I want to start by mentioning something that has been mentioned at this symposium in the past. Keeping the peace is always harder than winning the war. The situation in Iraq is a classic example. It’s been a long and hard effort to keep the peace there after we deposed Saddam Hussein, and I think it’s going to become increasingly difficult to keep the peace particularly as we scale back our presence there.
I think Iraq runs a real risk of descending into chaos. You have a country that has many factions, and a lot of those factions don’t get along. Let’s not underestimate the power and the potential threat of ISIL. These are ruthless terrorists, and they’re getting better organized. More importantly, they’re well-funded. This has all been playing out in Syria for the most part of the last year and a half; we know what ISIS is capable of. During this time, there has been a growing influence of ISIL in Iraq. Obama even sent special ops to help deal with this threat, but it appears that ISIL is in control of a large portion of Iraq. ISIL appears to be gaining ground, and it appears we ceded the area they have under control to them. This isn’t good, and we haven’t done much about it. Mr. Obama doesn’t have the courage to re-engage in Iraq. He’d rather let the terrorists take over than have to fight them. ISIL wants Iraq to be a caliphate, and that may well happen if Mr. Obama just sits on his hands.
But as long as we have some sort of presence in Iraq, I think the situation remains manageable. We still have the best trained and most sophisticated military in the world. The scary part is that we trained the Iraqi security force. What happens when the rank and file from the Iraqi security forces align themselves with ISIL? These will be people that we trained, using knowledge we taught them against us. That’s when the situation could deteriorate rapidly. Or, if they give up the fight in Syria and concentrate efforts in Iraq, the situation would change dramatically.
Isn’t it interesting that no one in the media is talking about this? It’s almost as if it’s taboo to even mention Iraq or Afghanistan. Of course, if they talk about it, they have to mention that we still have a lot of troops in both countries. More importantly, if the media talks about this, they might have to mention that the decision to withdraw from both countries has truly destabilized both countries—just as Mr. Obama was warned would happen. Then again, if the media doesn’t mention anything about Iraq or Afghanistan, they help perpetuate the false image of Mr. Obama being a peace-time president. We’re still engaged in a global war on terror whether Mr. Obama or the liberals want to admit it.
Ultimately, I think Iraq is going to end up being run by a dictator again. We put Saddam Hussein in power. We’re going to put someone like him in power, either intentionally or unintentionally, and the country is going to once again be ruled by a tyrant with access to tremendous oil wealth. We’ll get run out of the country like we were run out of Iran, and all our efforts will have been for naught.