- - Sunday, August 11, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I must be mistaken. I was told that al Qaeda was basically wiped out; for all intents and purposes it was dead.

Nope, that was Detroit.

Al Qaeda is very much alive as evidenced by the closing of embassies and consulates throughout the Middle East and Islamic world.

Wait, I must be confused again. The election of Barack Obama promised to usher in a new age of love from the Muslim sphere.

Nope, somehow the words “love” got mixed up with “revulsion.”

The drone attacks in Yemen signal a possible ramp up in the “kinetic action” against al Qaeda.

Hold on now. The administration promised no more war and pledged to try to withdraw all the military from areas of conflict. Oh, I see. Because drones are robots piloted from simulators in Utah, they’re OK and not actual boots-on-the-ground.

The hard reality is this: the current al Qaeda in the Middle East has arisen like a phoenix from the ashes of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). It has helped plunge Iraq back into a civil war, is fighting against the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, operating in Libya, and training in Yemen.

The Arab Spring gave al Qaeda the perfect opportunity to move into the chaos that ensued. We absconded the field and hung any allies out to dry. We still have troops scattered throughout the Middle East, but none are in a position to start fighting a hot war in a faraway nation (except Afghanistan that is).

Yes, the Bush administration is responsible for creating AQI by invading Iraq. Just like the U.S. helped create what would become the Taliban during the Afghan war against the Soviets.

Whether or not you believe we should have ever been in Iraq in the first place, there is a strong argument that history should have taught us better than to leave a mess behind. Without our troops to continue to harass and kill AQI, Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki was unable to smother the embers.

I am on record as calling for the withdrawal of troops: from Afghanistan to Iraq to Japan. Let other countries be responsible policing themselves, carry out their own revolutions, and only risk lives and treasure in retaliation, not nation building. However, even I must admit that it is better to err on the side of stationing some forces to ensure terrorists can be eliminated rather than suffer greater consequences and casualties later.

But our commander in chief does not agree. He has made promise after promise throughout the Islamic world and kept none. The result is that Mr. Obama is more hated than George W. Bush, and America’s reputation has only declined.

Like Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama has excelled in killing and throwing resources at foiling terrorists. And like his predecessor, Mr. Obama has failed miserably in addressing grievances and reducing motivations for potential radicals to join outfits like al Qaeda.

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