Letter writer Quinton D. Thompson voices his opinion that the greatest mistake President Obama made in his Mideast policy was to withdraw our troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 ("Surge of al-Qaida in Iraq a result of U.S. policy," Jan. 8).

Mr. Thompson says this was nothing more than a political ploy to enhance the president's chances of being re-elected in 2012.

However, Mr. Thompson conveniently overlooks the "U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement" signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and that all U.S. forces would be completely out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

Commentator Adil E. Shamoo recently advised progressives to "take a deep breath and appreciate President Obama for avoiding the conflicts his opponents in the 2008 and 2012 elections would have blundered straight into, or in the case of Iraq, continued to fight" ("If Obama had never become president, what would U.S. foreign policy look like today?" Jan. 8).

He also says that "if a Republican were president, he would have found a way to keep as many as 30,000 American combat troops in Iraq, making Iraq a violent client state rather than the distant disaster it is today. Troops would continue coming home in coffins, and Iraq would feel the wrath of continued air strikes and raids."

Mr. Thompson feels that President Obama's adherence to the SOFA agreement "eliminated all avenues for the development of a democratic country in the Middle East from which our association with the surrounding countries would have become far more peaceful and productive."

Mr. Thompson might gain a broader perspective after reading Mr. Shamoo's commentary.

David Gosey, Towson

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