Obama Now Claims It Wasn’t His Decision to Leave Iraq

obama On Saturday morning, just before heading off on a two-week vacation, President Obama updated reporters on the progress of U.S. airstrikes against the ISIS terrorist group in Iraq. In response to a question about whether he regretted withdrawing our troops from the country in 2011, given how quickly ISIS subsequently took over parts of the country, the president delivered this whopper:

“What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision.

Well there you have it, folks… The man who campaigned fiercely for two years on withdrawing our U.S. forces from Iraq really had nothing to do with bringing them all home after all.

The U.S. president who delivered a speech in October of 2011, bragging about holding true to that campaign promise, and declaring an end to the Iraq War, was apparently just kidding.

“As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end — for the sake of our national security and to strengthen American leadership around the world,” Obama proudly said in that speech. “After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011… So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.”

Granted, these excerpts were taken from an Internet transcript on Whitehouse.gov. Since I didn’t look up the actual video of the speech, it’s entirely possible that the president was crossing his fingers while he spoke, or perhaps there was a laugh-track playing in the background to signify that he wasn’t actually being serious about what he said.

Maybe Vice President Joe Biden was just being silly, as well, when he said in 2010 that the withdrawal of our troops in Iraq would be “one of the great achievements of this administration.” After all, how can something that wasn’t even President Obama’s decision be one of his great achievements?

Maybe whoever runs President Obama’s official Twitter account misquoted the president when they tweeted in November of 2012, just before his re-election: “I said that I’d end the war in Iraq, and I ended it.”

In Saturday’s address, the president tried to explain exactly why withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2011 wasn’t his decision: “Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government, and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.”

The president is of course referring to the now infamous status of forces agreement which was indeed never signed by the Iraq government. The only problem is that President Obama, as the New York Times reported in 2012, had no real interest in establishing that agreement in the first place. There was never a serious attempt made. And President Obama confirmed this position in a 2012 debate with Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney:

Mitt Romney: “With regards to Iraq, you and I agreed, I believe, that there should be a status of forces agreement.”

President Obama: “That’s not true.”

Mitt Romney: “Oh, you didn’t want a status of forces agreement?”

President Obama: “No. What I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. That certainly would not help us in the Middle East.”

So there you go. The president stated in his own words in 2012 that he did not want a status of forces agreement, and defended his decision not to leave a residual force behind in Iraq.

Yet, less than two years later, he’s now claiming that he was merely a bystander in negotiations with the Iraq government, thus he shouldn’t be blamed for the very actions he repeatedly took credit for while campaigning for re-election in 2012.

Even for a man whose breathtaking dishonesty and impulse to blame others for his own failings have become legendary over the past 6 years, this really is off the rails. How many people have been murdered by ISIS in an Iraq that was relatively stable when President Obama inherited it, as a result of the administration deciding it was politically advantageous to abandon our hard-fought victory there?

From a Dead Sleep by John A. DalyWhile I’m glad the president is now taking some action in Iraq, it doesn’t even begin to excuse all of the painfully poor decision making, shameless doublespeak, and nauseating dodging of accountability surrounding his handling of that country. I wrote this in a previous column, but it’s worth repeating: What we’ve seen in Iraq, at the hands of ISIS, is perhaps the most predictable U.S. foreign policy blunder in my lifetime.

The media certainly held President Bush accountable for his failings on Iraq. To his credit, Bush owned the mess. Will the media do the same with President Obama, or instead let our president rewrite his own legacy once again?

Sadly, I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to that.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • Becky Palmer

    wow… nice taking a sentence out of a whole speech. Here is the whole speech… Different perspective once you read what he totally said and not just something taken out of context to bash him as usual.

    http://www.politicususa.com/2014/08/09/obama-destroys-bogus-wrong-republican-talking-point-blaming-leaving-iraq.html

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      I read the entire speech and linked to it in my column, Becky. I took nothing out of context, and I cited the portion I did because of its relevance to the point of the column.

      Explain to me how the meaning of his words changes one bit when it’s taken with the speech in its entirety.

  • SAWB69

    Unbelievable! He is the CIC, though…Charlatan In Chief!

  • Evony Master

    In short, Obama was for pulling the troops to make himself look good politically before he was against it. Now it goes from being a great accomplishment of his, to being yet another pathetic attempt to blame Bush.

  • Tim ned

    Ronald Reagan used to say that if you can’t get them to see the light, bring them closer so they feel the heat! This is diplomatic negotiation 101. Certainly he did not want this agreement.

  • Steve Fair

    John Daly is a LIAR. Why don’t you print the full text of the conversation and not this edited bullsquat.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      What did I leave out, Steve?

      • Steve Fair

        Produce the FULL conversation. The reporter, his actual question and Obama’s full response. You righties pull this kind of crap all the time.

        • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

          Of the Romney/Obama debate? I linked to it in the column, but if you want the full transcript, here you go:
          http://debates.org/index.php?page=october-22-2012-the-third-obama-romney-presidential-debate

          Now… Tell me what I got wrong.

          • Steve Fair

            This is pathetic. Does this kind of dishonesty and evasion work in your real life. Produce the full text of the reporter who supposedly asking if Obama regretted withdrawing troops from Iraq and Obama’s direct response to the supposed question. Not your edit.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Steve, what’s pathetic is you calling someone a liar, and then not actually explaining what the alleged lie is.

            Why didn’t you just say what you wanted instead of making me guess, and then whining about it?

            I’m guessing that what you’re looking for is already in paragraph 9 of my column, which would mean that you didn’t actually read my entire column (shocker). But if you want the entire transcript, here you go: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/08/09/statement-president-iraq

            Now… again… explain to me what I lied about. Explain to me what I got wrong.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Oh Steve!!!! Where are you man?

          • Steve Fair

            I saw NOTHING close to this “quote” you posted: “In response to a question about whether he regretted withdrawing our troops from the country in 2011, given how quickly ISIS subsequently took over parts of the country -” Just as I thought.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Talk about pathetic!

            If it was a “quote”, I would have placed it in actual quotes, which I did not. Are you honestly not familiar with what a quote is?

            What I did was summarize the reporter’s question, and my summary was totally accurate.

            “Mr. President, do you have any second thoughts about pulling all ground troops out of Iraq?”

            Why would the president have second thoughts? Because he wanted to play at a golf course in Iraq? What was the reporter’s basis for asking that question in the first place?

            Answer: ISIS taking over parts of Iraq once our troops were all sent home. It’s called context, Steve. I know you lefties hate that.

            So let’s recap. You called me a liar, yet your only defense of that charge was to lie yourself to pretend I wrote something that I didn’t. Fantastic, Steve! You’re a skilled, skilled debater!

          • Steve Fair

            Typical righty. You made up a question and then tacked Obama’s quote onto it. You may see nothing wrong with this tactic but it is one of the reasons why conservatives are most ill-informed segment of American society. They feed off of bullhsit.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Steve, I understand that you’re embarrassed right now, but try and hold it together.

            You called me a liar simply because you didn’t like the point I was making. And every reply you’ve written since then has been part of an incredibly pathetic, impulsive need to defend “everything Obama” without applying any actual consideration for what I wrote in my column.

            There were no misleading tactics used in what I wrote. I defined the context correctly. But if you honestly don’t believe that, please explain to me why a reporter would ask if Obama regretted pulling our troops out of Iraq.

            Obama HIMSELF clearly understood the context of the reporter’s question, because he answered it in the same context that I and everyone else who heard the question understood.

            So come on, Steve. Give me your explanation. Do you really not know what a quote is, or are you really so much of an Obama hack that you can’t think straight when someone criticizes him?

          • Steve Fair

            If it’s so pathetic why are you still prosecuting and explaining? You know what you did and this only works with rightwingers. Most other people see right through the bullhsit.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Because when someone calls me a liar, or a racist, or whatever other lame names Internet trolls like to use in place of intelligent debate, I expect them to actually back it up.

            The fact that you can’t demonstrates your lack of character. And I think it’s important that the people reading this recognize that.

          • Steve Fair

            Speaking of lack of character, you omitted this part as well. George W. Bush was president when the Status of Forces Agreement was
            drafted and ratified by Iraqi lawmakers a month later in November 2008.
            The pertinent part of the agreement that President Obama honored was
            that, “All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi
            territory no later than December 31, 2011.”

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            lol! You have no response so you change the subject again. Telling, but fine. Let’s move on…

            Bush… Bush… Bush… He was out of office for nearly two years when the status of forces agreement was up for renegotiation, as pointed out in the NY Times piece I linked to. The notion that Obama had to blindly adhere to blueprints put together in Bush’s final days is beyond absurd.

