In 2011, the situation in Iraq was so good that the Obama administration was actually trying to take credit for it, with Vice President Joe Biden declaring that Iraq “could be one of the great achievements of this administration.”
Now in 2014, as Iraq descends into chaos, Democrats are trying to blame the fiasco on — you guessed it — George W. Bush. “I don’t think this is our responsibility,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, declaring that the unfolding disaster in Iraq “represents the failed policies that took us down this path 10 years ago.”
Sorry, but this is a mess of President Obama’s making.
When Obama took office he inherited a pacified Iraq, where the terrorists had been defeated both militarily and ideologically.
Militarily, thanks to Bush’s surge, coupled with the Sunni Awakening, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI, now the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS) was driven from the strongholds it had established in Anbar and other Iraqi provinces. It controlled no major territory, and its top leader — Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — had been killed by U.S. Special Operations forces.
Ideologically, the terrorists had suffered a popular rejection. Iraq was supposed to be a place where al-Qaeda rallied the Sunni masses to drive America out, but instead, the Sunnis joined with Americans to drive al-Qaeda out — a massive ideological defeat.
Obama took that inheritance and squandered it, with two catastrophic mistakes:
First, he withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq — allowing the defeated terrorists to regroup and reconstitute themselves.
Second, he failed to support the moderate, pro-Western opposition in neighboring Syria — creating room for ISIS to fill the security vacuum. ISIS took over large swaths of Syrian territory, established a safe haven, used it to recruit and train thousands of jihadists, and prepared their current offensive in Iraq.
The result: When Obama took office, the terrorists had been driven from their safe havens; now they are on threatening to take control of a nation. Iraq is on the cusp of turning into what Afghanistan was in the 1990s — a safe haven from which to plan attacks on America and its allies.
It did not have to be this way.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
This President Could Screw Up Boiling Water
From the Washington Post, hardly a conservative mouthpiece: