As we begin the new year, we are greeted by the news that, after a three-day battle, Al Qaeda-affiliated militants (remember them, the people we have had “on the run” for the past two years?) have captured the western Iraq city of Fallujah, and raised their flag over government buildings that were previously secured by American forces before their hasty withdrawal two years later. Along with the nearby provincial capital Ramadi, which was also captured by Al-Qaeda last week, Fallujah was a stronghold of Sunni insurgents during the U. S. – led war to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
On New Year’s Eve, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial outlining what they called the “global disorder scorecard” of all the world’s conflicts–from Ukraine to China to Thailand to South Sudan to Syria to Egypt to Iran, which basically painted a picture of America in retreat everywhere. Strangely, last week’s debacle in Iraq was not mentioned, so add it to the list.
Of all the foreign policy blunders of this administration, the premature withdrawal from Iraq is the most shameful of all to date (it might possibly be trumped by a final nuclear deal with Iran) because it represented a complete abdication of our responsibility to validate the victory in Iraq that Obama inherited. And he did it for purely political reasons notwithstanding the American lives and treasure that were the price of that victory.