The Meaning of al-Qaeda’s Alarming Baghdad Jailbreak

Why Iraq could become Obama's next big foreign policy crisis

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Karim Kadim / AP

Iraqi civilians inspect the aftermath of a car-bomb attack in Baghdad on July 21, 2013

The Middle East has presented Barack Obama with many nasty surprises. But Iraq has not been among them. Since the last U.S. combat troops left 19 months ago, the site of America’s long Bush-era nightmare has held together relatively — repeat: relatively — well. It may not be Disneyland, but Iraq has so far avoided descending back into the savage state of anarchy many people predicted.

Alas, it may be that Iraq is living on borrowed time. One reason why was illustrated on Monday, when al-Qaeda fighters staged a brazen attack on two Iraq prisons, using car bombs, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to free hundreds of inmates — including many of their brothers in arms.

“The number of escaped inmates has reached 500, most of them were convicted senior members of al-Qaeda and had received death sentences,” Hakim al-Zamili, a member of the Iraqi parliament, told Reuters.

The attacks — one of which targeted Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison — illustrate the growing threat to Iraq’s stability posed by al-Qaeda in Iraq, known to U.S. officials as AQI. The group’s fighters, which may number between 2,000 and 3,000, aim to stoke the Sunni-Shi‘ite rivalry that tore Iraq apart in the mid-2000s and has been inflamed by the sectarian civil war in neighboring Syria.

(MORE: Iraq’s Sectarian Violence: Bombings Plunge Country Into Deadly Spiral)

“They’ve got the wind at their backs from the Syrian rebellion,” where Sunni rebels are fighting an Alawite Shi‘ite regime, says Kenneth Katzman, a Congressional Research Service analyst who recently completed a detailed report on Iraq. “Their goal is to destabilize and bring down the Maliki government, and they think igniting sectarian conflict might accomplish that.”

The new concern comes at a time when some close observers of Iraq — including two former senior government officials who focused on Iraq and who recently spoke with TIME — say they’re cautiously optimistic that Iraq’s political actors can work together. Recent tensions between Iraqi Kurds and Arabs have cooled of late, for instance. And one of the officials argued that recent provincial-election defeats for Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition may have chastened a Prime Minister who has ruled with a dangerously heavy hand, infuriating Iraq’s Sunnis by favoring his fellow Shi‘ites.

The growing promise of oil wealth may also be providing an incentive for dueling factions to cooperate, this official says. Iraq plans to boost oil production by nearly one-third over the next year — a boon for the U.S. because Iraq’s oil production counters Iranian crude blocked by sanctions, thereby limiting global price hikes.

But the hopeful talk will die fast if al-Qaeda militants can ignite a vicious new cycle of Sunni-vs.-Shi‘ite violence. “They have been hitting Shia civilians,” says Jessica Lewis, a former army intelligence officer in Iraq now with the Institute for the Study of War. “We’re seeing Shi‘ite militias forming” in response.

(MORE: What Bush Got Right on Iraq — and What Obama Can Learn From It)

Lewis calls Monday’s prison attacks sadly predictable. “Al-Qaeda has been speaking about prison breaks and the release of prisoners as a principal objective since before the American withdrawal,” she says. Abu Ghraib is “the mother prison … where the core of the al-Qaeda network” was held, she adds.

With violence rising, some Iraqi leaders who bade America good riddance in late 2011 are now asking Washington for help. “The Iraqis sort of kicked us out,” says Katzman. “A lot of the [security] programs we hoped to continue, they basically discontinued. Now the Iraqis are getting nervous because of AQI, and they want us back again.”

Could it happen? Last month, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey did suggest that the U.S. consider sending “teams of trainers” to help Iraq fend off what he called a “re-emerging” al-Qaeda threat.

But while it’s possible the U.S. will offer help at the margins, Iraqis shouldn’t expect an American cavalry. Leaving Iraq is one of Barack Obama’s proudest accomplishments, and the President clearly has no desire to undo it — possibly even at the cost of seeing Iraq slip back into chaos.