            Obama had no problem at all ending U.S. missile defense agreements negotiated by Bush with Poland after Bush left office. Yet, we’re supposed to believe that Obama somehow had no choice but to adhere to a status of forces non-agreement with Iraq – the kind that we’ve managed to negotiate with every other country we’ve kept troops in at the end of conflicts?

            Again, Obama didn’t even try, and he admitted that he had no interest in a status of forces agreement in his debate with Mitt Romney. Furthermore, he campaigned on and bragged about pulling us out of Iraq. That’s the entire point of my column. The doublespeak by our president has been off the charts on this.

            Even if your fantasy scenario were correct, and it was actually Bush who was responsible for bringing home our troops from Iraq, why was Obama taking credit for it at every opportunity. He RAN on it in 2012, after all.

            You really ought to read my column in its entirety and actually respond to what’s in it, rather than just instinctively throwing out disjointed administration talking points. You’ll come across better.

          • Steve Fair

            What the hell does a missile defense agreement with Poland have to do with ending a ten year US troop occupation in Iraq? Are you serious with this man?

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Because you’re saying (while conveniently ignoring that Obama took credit repeatedly for getting our troops out of Iraq) that it was actually a Bush agreement that made it happen.

            I cited the Poland missile-defense agreement merely as an example (of which there are several) of Obama cancelling and reworking international agreements put in place by Bush.

            If Obama wanted a status of forces agreement, he would have tried for it and got it. He didn’t want it, and admitted that in his debate with Romney.

            Steve, its becoming increasingly clear that you know your arguments are nonsensical and based entirely upon administration talking points, and you just don’t care.

            If you think there’s nobility in serving as a political hack, have at it. Just don’t expect to be taken seriously by anyone who isn’t.

          • Steve Fair

            LMAO!!!! You are just another blubbering bloviating rightwing goof who peddles chum for the willing fools to lap up. If anything it is the right who has been attacking Obama for what was a Bush initiative. Of course after lying to get us in Iraq in the first place. Let me ask YOU a question. Are you saying that a continued US troop presence would have definitely stopped the spread of ISIS?

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            >> You are just another blubbering bloviating rightwing goof who peddles chum for the willing fools to lap up.

            Steve, you don’t even read my columns. You clearly didn’t even read this one. You have no knowledge of what my viewpoints are on various issues, so don’t pretend to.

            Please… Stop letting yourself be used as a tool by the left-wing establishment. It’s embarrassing and it’s sad. Question authority. Don’t suck up to it.

            Think for yourself. You might actually enjoy it and be able to carry on productive debates if you’re armed with a few facts.

            >>Are you saying that a continued US troop presence would have definitely stopped the spread of ISIS?

            You would already know the answer to this if you actually read my columns. Again, familiarize yourself with arguments before you blindly argue with people.

            Just some advice that I hope will help you out.

          • Steve Fair

            It never ceases to amaze me how dolts who bought into the birther nonsense, the Benghazi bs, the 47%, voted for Sarah Palin and watch Fox TV for “information” muster the balls to tell people to “think for themselves”. It’s hilarious.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Says genius Steve who has no idea what I think about birthers and Sarah Palin, and has no idea where I get my news.

            Go ahead and build up some more strawmen and burn them down, Steve. Your intellectual defeat is now complete.

          • matt

            Steve sounds like the kind of guy who would stand in a bucket & try to lift himself off the ground…..and not understand why he can’t do it.

          • Tim Ned

            Quote from Steve Fair, “Very simple request John. Produce the quote where Obama made that statement that “it was he who brought all of our troops home from Iraq,”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX1gdpEFAzg

          • Jeff Webb

            Obama pulled the troops out because he had to honor an agreement he had nothing to do with, he even explained to a reporter that it wasn’t up to him, and yet one of the reasons he gave voters to re-elect him was he pulled the troops out.
            Does it trouble you that the guy you support took credit for someone else’s work in his campaign?

          • Steve Fair

            So wasn’t Daly just complaining that Obama said the troop withdrawal was not his idea???? You righties are insane.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Well tell us which one it is, Steve…

            Was the president lying when he claimed credit for getting our troops out of Iraq, or was he lying when he said it was Bush’s was responsible.

            Which one was the truth, and which one was the lie?

          • Steve Fair

            Let me flip it for you smart guy. Was Bush responsible for “weakening our presence in Iraq” as the righties claim, or was it Obama? You can scream that I’m changing the subject but I’m just doing what you righties employ in the media every day. How does it feel?

