The GOP cannot escape responsibility for the Bush Administration’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq in 2003, displace Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and destroy their national army. But the fact the original sin was committed by George W. Bush does not absolve responsibility of the Obama Administration for turning its back on Iraq.
I was on the last combat convoy out of Iraq in 2011 and have a vivid memory of hundreds of Iraqi civilians climbing over the fence of the abandoned U.S. base to steal the vehicles we were leaving behind and pilfer the buildings. And I remember asking where in the world the Iraqi Army was? All that equipment was being stolen by individuals. It wasn’t going to strengthen the government’s hand.
That toxic memory came back to me today with the double whammy bad news that ISIS now controls the Iraqi city of Ramadi in Anbar Province…(I was there in 2004 and 2005 when our GI’s were fighting and dying there)… and now ISIS has just captured the historic Syrian Desert city of Palmyra. The UNESCO world heritage site is famous for its 2,000-year-old artifacts, which the savages will undoubtedly now destroy.
It is past time for our president to tell the American people and the world that he made a mistake in 2011 in leaving Iraq prematurely. It is past time for Mr. Obama to admit that the Arab Spring was another terrible miscalculation; And it is past time that with the consent of Congress we ramp up our air strikes; beef up the number of boots on the ground; and crush this force before it inspires would be Jihadists around the world including in the United States from waging holy war against the West.
What is happening in Iraq, Syria and North Africa will not stay over there. We will see more refugees swarming into Europe, more terrorists unleashed, oil supplies disrupted, Israel and the Suez Canal threatened.
If Democrats balk at this crucial escalation in Iraq and Syria, I think the American people will hold them accountable for dereliction of duty.