PHOTOS: Iraq Through Iraqi Eyes

54 comments
Suchindranath
Suchindranath

This was just Iraq. Which has Weapons of Mass Destruction like those of Syria and only as and when convenient to the White House, its poodle and the CIA. All of Islam (i.e. Saudi-Wahabi aka Al Qaeda aka Taliban) is busy freeing their fellow terrorists from the custody of  "Governments".  We had the latest escapade in Dehra Ismail Khan, Pakistan on 29th July where  250 inmates (including 25 "dangerous terrorists", the others, presumably, being not so dangerous terrorists) were enlarged by the Taliban. This was in Pakistan. The home of Islamic (Saudi-Wahabi aka Al Qaeda aka Taliban)Terror. The State that wields the Islamic Bomb (about eighty of them) which, presumably is NOT a Weapon of Mass Destruction and has loyal and faithful sponsors including China and the Anglo-American alliance. 

collioure
collioure

This is the result of the Obama team fouling up the handoff when our troops departed.  We were supposed to leave a force of less than 5,000 soldiers there for emergencies.  However, the Iraqis were unable to work with arrogant Team Obama.

Hence the USA may be losing the Iraq it had won.  At the same time Obama turned his attention to unwinnable Afghanistan without a clue.  1500 more good Americans soldiers wasted by the incompetent community organizer. 

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

AMERICA DOES NOTKNOW HO TO WAGE WAR ANYMORE.........AMERICA WON AGAINST THE FORCES OF SADAM HUSSEIN......AND MARCHED INTO BAGHDAD .....WITHOUT THE BATLLE COLORS FLHYING HIGH......AS IF THEY WERE APOLOGIZING FOR WINNING.......THERE ARE NO WAR COMMANDERS ON THE AMERICAN SIDE ALONG THE CALIVBER OF GEORGE PATTON, DOUGLAS MACARTHUR.......

NOW ....IRAQ.....AFTER ALL THE BLOOD AND MONEY WE EXPENDED.......IS SLIPPING INTO CHAOS......INFLUENCED BY OUR ENEMY....IRAN.....

THIS IS OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRAT'S FAULT NOW.......BUSH SCREWED UP BY SAYING......"AMERICA IS PAYING FOR THE WAR",,,,,,HOW STUPID.......WE MAKE WAR......WE TAKE REPARATIONS......LIKE  OIL....ETC....

VALENTINE, MILITARY HISTORIAN.....COMEDIAN....LOL

Education_for_Peace_in_Iraq
Education_for_Peace_in_Iraq

Iraqis are facing the worst violence since 2007. In recent months, waves of car bombs and other sectarian attacks have killed thousands of innocent civilians in the worst violence. 

More than 3 million Iraqis remain displaced, adding to a regional crisis that includes 5.7 million fleeing Syrians. As the lead country that started the war in Iraq, the U.S. must do more to support peace and humanitarian relief. 

Join us in urging President Barack Obama and Congress to do more to support strong humanitarian action and diplomacy for a more peaceful Iraq.


http://www.change.org/petitions/president-obama-put-iraq-back-on-the-agenda


Be sure to visit our website and facebook page to learn how to help:
http://www.epic-usa.org/
https://www.facebook.com/epicusa

jwarrencollins
jwarrencollins

Noting in the comment section that America still has her normal collection of morons...meaning they just cannot or will not learn, we all know the cause of America's involvement with this fight between religious sects....George W. Bush and anybody who voted for him, and the Supreme Court who appointed that fool. So now, we pay.....and the collection of morons blather whilst America teeters on the precipice of falling into the same trap of a bifurcated society...the religion of America being not sects of Islam, but sects of money. The religion divided by those who have much, and those who have nothing. Again, George Bush and anybody who voted for him. Once die like those are cast, it's difficult to undo until we LEARN. So far, we seem hell bent to stay ignorant. 

MegP
MegP

It's sad - but probably important to notice - that media has made little effort to help Americans have a realistic view of what was done to the people of Iraq. 

Nor are we made aware of the utter destruction of infrastructure such as utilities (that we take for granted).  

As many as 30% babies born in Fallujah are born with birth defects - sometimes these are grotesque. We did that. 

Not one family in the country of Iraq escaped without a story of trauma and loss - we did that.

We also built the biggest 'embassy' in the world - a town size complex - in Iraq. It's protected by contracted non-military (but militaristic) private security.  Our tax dollars are looking after that. Citigroup has opened an office there, I believe.  How nice.

