Former Texas governor Rick Perry sounded off on the fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to Islamic State forces at a conference Thursday, saying President Obama has “lost the peace” in a critical part of the country. He also said Hillary Clinton bears responsibility for the current violent state of Iraq under ISIS.
“That’s a strategic city in that Anbar province,” Perry said in a speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. “Ramadi was the place where the Sunni awakening occurred. Where Sunni leaders banded together and stopped the insurgency, working with the Americans. Years later, on the hills of that surge, we had won the war in Iraq. But the current president has lost the peace.”
In an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD following the speech, Perry, who may run for president, expounded on the meaning of Ramadi’s fall. The Texas Republican spoke about the American heroes who fought to secure the Anbar province after insurgents cause chaos in that part of the country after the fall of Saddam Hussein. “Our young men, Chris Kyle, and Marcus [Luttrell] and Morgan [Luttrell] were over there in the fall of ’06,” Perry said. “Mike Monsoor lost his life there, was awarded the Medal of Honor. Marc Lee lost his life there. I mean, there’s a lot of blood and treasure in that town that should be free today if the president of the United States understood the tactical side of how to keep a place free and peaceful, and you leave American troops there.”
Perry sounded pessimistic about the hopes of defeating ISIS. “Every day that’s gone by, we have fewer and fewer good options. That’s the sadness of this,” he said.
Perry criticized both President Obama and then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton for pulling out American troops from Iraq in 2011. He pointed to the fact that America’s most successful post-war situations have included leaving troops in country, including in Germany and Japan after World War II and in South Korea following the Korean War.
When TWS asked if Clinton, now a candidate for president, bears responsibility for the current situation in Iraq, Perry was unequivocal.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,” he said. “The vast majority of the president’s advisers who were either in uniform or were civilian military experts all told him, ‘Do not pull the troops out.’ It’s clear that her position was closer to his [Obama’s].”