Former U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno said Friday that the rise of ISIS was avoidable.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Odierno said that when America pulled out of Iraq in 2010, Iraq “was in great shape. Violence was down, the economy was growing, a fairly stable political system, although there were signs that maybe it wouldn’t be so stable, so it was going well.”
Host Joe Scarborough asked Odierno, “Did it ever have to begin? Was ISIS avoidable?”
Odierno, who was the top general in Iraq for two years replied, “I think it is. I’m not one for revisionist history.”
“Actually, I was, on 1 September 2010, that’s when I gave up command in Iraq, and that was the end of, we declared that was the end of combat operations when I left.”
“And I think if we had stayed, I think it could have made a difference. Now that’s easy to say now. You have to get the Iraqis to approve that,” Odierno acknowledged.
“And I think Secretary Gates made a point yesterday that the Iraqis probably wouldn’t let us bring in hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of people back into Iraq for a lot of reasons,” Odierno claimed.
“And so I think we have to now come up with a strategy that works within the political framework that’s been established or the political, I would say, disarray that we have in that region now,” Odierno said. “And we have to really think hard through that.”