State Dept Memo Proves George W. Bush Was Right After All

12:55PM 11/20/2015
A recent release by the State Department may serve as one of the most damning indictments of Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw American troops from Iraq in 2011. Why, because of what this release has admitted about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Daesh. For the sake of this article, I’ll just use ISIS. The release, which is announcing a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture (or death) of a senior member of ISIS, says, “Senior ISIL Border Chief Abu-Muhammad al-Shimali has been associated with ISIL, formerly known as al-Qaida in Iraq, since 2005.”

If you remember the Iraq war, you’d remember that American troops faced off against al-Qaeda in Iraq. Places like Ramadi, Fallujah, and Anbar – battles where American troops gave all – were fought to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq, and its successor, the Islamic State of Iraq. In 2010, with an 18 April raid that took out two of that group’s bigwigs, they were on the ropes. Until the 2011 withdrawal, that is.

Since that 2011 withdrawal, ISIS re-gained its strength – and began fighting in the Syrian Civil War. It became strong enough to survive al-Qaeda, its original sponsor, cutting all ties with the group in February 2014. The group now has at least 53,000 members, and some estimates indicate their military force could be as high as 258,000. To put that latter number in perspective, the United States invaded Iraq with 192,000 troops in 2003.

Let’s go back to that State Department release. Later on, it says, “The battlefields in Iraq and Syria provide foreign terrorist fighters with combat experience, weapons and explosives training, and access to terrorist networks that may be planning attacks that target the West.”

Does that sound familiar? Let’s look at some quotes from the 2007 State of the Union Address by President George W. Bush about the consequences of withdrawing too soon:

“We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country — and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.

“For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is the greatest ally — their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America.”

ISIS has control of large chunks of Iraq and Syria, where they are training jihadis – and the State Department’s own press release notes that those jihadis are getting combat experience and access to terror networks. Those experience jihadis could lead home-grown Islamic radicals in carrying out an attack. Keep in mind that some of the Paris attackers appear at this writing to have been homegrown radicals.