How puzzling - that we'd have the audacity to be 'puzzled' that the nation isn't pleasantly functional as we 'meant' for it to be when we 'saved' it.

I think it's wrong for us to not speak of these harms. Silence causes us to misunderstand what may develop in Iraq, and causes us to assume things about ourselves that need to be examined.

30 min interview with Cathy Breen, who knows Iraq's experience from spending time on the ground, in homes, in refugee camps, etc. ... this is an early 2013 interview, I think.  (TalkingStickTV: http://youtu.be/-xT6Gh1mSPs)

emtbiker
emtbiker

The Sunni oil sheiks of Qatar, Riyadh and the Persian Gulf are the financiers and controllers of the various Wahhabi jihadist sects rife in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and throughout the world. The oil princes of the Persian gulf have sent their "old men of the mountain" assassins to kill all Shia, Americans, Hindus and other kaffirs ever since Mogadishu, the USS Cole and 9-11. Their goal is a one world Sunni Caliphate and eradication of all Shia led nations, like Libya and soon, Iran. America needs cheap oil and use of dollars as petro currency. These Muslim nobles also own much of our national debt. These sheiks manipulate and control the indebted and bribed Western politicians and bureaucrats like President Obama, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. 100% of the military's casualties and 90% of all terror in Africa, India and the rest of the world was committed by the jihadist monsters of the Sunni oil sheiks, yet our Democrats and EU liberals support these sheiks and their private armies like Al Qaeda, the Free Syrian Army and the Muslim Brotherhood. But what do you expect of the Democratic Party, remembering that many of them, like John Kerry. also supported Ho Chi Minh and the killers of American soldiers during the Vietnam War.

twoiron
twoiron

When I read the headline, I was thinking "Who is Obama going to pin the blame on for pulling out of Iraq too soon? What was I thinking? Who else but the guy he has blamed every one of his failed policies and decisions on? George W. Bush.     

Obama is to weak, ineffectual presidents what Bill Clinton was to philanderers.

jimjjanda
jimjjanda

Reading the comments below, it's fascinating to see the lengths to which liberals will stretch things in order to blame the current state of Iraq on Bush. Unbelievable, but so predictable. The guy who has it summed up perfectly, is the one who states: Bush gave Obama Iraq on the one inch line and he still fumbled. Priceless, and absolutely dead-on accurate, regardless of what the Obama sychophants try to say.

allison.aa
allison.aa

What it means is that, like Vietnam, the Afghanistan and Iraq adventures were a waste of time, money and American lives. But since we seem incapable of learning the lessons of history, let's by all means get involved in the Syrian civil war!

cent-fan
cent-fan

"...possibly even at the cost of seeing Iraq slip back into chaos."

Iraq was in chaos because we upset the apple cart.  The apple cart was upright at one time because a strong arm dictator was keeping the Sunni, Shia, Kurd feuds flattened artificially under his thumb... and he didn't let the feuds in other countries spill over into his and he kept the people of Iraq focused on a hatred of Iran.  The lesson in the Middle East seems to be if you want no civil war then make sure if you hang a Sunni you hang a Shia and Kurd right next to them at the same time in the public square.  The populace will either unite against you or they'll unite against "troublemakers" and stone al-Qaeda members in the street.

deegeejay333
deegeejay333

Bush gives Obama the ball on the one inch line and he fumbles. THAT is yet another reason why he should have been vetted - on the job training doesn't work for a world leader. 

roknsteve
roknsteve

Well, now Iraq is a terror state.  Bush's mission is accomplished.  

BobJan
BobJan

@emtbikerif you have a computer you need to use it to validate your statements. Or are you just talking trash. Last time I looked which was 5 minutes ago this is how the debt was divided up. Social Security 27%, Federal Reserve 17%, China 16%, US households 10%, Japan 9%, US State and local governments 5%, Private Pension Funds 5%, United Kingdom 4%, Money Market Mutual Funds 4%, and State local and federal retirement funds 3%. When you add these up it comes to 100%. Nowhere did I see Muslim nobles. And as for the Democrats supporting these oil sheiks, hah. Last time I looked it was the Bush family that was sleeping with the oil sheiks. As far as Ho Chi Minh, he was our friend in WWII. He protected our downed pilots from the Japanese and then after WWII we turned on him because of France and we all know how that turned out. Like I said, if you own a computer try using it for information.

BobJan
BobJan

@twoiron  too soon ????????????????? we should have never been there in the first place. If you want to go help Iraq from invaders, start a fund and people will donate for your plane fare to go help. And if you need ammo and a rifle we'll also donate to that too. you must be one of those people that want everyone else to go do the dirty work while you stay cozy in your little house. Bob, 1st Cav Vietnam, 67/68. you want to go fight over there go ahead. and take all your family and relatives with you and then tell us how it's going. See-ya.

anon76
anon76

@twoiron 

Too f**king soon?!  How long did you want to stay there?

We had no business going in there in the first place, and if anything Obama stayed too long.  S. Hussein was a tyrannical dictator, but unless he attacked us he wasn't our problem.  We should have never gone in, and yes, going in was Bush's decision.

BobJan
BobJan

@jimjjanda  How many tours did you serve over there ???????? No, Bush gave Obama the war 99 & 1/2 yards away from the goal line. It was and is an unwinnable war. You can only win when the other side admits defeat and signs a peace treaty like WWII. Never gonna happen. Bush took us into 2 UNWINNABLE, UNPAID FOR and UNNECESSARY WARS. It's as simple as that. It will always be under Bush, sorry to say.

21stcentury
21stcentury

@jimjjanda 

foolish nonsense and riddled with angry invective --  typical Bush apologist

BobJan
BobJan

@allison.aa  Yup, like I said in some other posts here that Bush and his crew didn't remember the Vietnam debacle. Skinny little Viet Cong with an SKS or AK-47, 20 rounds of ammunition, and a small bag of rice and we couldn't defeat them. Know why, because they were fighting for their freedom. Freedom from US oppression. Now that we're out of there we do business with them. Bob, 1st Cav Vietnam 67/68

twoiron
twoiron

@roknsteve Obama just about has all of the ME on fire now. World War III will be owned by Hussein Obama. 

Having a divided populace (gender, race, class, political), a weak economy, and succeeded in pi55ing off most of our enemies -- this is Obama's "Mission Accomplished."

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

@anon76@twoiron

"We had no business going in there in the first place, and if anything Obama stayed too long."

but we did go in. you can play the "what if we hadn't..." or the "we shouldn't have..." game all day. it doesn't change the fact that we did go in there and, upon doing so, it became our responsibility to try to leave the country stable upon leaving. had obama just immediately pulled everyone out, that would have added to the instability and left even more of a power vacuum than there currently is.  and that would have left things in even worse shape than they are now. you can clearly see that it's not a stable country. the infrastructure and leadership isn't there. by sticking around a bit, obama was trying to prevent the descent into chaos, even if just temporarily.  it's called big-picture thinking. you should try it sometime.


twoiron
twoiron

@anon76 @twoiron Too soon was turning the country over to the leaders who weren't ready to lead. Kind of like letting Obama be president here. 

Any military leader will tell you we turned it over when we did so Obama (and the Democrats) could say he ended it. We never fought it to win it. After the first 12-18 months we fought in Iraq like we fought in Vietnam. (Not to win it.)

MiddleWay
MiddleWay

@DanBruce @deegeejay333 Well, to be fair, Pres Obama's administration did follow the Bush timeline ... even Secretary Clinton noted at the time that the withdrawal was in accordance with an agreement the Bush administration reached with Baghdad (i.e. the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement) ... and his administration did want to leave some troops there (Panetta pushed pretty hard) but they couldn't get Bagdad to agree to continued immunity because they were worried about Iran's influence and a resurgent al qaeda ... so, all in all, I'd say it's at least fair to say Pres Obama fumbled the issue ... it was certainly a common complaint at the time ... though mostly on the right ...


BobJan
BobJan

@twoiron @roknsteve  well, what would it take to set the other half on fire so you'd burn up and blow away ? Enemies ? the middle east will always hate America no matter what. they've been here for thousands of years and we've been here for 250 years. I'd say that we don't count in their book.

BobJan
BobJan

@deegeejay333 @roknsteve  nope, but Bush put them there. LOL. Our Commander In Chief opened the door for them to just walk right in.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@deegeejay333 @roknsteve AQI didn't exist in Iraq until AFTER the invasion. It's existence and power is a direct consequence of the vacuum that Bush's created.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda_in_Iraq

The group was founded in 2003 as a reaction to the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, and first led by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who declared allegiance to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in October 2004. It first operated under the name Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (Arabic: جماعة التوحيد والجهاد‎, "Group ofMonotheism and Jihad"); since 2004 its official name has been Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn("Organization of Jihad's Base in Mesopotamia").[6] Foreign fighters from outside Iraq are widely thought to play a key role in its network.[7]

Your ignorance of recent history is duly noted.

david3
david3

@twoiron @david3

We did dictate the conditions, its called a Status of Forces agreement, something which we have signed with Germany and Japan as well. 

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/122074.pdf

This rhetoric about having to fight "good ol wars" like what we did in WWII needs to stop. The world is a different place and conditions are vastly different. Do you think that if we firebombed Baghdad, similar to how we did Dresden and Tokyo that we could get away with it? Previous Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara, whose research during WWII as a soldier led to more efficient fire bombings stated in a documentary called The Fog of War, "Had the US lost the war [WWII], I would have been tried as a war criminal." The US simply cannot fight total war like we did in WWII.

The US isn't the powerhouse it was during WWII. After WWII we became the hegemon. We are still the hegemon, but we cant pull all the strings like we could immediately after WWII and immediately after the collapse of the iron curtain. We need to use "Smart" power rather than relying solely on "Hard" power. 

I do however blame Obama for a lack of US policy towards Iraq post 2011. He was so obsessed with getting us out of Iraq that he has neglected Iraq for almost 2 years. Since the withdrawal, he has mentioned Iraq twice, and neither of these times he mentioned Iraq did he hint at any sort of coherent policy to help US interests and the Iraqi people. 

twoiron
twoiron

@david3 We should have dictated to the Iraqis the terms under which we would leave and to which they would be subjected until we were ready to leave. You know, kinda like we did in Japan and Germany.    

I don't need to go to Domiz. Thanks to a jobless Obama economic "recovery," we have plenty of needy people right here in my own community. I would rather help them to break the chains of dependency on the federal government than bring more refugees here and hook them up to the welfare state teat. We already have 11 to 20 million "refugees" here (I call them illegal immigrants) that we don't know what to do with. 

david3
david3

Regardless of what your opinion about Obama is, or his motivation behind his actions,  there was a concerted effort to keep the troops in Iraq by the Obama administration. Regardless of the liberals complaining that we shouldn't have been there in the first place; there are now facts on the ground and situations which need to be fixed.

Secondly, we told the Kurds and the Shia what to do. They rose up against Saddam after the first Gulf War and received no support from the US. Instead, they were slaughtered by Saddam.

Its easy to say "shoulda-woulda-coulda" as an armchair quarterback. I encourage you to actually do something besides complain. Why don't you host refugees in your house through the rescue.org?
http://www.rescue.org/

 Why don't you travel to the Domiz camp and help the refugees?

twoiron
twoiron

@david3 @twoiron @anon76 The Iraqis were "negotiating" with a weak and incompetent president with a Liberal'progressive agenda and a 2nd term election to win. With what we "invested" in rescuing the hell hole of a country they were living in under Saddam Hussein, we should have told them what to do, not left it to them.    

Negotiating the terms of peace from a position of weakness is what we did and is either criminal or insane, or both.

david3
david3

@twoiron @anon76 
General Austin, Secretary of Defense Gates, and President Obama offered to keep US troops in Iraq past 2011; the Iraqis refused. Ultimately the Iraqis wanted Americans to be tried in Iraqi courts post 2011; something the US would not agree to. Many Iraqis wanted the US  to stay (
without the above stipulation) and told us so behind closed doors, however, the Sadrists and other extremists (perhaps even Iran) pressured PM Maliki to abide by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed by Bush in 2008. 


