In 2011, President Obama failed to make a serious effort to keep residual U.S. forces in Iraq, pulling them all out instead. He used the complete withdrawal for political gain, trumpeting that he had ended the war. And now we are starting to reap the potentially awful consequences of his failure.
On Monday, hundreds of prisoners escaped from Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, many of them senior al Qaeda operatives our troops had risked their lives to capture. A Washington Post piece today suggests the absence of U.S. forces is to blame.
Hundreds of extremists were feared to be on the run in Iraq on Monday after al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the country launched a major assault on the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, offering a fresh boost to the group’s resurgent fortunes in Iraq and in Syria.
But even if the prisoners are recaptured, the scale of the attacks on the heavily guarded facilities reinforced an impression among many Iraqis that their security forces are struggling to cope with a resurgent al-Qaeda since U.S. forces withdrew in 2011, taking with them much of the expertise and technology that had been used to hold extremists at bay.
Obama is a peacenik from way back. That’s his MO. Hey, I’m a peacenik too, it’s just that I recognize the need for U.S. action to prevent and punish attacks against the United States and its interests.
That is, Peace Through Strength.
Obama’s utter aversion to military action is going to cause great harm to this country. And the political gain he surely hoped for from a total end to the Iraq war will be our loss. These escapees will immediately get busy planning attacks on the United States. And George W. Bush’s success in Iraq is being completely undone.
The jailbreak coincided with a relentless wave of bombings blamed on the extremist group that has killed hundreds of civilians in recent months, returning Iraq to levels of violence not seen since the 2007 surge of U.S. troops.
At least 46 Iraqis died over the weekend in bombings that targeted cafes and mosques, bringing to more than 450 the number killed this month. Twelve members of the security forces were killed in an ambush Monday in the northern province of Nineveh.
The gains of the surge are in jeopardy, said Aymenn al-Tamimi, a fellow with the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum who monitors extremist activity in Iraq and Syria.
“This is a significant milestone in the resurgence of al-Qaeda in Iraq,” he said. “A good deal of the progress achieved from 2006 onwards has essentially been undone now.”
This brutal, dangerous world requires U.S. leadership. Seeing none, the vacuum is being filled by our enemies. And they will be coming here to get us.