underlining his intention to not let the U.S. be "dragged back" into Iraq without the parties acting for the "long-term stability and prosperity of the country," he asserted that "what we have come to know as Iraq could fall. It appears Iraq is headed for partitioning – if, indeed, that hasn't happened already."

Several minutes later, Williams conducted his "we broke it" exchange with Gregory. Gosk's report immediately followed the segment with the Meet the Press host. She spoke to veterans and military family members near Fort Stewart, Georgia, and asked a slanted one veteran a question. However, she followed with her clip of the military wife who asserted that U.S. forces should have stayed longer in Iraq:


STEPHANIE GOSK (voice-over): In the spring of 2003, the U.S. military's Third Infantry Division from Fort Stewart was among the first to fight its way to Baghdad. There were four deployments in total; more than 400 soldiers killed.

JOSEPH ROGERS: You don't know what the outcome is going to be-

GOSK: Joseph Rogers served three tours as a combat engineer – the guys at the front of the front line.

GOSK (on-camera): Do you ever think to yourself, we should never have been in there in the first place?

ROGERS: No, I don't think we – I don't ever have that opinion we never should have been there.  I mean, we was (sic) called on to go, and we went there. We done our part. They got to do it on their own. It's their fight.

GOSK (voice-over): Each person we spoke with here has strong opinions about Iraq – whether they fought or not – because in a military town, everyone feels like they have been at war.

Ellen Mark's husband fought in Korea. She thinks the U.S. military did pull out of Iraq too fast.

ELLEN MARK: They should have left some back, and brought them back in smaller quantities at a time.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center