Source: I was in Iraq during the 2011 withdrawal and in Iraq in 2008 when the SOFA was signed

twoiron
twoiron

@PaulDirks @twoiron @anon76 Come on Paul. To win is to triumph. To be victorious. To prevail. The public education system and the uber-Liberal universities really squeezed all the sense right of you, eh? 

We triumphed in WW2 over Germany and Japan. They surrendered. Peace broke out, except for where the commies went. People went back to living normal lives. Prosperity prospered. The savages that made the war either died, were imprisoned, or were executed. 

Then Korea and Vietnam happened and America became the benevolent warriors. We got in touch with our feelings and got our heads handed to us. At least in Korea we hung around and S. Korea has become a world economic power. In Vietnam, we lacked the will to fight and win and we ended up running. Millions of innocents suffered for our lack of will to finish what we did not start. The bad guys won and we still haven't gotten our will to win back. 

We spent a fortune in treasure and blood in Iraq to make a better life for those people and then folded our tents and ran so Obama could get re-elected. 

And you want to know what winning is? 

BobJan
BobJan

@twoiron @anon76  A win can only come from the defeated country sitting down and signing a peace treaty. That hasn't happened since WWII and won't ever happen again. So when the next conflict rears it's ugly head we'll expect you to be front and center ready to go.              Bob, 1st Cav. Vietnam 67'68. it's either put up or shut up.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@twoiron @anon76 So what would constitute a 'win'? Annexation? We don't own other countries. The presumption that we do is nothing short of evil. 

BobJan
BobJan

@twoiron @BobJan @roknsteve  Politicians do what their told by the money men. People that donate to a politicians campaign expect to be repaid tenfold+. Back when GHWB was president we flexed our American military might to show we meant business. GW, Cheney and Rumsfeld were playing cowboys. Risking American lives is not the way to win anything. How about GW Bush and Saddam Hussein went into a room, fought it out and the winner take all. I'm not bitter and negative as you so perceive. If you want to go fight the wars that we get into, get all your relatives, your sons and daughters and go do it. I'm right behind you just like the rest of America (99+%) is behind our sons and daughters. They'd rather talk about what a great military and country we are but when it comes down to paying for the war, giving benefits to the service men and women when they come back, well then that's a different story. When it hits them in the pocket book then it all changes. WWII was a concentrated effort on the part of the whole US. They need to show the body bags coming back from the war like they did during Vietnam. Keep the American people apprised that freedom isn't free especially if you're the one not doing the fighting. Bush started two wars and lowered taxes. That's genius. I voted for him both times and I thought at the time that was a terrible decision. But he was surrounded by people that never were in any wars or conflicts including himself. Today we've got a bunch of worthless politicians that serve themselves daily at the ATM machine that the rich have set up for them and they do what their told. The rich have taken over the country and they're going to do whatever it takes to do it their way. We all have that selfish nature of what's good for me is good for everybody. We have peace but our Congress does a good job of keeping the US divided. Theirs a right way and a wrong way and then theirs Congress's way which is always wrong, either side.

BobJan
BobJan

@david3 @BobJan @twoiron @roknsteve you've brought out points that I never knew. I will check that out. By the way, the other day when the new baby came to England the news made a claim that Queen Elizabeth is Monarch over 2 BILLION people. Now that I was unaware of. I didn't think it was that many. Why should people be beholden to any King or Queen? Sounds to me like servitude. I guess that none of us know any facts about anything. 

twoiron
twoiron

@BobJan @twoiron @roknsteve We went into the ME with the same good intentions we had in Vietnam. We also went in with the same lack of a will to do whatever it took to win the war and a clear vision of what winning would look like.   

I blame that -- in both Vietnam and Iraq/Afghan -- on weak-willed politicians in Washington. Most (not all) are Liberals who faint when they see blood. I am telling you nothing you don't know. . 

Why do you say we can't win anything in the ME? What about Operation Desert Storm? We won there with strong military leader (Schwarzkopf), strong political leadership (GHWB), and a "take no prisoners" attitude.   

By your service to our country, you have earned the right to express your your opinion. But does it entitle you to be bitter and negative? 

