I think it's important to outline why the U.S. forces were compelled to leave Iraq. It's been well documented here and elsewhere that we were not leaving on our own accord - the Iraqi's did not want us there any longer:
President Obama’s speech formally declaring that the last 43,000 U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year was designed to mask an unpleasant truth: The troops aren’t being withdrawn because the U.S. wants them out. They’re leaving because the Iraqi government refused to let them stay.
A 2008 security deal between Washington and Baghdad called for all American forces to leave Iraq by the end of the year, but the White House -- anxious about growing Iranian influence and Iraq’s continuing political and security challenges -- publicly and privately tried to sell the Iraqis on a troop extension. As recently as last week, the White House was trying to persuade the Iraqis to allow 2,000-3,000 troops to stay beyond the end of the year.
It became clear, however, that one of the primary reasons why the Iraqis didn't want us around anymore was because of what was leaked.
These talks, however, broke down over the prickly issue of legal immunity for U.S. troops in Iraq, a senior U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the discussions told CNN this month.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other top brass have repeatedly said any deal to keep U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the withdrawal deadline would require a guarantee of legal protection for American soldiers.
But the Iraqis refused to agree to that, opening up the prospect of Americans being tried in Iraqi courts and subjected to Iraqi punishment.
The negotiations were strained following WikiLeaks' release of a diplomatic cable that alleged Iraqi civilians, including children, were killed in a 2006 raid by American troops rather than in an airstrike as the U.S. military initially reported.
You may remember this incident outlined by Wikileaks. From Greenwald this morning:
That description from CNN of the cable’s contents is, unsurprisingly, diluted to the point of obfuscation. That cable was released by WikiLeaks in May, 2011, and, as McClatchy put it at the time, “provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.” The U.S. then lied and claimed the civilians were killed by the airstrike.
As Glennzilla points out, whoever leaked this to Wikileaks is, in large part, responsible for finally getting out asses out of this mess that cost us some $3 freakin' trillion dollars. And yet, this Administration is prosecuting whistleblowers like Bradley Manning who helped with these noble causes of getting the truth out and, consequently, finally getting us out of a war.
So before we continue to pat this Administration on the back for their terrific foreign policy, perhaps we should consider the noble causes of others who've directly contributed and altered our foreign policy for the better (and getting tortured and prosecuted for it by this Administration).