- Obama to Central American leaders: I need help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
President Obama ignored general’s pleas to keep American military forces in Iraq
Ex-commander blames U.S. pullout for extremists’ advances
Question of the Day
The last American commander in Iraq recommended to the Obama administration that 23,000 U.S. troops remain to cement the victory, but no deal was ever reached with Baghdad, and all combat forces went home.
That stalemate has come back to haunt the country as al Qaeda-linked extremists, who had been defeated by 2011, have returned to Iraq in a terrorist campaign to capture huge swaths of territory in northern and western areas.
The extremists, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS, for Syria), are threatening Baghdad and could be on the verge of creating an enormous terrorist state that menaces the world.
Retired ArmyGen. John M. Keane, who advised commanders in Iraq and helped devise the 2007 troop surge, remembers how the U.S. achieved victory by working hand in hand with Iraq’s military to conduct pinpoint strikes. The effort was so effective that the enemy, al Qaeda in Iraq, stopped sending killers into Iraq because they would be exterminated quickly.
The exit was completed too soon, Gen. Keane said.
“As we pulled out of Iraq in 2011, just think of this: We had all our intelligence capability there. We knew where the enemy was. We were flying drones. We’re tracking them. We have signals intelligence pouring in, eavesdropping on phone conversations and the rest of it. We’re using our counterterrorism forces to bang against these guys. We’re passing that information to the Iraqis so their commandos can do the same,” the general said.
After several years of reduced violence in Iraq, the Americans left.
“On a given day in 2011, that screen went blank. The Iraqis went from a significant amount of intelligence on what was taking place, and the screen just went blank,” Gen. Keane said.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s best troops, his special operations units, are not yet in the fight in the north. Meanwhile, his strategy in the western town of Fallujah is to lay siege and unleash missile strikes to try to dismantle the radical Islamists amid the rubble.
Baghdad’s precarious state can be traced to what was done, then what was not, concerning a status of forces agreement with Washington.
In 2008, President Bush and Mr. al-Maliki signed a status of forces agreement that said all U.S. troops would leave by December 2011.
Supporters of the current administration say President Obama merely executed in 2011 what Mr. Bush signed in 2008.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- State Department indicates Nouri al-Maliki's days numbered as Iraq prime minister
- Marine Corps whistleblower lands new Pentagon position
- Elusive target: U.S. believed Iraq terror mastermind al-Baghdadi killed 3 times
- Air Force command nominee is 1st woman, non-pilot
- Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi formerly a U.S. captive
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq