“To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we allow for terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.” – President George W. Bush, July 12, 2007 press briefing.
While reading of the slow build-up of troops in Iraq, I was reminded of how prophetic President George W. Bush was as he was preparing to leave office, warning of the consequences of an early withdrawal from Iraq.
The handwriting was on the wall when Vice President Joe Biden failed to secure a status of forces agreement with Iraq and President Obama pledged to remove all troops from the country. ISIS took control of a major portion of Iraq and captured cities our troops had died for earlier.
Two months ago, with no real strategy, President Obama announced that he would be sending another 1,500 warriors to Iraq to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces to fight ISIS, and ask Congress for another $5.6 billion to fund the fight against ISIS.
Early this month, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said his commanders were considering sending more personnel to Iraqi outposts north of Baghdad in preparation of an effort to retake Mosul.
Last week, Defense Secretary Ash Carter hinted that hundreds of additional troops would be required for the Mosul build-up saying they “would increase greatly as the momentum of the effort increases.” Meanwhile, U.S. air strikes on ISIS banks and warehouses picked-up in recent weeks.
“We’re looking for opportunities to do more,” said Carter. What?! Surely the generals in the Pentagon have advised him that this isn’t how wars are fought and won. We need to unleash the awesome power of the United States military on them and bring those ISIS fighters who are still standing to their knees.
“W” was correct.