Wesley Clark defends Obama on Iraq pullout

“It’s an easy charge to make but a false charge,” he said of the drawdown criticism. “This is the decision made by a sovereign nation.”

Clark went on the offensive against the GOP candidates on Iraq and a number of other foreign policy topics as a pre-emptive strike before Tuesday’s GOP debate. Without naming candidates in his prepared remarks, Clark attacked one for saying that the U.S. had lost the war and another for his criticism of timetables.

The chief point of contention over the decision to withdraw troops from Iraq is the country’s refusal to give U.S. soldiers immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts. The president and top military advisers have said that once Iraq decided it would not grant soldiers immunity, the U.S. had no choice but to pull its soldiers out of the country.

At a Senate hearing with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, however, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's plan to claw back spending hits wall in Congress Defense bill moves forward with lawmakers thinking about McCain How House Republicans scrambled the Russia probe MORE (R-Ariz.) said that Bush administration negotiators had intended for the agreement that kept soldiers in Iraq to be extended beyond 2011.

Clark said the latest negotiators with Iraq were “very effective diplomats,” not partisan ones. “We do have a plan to have other forces in the region and to maintain our U.S. military presence there even if we’re not on ground with those forces in Iraq,” Clark said. “I think this is a case where it’s an opportunistic target for criticism from the outside, from those who weren’t involved in trying to implement it.”