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Nip this in the bud? Steve, I’ve asked you this same question time after time and you have completely ignored it (like everything other question you’ve been asked, since you have the debate skills of a four-year-old).

            Let’s try it again.

            Was Obama lying when he claimed it was he who brought all of our troops home from Iraq, or was he lying when he said that it wasn’t his decision?

            VERY simple question, Steve. Maybe if you think really hard and consult your DNC emails, you’ll be able to come up an answer that doesn’t involve calling people liars and racists.

          • Steve Fair

            Very simple request John. Produce the quote where Obama made that statement that “it was he who brought all of our troops home from Iraq,”

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            I did in my column! Try actually reading it!

          • Jeff Webb

            Both current columns by Bernie and John provide examples of Obama crediting his administration with bringing the troops home. Would you like me to bring them here, or do you have it in you to locate them yourself?
            Given how many of my questions you’ve ducked like a frightened little girl, I have my doubts.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Hitting the scroll-up button a couple of times would have gave him the info he was looking for. I’ll never understand why the libs that come here have such a hard time reading what they reply to.

          • Jeff Webb

            >>So wasn’t Daly just complaining that Obama said the troop withdrawal was not his idea????<<

            In case you don't have any smart people near you to explain it, I'll go over my comment with you here:

            In the first paragraph I referenced, in order:
            (A) part of your previous comment, about the Status of Forces Agreement ratified when President Bush was in office, and how Obama honored it.
            (B) the Obama quote featured early in John's column, the one ending with "as if this was my decision.“
            (C) what the column says in great detail, that Obama proudly touted his removal of the troops from Iraq in his re-election campaign.

            In short, your comment, Obama's 8/9 quote, and his own past statements, cannot all be true.

            Regarding what I asked at the end: if you stand by your comment, that means Obama passed off someone else's achievement as his own in his bid for a second term. It's only logical to wonder if an ardent supporter like you would go so far as to defend even that. The question was a challenge for you, much like the concept of intellectual honesty and tying your shoes without help.

          • http://defineourterms.org Libertarian Observer

            John … This back and forth with Steve Fair is pointless. You cannot reason with fanatics.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            You’re probably right, but I feel inclined to at least try and compel partisan drones like Steve to occasionally examine their unconditional allegiances.

            Whether it does a lick of good, who knows?

          • Josh

            It leaves a record. And there’s a principle involved.

          • Becky Palmer

            Steve, you are correct… they take a snip out and use it to just bash… HERE is the transcript:

            http://www.politicususa.com/2014/08/09/obama-destroys-bogus-wrong-republican-talking-point-blaming-leaving-iraq.html

            As a wife and mother of soldiers, I am glad we pulled out when there were no assurances they would not be legally prosecuted and punished for staying. Bless our troops!

            Hate Obama if you want John, but hate him for facts, not crap. And, please try to refrain from hateful comments. Those always come out when facts make arguments frustrating.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Steve’s incorrect and so are you. I already included a link to the entire speech and it offers no alternative perspective to the words he spoke.

            To disregard one’s legitimate criticism of our president as “hatred” is the act of a partisan hack, not a reasonable thinker. If you want to read truly hateful comments, start following your buddy Steve’s posts. I think you’ll be thoroughly shocked by his thoughts on the racial divide.

          • Fearlessly Black

            Thank you Becky. There is a reason why conservatives are the most ill informed segment of American society. They WANT to be lied to.

          • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

            Says the guy who has been proven wrong in his false assertions at least three dozen times over the past couple of weeks. lol.

          • Fearlessly Black

            Only in your rightwing fantasies John.

  • GlenFS

    ISIS is what Hamas aspires to be and it’s not hard to imagine what would happen to the Jewish people if they held an unrestrained hand. It’s time Obama put his personal agenda aside and looked after the interests of the country he leads, in the middle east and here as well.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    At long last the bloom is coming off the rose. And that smell in your nostrils replacing them, is war, famine and genocide. Granted Benghazi, the southern border, and the IRs are scandalous with a capital S, but they don’t come close to the real perversion of the fantasy world found in liberal rule. In fact the only close approximation to liberal rule, are the teenage girls in beauty pageants who always “wish for world peace”. I mean, can’t we all just get along? Anyway, on to the real perversion. Syria is bleeding and can’t be staunched. (close to 2 hundred thousand dead) An America conquered Iraq is disintegrating into a civil war bloodier than Syria’s. The Russians have Crimea and Ukraine remains on the brink, while Iran is moving to nukes as fast as they can. And never mind the enemies, check the actions against our friends. Israel, and it’s peaceful democratic citizens are being thrown overboard for a (death to all Jews), Hamas run Gaza. (Even the Egyptians, Saudi’s and Jordanians are proving better friends to Israel). Theodore Roosevelt had it right, walk softly, but carry a big stick. These days America has the “soft” part down pat, while saving the stick only for her friends.

    • Iggy Autry

      I’d bet deep in his heart – Obama doesn’t care.

      He was still in tune with that Bill Ayers generation and side of The Left that thought slaughtering 25 million Americans who refused to denounce capitalism would be necessary after the coming “revolution” was won by their side…

      As long as the United States “isn’t” slaughtering people, so what?

      Indifference is the natural extension of this type of neo-isolationism: The Left’s version of US policy history is that we have been The Great Oppressor… So, even if a “hands off” policy results in ethnic cleansing in hot spots around the world – that’s fine – as long as Obama can look at his own hands and FEEL — he has nothing to do with it…

      • Brian Fr Langley

        I agree that Obama probably does not care. Why should he, he won the election and that really is (was) all he cared about. Like liberal types everywhere, their ends always justifies the means. Unhappily it will take decades to recover (if ever) and the traditionalist can find no flag (like say a Reagan) under which to rally. There is only going to hell in a hand basket (Democrat control) or just going to hell (Republican)

  • Skip in VA

    This jerk is a pathological liar and has no sense of responsibility about anything. I know it. You know it. And the media knows we know it but they have bought into the story that the Emperor has new clothes. They (the media) are guilty as sin for covering up for this guy. I respect the Office of President but I don’t give a hoot for the bozo who currently holds it.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Limerick?
    .
    Today we all heard the President’s plea,
    American power harms, so let the world be,
    since my mighty great plan,
    is called “yes we can”
    if it ever goes wrong, “it just wasn’t me”.

  • buckrodgers

    What happens when white Americans terrified of being labeled a racist,elect a African American who knows that liberal white elitist have used African Americans as nothing more than a tool to keep them in power, how about White Democrats who depend on the white vote to keep them in power or Republican who think the R next to their names stands for racist instead of Republicans or a liberal media dominated by whites, who used their white privilege to obtain their jobs, then declared themselves the self appointed spokesperson and saviors of African Americans, spend a decade labeling everybody, but themselves a racist, President Obama knows that Republicans and white America, along with liberal elitist have been paralyzed by racism that they promoted and profited from for years, before President Obama change America,he has to change the face of the Democratic party, that has refused to give African Americans,their most loyal voters a seat at the table of power.

  • gold7406

    The constituents of this administration are clueless and the msm are the cheerleaders. Iraq telling the US no status of forces agreement? That would be like your 10 year old telling you, you’re grounded.
    This is what happens when you do an about-face and walk away, the problems never go away without resolution. They just get worse.

  • The man’s black

    When the president lies and the bottom feeders ignore it, does he actually lie?

    • GlenFS

      Only if it happens in the woods. :)

  • Iggy Autry

    I was going to write something in the present tense, but I forgot what the definition for “is” is…

    Presidents lie through their teeth constantly…going back decades…

    I wanted Clinton impeached because he did it under oath. That should be unacceptable, but, now, people in government view lying in court the same way the average citizen does — which — pathetically – these days – is that it is all a game – and everybody lies – including the prosecution and defense attorneys – and sadly, that is too often true…

    Our culture is not hight…

    • Josh

      In part of the skeptic community supporting evolution theory (the end that isn’t dominated by Marxists, which is narrowing), a popular hypothesis is that traits which allowed for speech were only beneficial because speech enabled us to lie. “Me no have more meat. Sorry!” “Me no make sex to your mate. No hit me!” It’s not that verbal communication was much better; we see other species getting along just fine without speaking a syllable. It was the ability to lie that really propelled us in many areas.

      Improbable to ever develop an actual theory there, but true or not, we sure as hell lie our butts off as a species, and politicians seem to do it better than anyone, even having hordes of supporters willing to repeat the lie if it benefits them directly.

