As Condoleezza Rice notes, “when the Bush administration signed the agreement, it was understood by both the U.S. and Iraqi governments that there would be follow-up negotiations aimed at extending the deadline — a step that would be in both the U.S. and Iraqi interest.”
Perhaps it really was impossible to reach an agreement on any extension, although I’m skeptical of that argument. But don’t cast the blame on Bush who’s been out of office for almost three years. The failure to renew the troop-basing agreement occurred on Obama’s watch and he will get the blame if Iraq falls apart (as well as the credit if it does not).If the Bush Administration really thought the United States should stay in Iraq past 2011, one thing it might've done is negotiate a SOFA with a later deadline. It didn't. Once it put that deadline in place, the exiting of U.S. troops was always a possibility. Especially given that Iraq has a supposedly sovereign government that has increasingly itched to demonstrate its independence from the occupiers. Boot keeps acting as though the United States could've kept troops longer in Iraq if only Obama wanted it hard enough, but the legal and political boundaries—and I'm talking about the politics in both Iraq and the United States—are trickier than he suggests.
But I'm not sure why I bother to argue against Boot. He's fairly predictable at this point: Always for more, bigger, and longer war, and always dead-set on portraying the Obama Administration as weak and spineless.