(WASHINGTON TIMES) The president who spent years touting the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq suddenly has had to distance himself from that action.

At the White House on Saturday morning — less than 48 hours after authorizing airstrikes against Islamist militants and humanitarian air drops to save the lives of trapped Iraqi civilians — President Obama blamed his predecessor, George W. Bush, for the absence of American troops in Iraq and rejected the assertion that he could have left a small peacekeeping force in the war-torn nation.

He uttered those after three years, and a successful re-election campaign, in which the full removal of U.S. forces from Iraq was cast as this White House’s most significant foreign policy achievement and one Mr. Obama had promised all the way back to the earliest days of his first presidential campaign in 2008.

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