A ‘Responsible’ End to the Iraq War?
4:26 PM, Jul 24, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
America’s intelligence apparatus has suffered as well, introducing new blind spots and making it difficult to tell the difference between good rebels and AQI-affiliated ones. The Post reports that intelligence from inside Syria is sparse. A more robust American presence inside Iraq would have helped solve this problem as AQI operated along the Syrian-Iraqi border for years. Such a presence would have made it easier to see the full scope of AQI’s operations in both countries.
Thus, there is a palpable tension between President Obama’s domestic political argument and reality. While President Obama is congratulating himself for the end of America’s combat presence in Iraq, AQI is launching more sophisticated attacks and expanding its reach in nearby Syria. U.S. troops have come home, but that doesn’t mean the president “ended” the war in Iraq, as he likes to argue. The war hasn’t ended for AQI.
In his message this past weekend, al Qaeda’s Abu Bakr al Baghdadi linked the conflict in Syria to AQI’s operations. He praised the Syrian rebels for their “courage” and “patience.”
President Obama had little patience when it came to Iraq. And there are consequences for his impatience.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.