America and peace are both still worth fighting for. But we must fight to win.

david3
david3

@BobJan @twoiron @roknsteve 
The Middle east didnt always hate us. In fact the middle east admired the US until the end of WWI. Why did they admire us? Because we broke free from the shackles of colonization from the British. The middle east looked at the US as a shining example of how to defeat colonialism and even sought our help. After The American Civil War, many generals from the North and from the South went to Egypt to assist in training the Egyptian army, basically  teaching them how to defeat the British. As a payment, Egypt gave us "Cleopatra's Needle", which is currently in Central Park. 

Point is, the middle east hasn't always hated us nor will they always hate us. A defeatist attitude and the idea that the middle east will always "be this way" is the only thing stopping us from implementing good policy in the ME. 

BobJan
BobJan

@twoiron @BobJan @roknsteve  uh, excuse me. when I was in Vietnam I gave it my all. my bronze star w/V and air medal w/V weren't given to me for sitting on my ass. but when I went to DC and saw the 58,000+ names on the wall and see my brothers today with disabilities; first, we want to win the war, our leadership has to go in with the thought of winning and there's no way anyone can go in to the middle east and win anything. that was the 1st mistake. and winning the war means someone has to surrender and no one's going to surrender to a bunch of know it all politicians in Washington. you don't have a clue. so my question to you is, how many tours did you do in Iraq or Afghanistan???????

twoiron
twoiron

@BobJan @twoiron @roknsteve With an attitude like yours, we'd have never won WW2 or WW1 for that matter. You have to win the war to win the peace.     

Your bitterness and defeatism diminishes you and the military service you did for our country. And I mean no disrespect, that's just what your comments reflect. You're not the first and you won't be the last to sacrifice for our country. America's worth fighting for even if you and Obama don't think it is.

BobJan
BobJan

@deegeejay333@BobJan@roknsteve "wrong idiot", you must have been taught during the "no child left behind" act. only they forgot about you and left you behind. as for your interpretation of Saddam and Ansar, read below.

In the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration claimed that Ansar al-Islam had links with Saddam Hussein, attempting to establish a link between Hussein and al-Qaeda.

The Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq concluded that Saddam "was aware of Ansar al-Islam and al-Qaeda presence in northeastern Iraq, but the groups' presence was considered a threat to the regime and the Iraqi government attempted intelligence collection operations against them. The DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency] stated that information from senior Ansar al-Islam detainees revealed that the group viewed Saddam's regime as apostate, and denied any relationship with it."[16] The leader of Ansar al-Islam, Mullah Krekar, has also called Saddam Hussein his sworn enemy.[17]

Furthermore, in a "Special Analysis" report dated July 31, 2002, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded the following regarding alleged connections between Saddam's regime and Ansar al-Islam:

"Should regime support to Ansar al-Islam be proven, this will not necessarily implicate the regime in supporting al-Qaeda. Ansar al-Islam is an independent organization that receives assistance from al-Qaeda, but is not a branch of the group. The Iraqi regime seeks to influence and manipulate political events in the Kurdish-controlled north and probably has some type of assets in contact with Ansar al-Islam, either through liaison or through penetration by an intelligence asset."[18]

However, in February 2003, then United States Secretary of State Colin Powell told the United Nations Security Council, "Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical organization, Ansar al-Islam, that controls this corner of Iraq. In 2000 this agent offered Al Qaida safe haven in the region. After we swept Al Qaida from Afghanistan, some of its members accepted this safe haven."[19] The general consensus of experts, as well as the conclusion of the intelligence community and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is that Saddam was infiltrating the group but that the two parties remained hostile to each other and did not establish a collaborative relationship.

Colin Powell has since acknowledged that his speech presented no hard evidence of collaboration between Saddam and al-Qaeda; he told reporters at a State Department press conference that "I have not seen smoking gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I do believe the connections existed."[20] However, after Powell left office, he acknowledged that he was skeptical of the evidence presented to him for the speech. He told Barbara Walters in an interview that he considered the speech a "blot" on his record and that he feels "terrible" about assertions that he made in the speech that turned out to be false. He said, "There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at that time that some of these sources were not good, and shouldn't be relied upon, and they didn't speak up. That devastated me." When asked specifically about a Saddam/al-Qaeda connection, Powell responded, "I have never seen a connection. … I can't think otherwise because I'd never seen evidence to suggest there was one