Did President Obama usher in Iraq’s current crisis when he withdrew all U.S. forces and shattered the stability achieved by former president George W. Bush’s “surge”? Foreign policy hawks have vigorously promoted that narrative, but their account does not withstand scrutiny. For one thing, it is now abundantly clear the Iraqi government was not “stable or self-reliant” at the end of 2011. Further, U.S. boots on the ground would not have made it so. Before the troops came home, Americans watched for eight years as the United States failed to resolve Iraq’s internal conflicts. Keeping soldiers there beyond 2011 would not have halted the political hemorrhaging.