Iraq Revisited: Where Are the War Protesters Now?
The US entered World War I under Democrat Woodrow Wilson, World War II under Democrat FD Roosevelt, Korea under Democrat Harry Truman, Vietnam under Democrat LB Johnson, Operation Desert Storm under GHW Bush, Kosovo and Somalia under Democrat Bill Clinton, and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, GW Bush. Since then, under Democrat Barack Obama our troops have seen combat operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali, and Yemen.
No matter what one’s opinion on the Iraq war may be, for those who were against it, or for those who believe it was the right thing to do, we have to wonder where are the hypocrites now, when Obama has put more boots in more nations than Bush ever did?
At the height of the war in Iraq, the greatest loss of American lives was in 2004, with 904 American casualties. Contrast that with Afghanistan’s numbers, where there were 575 American troop deaths under Bush. Under Obama however, who supported an ‘Afghan-led reconciliation’, over 2000 US troops have died, including over 50 Special Operations Forces members.
For a man who ran on a platform in two presidential elections largely based on antiwar sentiments, and who won a Nobel Peace prize before even taking office, Obama seems to be one of the biggest war hawks of them all, and this isn’t even mentioning his hyper use of drones.
Obama has also spiked up the use of our Special Operations forces, secretly deployed them to over 75 countries, and extended “secret wars” to Somalia, Algeria, Nigeria, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Yemen and other places. Back in 2010, he even issued an executive order granting waivers of the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen, so as to continue providing them with all forms of military assistance, which prompted letters of protest from Human Rights organizations. He again waived it in 2011 and 2012, making the law null and void.
Now let’s get back to Iraq.
On February 27, 2009 at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Obama said the U.S. combat mission in Iraq would end in August 2010 and he would withdraw all U.S. troops by December 2011. On October 21, 2011 Obama announced plans to withdraw remaining troops from Iraq by year’s end, after the failure of negotiations with Iraq to keep thousands of U.S. troops on as trainers. He proclaimed to the world, “Today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over… The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their head held high, proud of their service.”
At a Convention of the Disabled American Veterans, Atlanta, August 2, 2010 Obama said, “As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end. Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made clear that by August 31, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing — as promised and on schedule.”
Back in October 2011, the Telegraph reported “Though some Iraqi politicians favored such a deal, Iranian-backed Sadrists strongly opposed any prolonged American troop presence while Shiite militiamen threatened attacks on any American forces that remained past the deadline. The president has been criticized for failing to use sufficient diplomatic muscle with the Iraqis, and his announcement will raise fears that after spending hundreds of billions of dollars and losing 4,483 American lives, the US will before long yield influence in Iraq to Tehran’s terror-sponsoring regime.”
Now, since Obama proclaimed that Al Qaida is on the run, decimated, and on the path to defeat, we have seen their black flags in Syria, Egypt, Sinai and Lebanon, and the flag has been unfurled in Iraq as Al Qaida has reportedly taken the city of Fallujah.
Last August I wrote about Al Qaida and other insurgent groups fighting in Syria, and of Iraqi Sunnis who were fighting with the ‘rebels’ against Abbas in Syria.
The war in Syria had caused sympathy among Sunni areas in Iraq and Al-Qaida influence was strong in some of those areas. Iraqi government forces had clashes with smugglers and insurgents sending fighters and weapons into Syria. “The religious legitimacy of the Syria war and the increase of funding and fighters almost unquestionably benefits Al Qaeda in Iraq,” said Seth Jones, a counter-terrorism expert at Washington’s RAND Corporation.
At the start of last year’s Ramadan at the end of July, Iraqi Al Qaida’s local chieftain, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced a renewed jihad to recapture areas lost in Iraq during the years of conflict with American forces. He also warned Americans, “The war has only just started.”
It looks as though the renewed jihad waged has been successful as now Sunni tribal leaders are ignoring the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s appeals to help him battle this insurgency. Sunni Jihadists have escalated attacks in Baghdad, Kirkuk and Mosul in the north.