      Obama specifically has mastered the art of basically calling everyone else a liar. It’s like when my pops caught me trying to open his trunk with a Popsicle stick because I wanted to use his fishing pole, and I instantly and instinctively said, “It wasn’t me!” What one might expect from a 9-year-old punk. Not sure how it’s supposed to be taken from a 53-year-old educated man who is President of the United States.

      • Iggy Autry

        I don’t buy it – academically or ethically speaking. A handful of reasons pop to mind, but, the best on off the top of my head is – Common Defense:

        The ability to communicate allowed develop of ideas, coordination of them, mutual trust, and a whole lot of other things —– people/animals living in a harsh, cruel world – needed to survive.

        The only vital thing we gain for banning together into tribes/communities is — meeting the basic needs for food, shelter, and protection…

        What happens when people in the group start lying?

        I’m sure back then – it was the same as today – no trust.

        And back at the beginning, such trust was key for survival of individuals and group.

        Today, in modern society, for I guess centuries – but maybe just a couple or a few – supplying the basic needs of the individual are so much easier than in the dark epochs of the past —- we don’t care if our leaders lie to us through their teeth as a matter of routine…

        • Josh

          Well, I’m not trying to push it as fact; just pointing out that some hypothesize that lying was so beneficial to our species that there’s a correlation there with speech.

          It has been observed in different ape species that deceitful behavior actually helps primates form groups and find food and mate. It doesn’t hinder them; it doesn’t make them untrustworthy outcasts. It helps them. And this is done through nonverbal communication. The ability we have to deceive verbally well exceeds that and is certainly a beneficial trait to our survival and often to our cooperation and to our mating.

          Whether or not speech evolved for lying — I don’t know that it’s true or if it matters. I was just trying to say that the ability to do so is inherent in us all, and politicians take the cake. We’re so great at it that some wonder why we’re so great at it.

          The issue of trust is cloudy. After all, just because I lie doesn’t mean you know it’s a lie.

          As to the development of ideas and such, no argument from me that speech is key there. But we had the ability to speak for over 100,000 years before we ever started doing anything species-cooperative with it. And even then lying was a huge part of any power structure; e.g. King X is a god you must obey.

          • Iggy Autry

            It’s an interesting idea, but it’d be hard to sway me toward thinking the ability to lie was significantly more important to other speech acts necessary to build trust I would bet was necessary for early survival of the species.

            I’d guess looking at primates is limited because of our far more complex cognitive abilities especially in the areas of abstract thought — which we can still see in the development of the brain and behavior from toddler to teen to adult…

            I guess my main point would be – we’ll end up doing a chicken vs egg-type discussion:

            How much did an individual’s ability to lie to gain the confidence of the group help him survive back when survival was so much harder?

            But, what happened when he was exposed as a liar?

            Or, as Sun Tzu noted, deception is a vital tool in war and geopolitics – but again – due to the danger of deception – the value of trust rises at least proportionately if not exponentially…

            Like you started with, proving that lying was foundational in establishing speech and language is probably impossible – and I’d guess it would be a never-ending battle trying to prove which was more important for early man (and later): the ability to lie or the value of trust and honesty…

            Like — a used car salesman who is an excellent liar is a valuable asset, but, if he is caught embezzling some money – even if it isn’t a huge amount – he’s got to go – because if the owner kept him on, he’d never have a clue if/when the guy would go for more or do other things to harm his business…

          • Josh

            I don’t know if there are really right or wrong answers for any of those questions. As to survival, I would have to say: As much as it helps now, probably. But the definition of a lie also has to be expanded past the negative connotation of lie.

            For instance, a mother 80k years ago telling her son not to wander alone because the volcano monster will eat him. Deceitful, and purposefully so, but not malicious. And I doubt that son would lose any more trust in his mother than modern-day sons realizing their mothers have been lying about Santa. So this necessarily gets into very nuanced definitions and layers of deceit.

            Since survival was more difficult back then, there is an argument to be made that deceitful behaviors had even more advantage than they do today, in the sense that lying could actually promote safety and togetherness. There’s plenty of well-intentioned deceit. E.g. a man witnesses another man die after eating a root, though he cannot understand the exact cause. So to keep others safe, he lies about the truth. “He was punished by the dirt god for stealing this root. Do not touch it!”

            Of course there is always the negative and extreme sides to any such situation, as with lies to start tribal conflicts. Though that then spins into more nuance and many more layers because someone could be telling the truth yet another’s lack of trust in that person could lead them to believe it’s a lie.

