May 30, 2015

THE OBAMA BETRAYAL OF IRAQIS: Mario Loyola has a terrific oped in today’s WSJ explaining the human cost of Obama’s “hands off” policy toward Iraq:

In September 2007, I was in Ramadi for a gathering of Iraqi and American military commanders, politicians and local tribal leaders who had joined forces with the U.S. to defeat al Qaeda in Iraq. Then-Sen. Joseph Biden was there. “These are difficult days,” he told our Iraqi allies. “But as you are proving, you can forge a future for Iraq that is much brighter than its past. If you continue, we will continue to send you our sons and our daughters, to shed their blood with you and for you.”

It was a noble promise, and Iraqis believed it. . . .

In Ramadi I met an Iraqi police lieutenant who was earnestly pro-American, and who kept talking about the need for “honest leadership” in the local police stations. The police lieutenant (I’ll call him Ismail, for his protection) was hopeful, if also wary. He mistrusted some of his fellow police and was afraid that al Qaeda might return if U.S. forces left too soon.. . .

Then came President Obama, and the end of the fragile reconciliation process in Iraq. At the end of 2011, he withdrew all U.S. forces, ignoring the advice of commanders on the ground and the private pleas of senior Iraqi leaders. . . .

President Obama’s 2011 abandonment of Iraq was a betrayal of America’s promises to millions of Iraqi men, women and children. The ISIS victories, and the horrors that follow them, are a direct result of that betrayal. As Ismail said to me: “They shouldn’t leave us like that.” 

Obama’s abrupt abandonment has just bred resentment among Iraqis who were pro-American. We’ve turned our few friends in the region into enemies, and left them to the brutality of ISIS.