There is very bad news in Iraq, and with the right policies, it was avoidable. Dozens are dead due to a series of bombings across the country. And the culprit is our once-suppressed enemy, al Qaeda in Iraq.
Since President Obama decided to remove all of our troops from Iraq in December, violence in the country has escalated. This is exactly why his commanders told him that he needed to leave a residual number of U.S. forces in the country to assist the highly – but not yet completely – capable Iraqi military and police.
The only reason I can think of that Obama ignored his generals’ advice was to create a campaign slogan under the banner of “promises kept” – that Obama ended the Iraq war by the close of 2011.
And Obama just doesn’t understand the need for such military commitments.
We left troops in Germany after World War II and in South Korea after the Korean War. The results have been superb.
Iraq is of critical strategic importance, perfectly situated to help us counter the influence of our enemy in the region, Iran. We spilled and spent much blood and treasure securing the country. We needed to safeguard our victory with a contingent of about 15,000-20,000 troops that could have been reduced as Iraqi forces continued to come up to speed.
A terrorist organization in Iraq devoted to our destruction is now on the ascendancy. From today’s Washington Post:
“I would classify what we are seeing as a resurgent al-Qaeda,” said one American official in an interview this month. Speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject, he said the organization is “tremendously resilient, and I don’t see their ideology going away any time soon.”
“You have to put pressure on al-Qaeda by decapitating them over and over again,” the official added.
When American troops departed Iraq at the end of last year, they left behind security forces that had improved rapidly in recent years but still lacked vital intelligence-gathering capacity and the forensic training needed to investigate and prevent attacks.
Obama’s negligent policy, likely designed at least in part to boost his campaign, has revived an enemy who will eventually be targeting us here at home and who may yet force us to intervene in the region again.