On January 21st, it was reported that Al Qaida forces hold much of the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi and Maliki’s Iraqi army can’t get a handle on getting the cities under control. According to UPI, the jihadist takeover of Fallujah and Ramadi marked the first time that militants have taken control of major cities since the insurgency that followed the 2003 US Invasion of Iraq, and that Al Qaida remains well entrenched and controls most of Fallujah in spite of efforts by Maliki’s forces to drive some of the insurgents out.
Watching the situations in the Middle East, I’ve been warning that the so-called civil war in Syria would spill over, and with Obama’s meddling in the Middle East and Muslim African nations, arming groups who include Al Qaida and other terrorists, that this would heat up into larger war, a Sunni vs. Shia war as the Sunnis try and establish a Middle East/African caliphate. Diplomats and foreign leaders, including Obama and UN chief Ban Ki-moon, have been urging Maliki who is a Shia, to work more with Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority and pursue political reconciliation; meanwhile the UN warned that the continued unrest in Anbar province had sparked Iraq’s worst displacement since sectarian violence from 2006 to 2008, with some reports from the UN refugee agency saying that more than 140,000 people have been forced from their homes in Fallujah and Ramadi since December and last year 8,868 Iraqis were killed in a series of attacks and suicide bombings.
Stars and Stripes reported on January 20th that NATO’s former top military commander James Stavridis has also warned that the widening sectarian conflict in Syria and Iraq could engulf a broader region in the Middle East, saying that that although Syria and Iraq are the main players of the conflict right now, Lebanon and other nearby nations could easily be drawn into a war. “I worry deeply about the potential for this Sunni-Shia conflict to widen into a truly regional war.”
According to Stars and Stripes, it was reported “that Iraqi government forces and allied tribal militias had launched an offensive to push Al Qaida militants from parts of Ramadi. But the center of Fallujah — where nearly 100 U.S. Marines were killed and hundreds wounded in a battle 10 years ago — remains in jihadist hands.”
Speaking now of our troops, Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children came out with a thoughtful article which highlights opinions on the inability by Maliki to regain control of Fallujah by a couple of Veterans who fought there. When asked about a quote about the fighting in Fallujah, Cpl. Jeremy Rawls, a Marine Veteran replied,” I am not too happy about the situation.” He then recalled the reason for the first battle of Fallujah, “I remember the photos of the contractors hung on the bridge, burned, and beaten. I saw a video back then of what they did, we all did. They were animals.”
Another veteran from the 82nd Airborne who was in Fallujah was asked if he thought the Iraqi police have the ability to take back the city, “It is my opinion that the Iraqis themselves will never be able to bring security to their land. Their police force and army are weak and corrupt. The good people caught in this mess are sheep thrown to the wolves.”
Not everyone agrees with going into Iraq in the first place, but now the question remains, what will Obama do about what’s happening there now? Will he commit more of our already over extended military for another war?
According to the Army Times, Jordan has received a U.S. request to host U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and they are ready to receive U.S. training of Iraqi soldiers. The article also states that last week the Pentagon announced that it will soon deliver to Iraq another installment of small arms and ammunition requested by Baghdad as it battles the militants for control of the city of Fallujah and Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar. However, Army Col. Steve Warren declined to say whether Washington is considering using U.S. troops to train Iraqi forces.
Secretary of State John Kerry has gone on record saying that “the militants are trying to destabilize the region and undermine a democratic process in Iraq, and that the U.S. is in contact with tribal leaders in Anbar province who are standing up to the terrorists… This is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis. That is exactly what the president and the world decided some time ago when we left Iraq, so we are not obviously contemplating returning.”
Yet according to an article in the Navy Times, the Pentagon is reportedly keeping all options on the table.
America’s mission in Iraq officially ended in December, 2011, but it seems now that the violent terrorist groups merely went into other regions, were armed by our own government, regrouped and trained elsewhere and bided their time until the time was right. As the end of Afghanistan remains vague, there has been enough talk about the drawdown of our involvement and one can’t help but wonder if that once our troops come home, the same thing happen. I think many of us know the answer already. Back in November, I wrote about Obama’s Middle East ‘incompetence’ and wondered aloud whether his incredible negligence in the past four years of the Arab Spring, is truly incompetency, or intentional. I believe many of us know the answer to that as well.