The whole Iraq war may be considered the greatest mistake in US foreign policy ever in my opinion. From the lying and deceit to mark our illegitimate entrance into the conflict to the lack of any plan to win or withdraw without anything resembling dignity or respect is a disaster. We tried to force democracy on a people who clearly do not want it. We tried to put a McDonalds and Starbucks (so to speak) on every corner for a people who clearly did not care for it or want it. We missed all the signs apparently and did not care what happened after we left. We lost over 5,000 US service members there.. We paid over 4 Trillion to conduct a war brought to you on lies. We have 22 Suicides a day from soldiers returning home… Over 500,000 Iraqi citizens have died. No one seems to care. Very very sad state of being an American these days.
ERBIL, Iraq — When Islamic militants rampaged through the Iraqi city of Mosul last week, robbing banks of hundreds of millions of dollars, opening the gates of prisons and burning army vehicles, some residents greeted them as if they were liberators and threw rocks at retreating Iraqi soldiers.
It took only two days, though, for the fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to issue edicts laying out the harsh terms of Islamic law under which they would govern, and singling out some police officers and government workers for summary execution.
With just a few thousand fighters, the group’s lightning sweep into Mosul and farther south appeared to catch many Iraqi and American officials by surprise. But the gains were actually the realization of a yearslong strategy of state-building that the group itself promoted publicly.
“What we see in Iraq today is in many ways a culmination of what the I.S.I. has been trying to accomplish since its founding in 2006,” said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New America Foundation, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq, the predecessor of ISIS.
I posted this since it is clearly very alarming but mainly for the very cool map I found.
So this is what a “responsible withdrawal” from Iraq looks like?
Mosul overrun by terrorists more virulently dangerous than al Qaeda. Iraqi security forces throwing off their uniforms and fleeing, leaving all their high-end hardware — paid for by the American taxpayer — in the hands of our enemies. Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces streaming into Najaf and Karbala to protect Shiite Muslim holy sites. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki still incapable of building cross-sectarian cooperation even when ISIS is 60 miles outside of Baghdad. Kurdish paramilitary forces stepping in to protect only Kurdish areas, setting the boundaries for a secession bid. Militias forming to protect communities where the state has failed. Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issuing a call to arms. Jihadists are about to achieve control of a country, a sanctuary in which to train more jihadists and to plot attacks against the “far enemy.” That would be us. The narrative of jihad will cement into a Sunni-Shiite conflict instead of a struggle by moderates of all faiths against barbaric violence in the name of religion, creating the circumstances for the next round of warfare in the Middle East.
Soon, either Iraq will be the caliphate Osama bin Laden yearned for, or the Iraqi government will be beholden to Iran for preserving it. Iran will have achieved a stunning victory: dramatically expanding and consolidating its regional influence while getting us to ignore its domestic repression and lethal influence in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq in hopes of a nuclear weapons deal. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei must be thrilled: so little invested, so much achieved.