            So trust and lies are as much removed as they are connected. There is unlikely a default setting. Some liars are completely trusted while some honest people are ridiculed as liars. E.g. charlatan faith healers being trusted, the people out to debunk them being labeled the liars.

            It confuses me even thinking about it. And it amazes me that we all have the ability to so easily deceive others. (A gift/side-effect/trait/whatever I have used plenty.)

  • Iggy Autry

    Status of Forces Agreements are protested by every government we have one with. South Korea being the one I know best. It is haggling. It is posturing. It is mostly about money, but, nationalism is stoked by it too. In weaker nations, it is part of the current (often on shaky ground) leader’s effort to look tough for his citizens.

    They always get signed…in the end…because the host nation knows how much money, trade, and in cases like Iraq – regime survival – depends on the relationship with the US, military protection, and trade benefits…

    Everyone who isn’t a complete moron should know what Obama just said is beyond a shameful lie…

    • Kathie Ampela

      Great post! If I hear Obama say “Iraq wouldn’t give us a Status of Forces Agreement” one more time my head is going to split open!! We poured BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars into that country and you are going to tell me we had no leverage there? Bull crap! How spineless and impotent can he be? OF COURSE Maliki was going to make noise about it, so what!! Pakistan tried to pretend we “violated their sovereignty” when our guys took out Bin Laden but what a joke! We flew into a military town and took out the world’s most wanted terrorist and they had no idea it was going to happen? Give me a break!

      Obama got away with such nonsense because he told people what they wanted to hear, not what they NEEDED to hear. All that sacrifice thrown away for a cheap campaign promise and we are not only back where we started, we are 50 times WORSE off then in 2008 when Bush left office. When ISIS hits New York (where I live) I wonder who Obama and the dems will blame then?

      • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

        Cheney.

      • Iggy Autry

        There are 2 problems: #1 Virtually nobody who wasn’t a soldier or gov employee stationed overseas (or anyone who hasn’t lived in Korea and paid attention) has a clue about what a SOFA is.

        #2 Obama’s foreign policy is largely the type of Leftist “isolationism” that views the United States as an oppressive nation dominating the rest of the world for about 2 centuries…

        So — to a man like that —- all the South Koreans and Japanese and even some Germans who love to wail about the SOFA with their nation being a “neo-colonial” tool —- are simply telling the truth.

        I bet you the national debt —- if I had sat down with Obama in a coffee shop 3 years before his first election – and asked him his thoughts on SOFAs – he would have echoed those in other nations who love to pretend they are evil colonial tools that can’t be tolerated…

        That is another reason why he didn’t fight for one with Iraq…

        • Kathie Ampela

          Fascinating post Iggy, I hadn’t thought of that angle, but it makes sense. (BTW – I never used to know what a SOFA was, but I’ve learned a lot in my post 9/11 life. I was 4 blocks away from the WTC that day) So, in the worldview of Obama and other Leftist “isolationists” if you cut and run leaving Iraq and religious minorities at the mercy of Islamists, not to mention the region, Europe and of course, the U.S. at high risk, it’s of no consequence…just as long as we aren’t being nasty neo colonialists, is that right? Thousands, perhaps even millions dead are preferable? But is the isolationism on the Right, i.e. Ron & Rand Paul of the same thought process? You’ve given us a lot of food for thought!!

  • Josh

    My mom’s working theory is that Obama has a twin. Since he started first campaigning, he’s simply been in too many public places giving speeches and yet always still in the White House on the steps, lawn, for a photo op, etc, when needed.

    I don’t know about a physical twin, but what do you know about headmates? It’s this new kind of “special” that’s been trending on social media for a couple of years. For instance, a person might really love Game of Thrones, so they’ll claim that Tyrion Lannister actually lives inside of their head, kinda like DID only chosen, and that this headmate takes them over uncontrollably by attempting to “front,” rendering them a victim of his thoughts, words and actions. (Other popular headmates: Other famous characters, unicorns and other mythical animals, and even aliens..)

    They’re all oppressed victims, or so they say, and they apparently cannot control Marvin the Martian and the Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator.

    So maybe Obama has another Obama living inside of his head. While some might choose Loki because that’s a fictional character they swoon over, the real Obama might be swooning over the fictional Obama, and now he can’t even tell them apart.

    The withdraw Obama was the utopian dreamer fictional Obama fronting over the practical, honest, tough-on-terror real Obama. But you never know which one you’re gonna get.