The chaos that is unfolding in Iraq is being portrayed in the media as an unexpected development. It certainly is an unnecessary fate for a country that had, until recently, a chance of survival. Yet it is not only the predictable, but in fact the desirable, outcome in Iraq for Democrats, who in 2006 were pushing for as quick a withdrawal from Iraq as possible–never mind the foreseeable consequences, including genocide and a terrorist takeover.
“I believe it is in the interest of both Americans and Iraqis to begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 2006,” then-Senator Barack Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope, his second memoir. Although the speed of a withdrawal might be a matter of “imperfect judgment,” he said, it was necessary to pull out because the invasion of Iraq had been a “failure of conception” from the start–never mind the future consequences.
The following year, Sen. Obama introduced the “Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007,” which was intended as an alternative to President George W. Bush’s surge. It called for troop withdrawals to begin “not later than May 1, 2007” and for “the complete redeployment of all United States combat brigades from Iraq by March 31, 2008.” Sen. Obama’s bill noted that consultation with the Iraqi government should only be done “if practicable.”
Sen. Hillary Clinton, supposedly the more experienced and responsible of the two Democrat rivals on foreign policy, had similar ideas. “Now it’s time to say the redeployment should start in 90 days or the Congress will revoke authorization for this war,” she said in mid-February 2007, meaning that she wanted troops to start leaving Iraq two weeks earlier than Obama did. She gave little thought to what that would mean in reality.
And that supposed foreign policy expert, Sen. Joe Biden, was rallying fellow Democrats to support a partition of Iraq into separate sectarian states. Biden’s non-binding Senate resolution to split Iraq among Sunni, Shia and Kurd factions passed the Democrat-controlled Senate overwhelmingly in September 2007, and Biden portrayed his plan as the responsible way to handle the chaos in Iraq, even if the Iraqis themselves disagreed strongly.
We are now seeing a partition take place–driven by Al Qaeda, which U.S. forces once routed in the surge, and which Obama, Clinton, and Biden have been telling us for years was “on the run.” The terrorist armies have regrouped, boosted in part by their foothold in Syria, and are taking over large swathes of the country, which has provoked other groups to mobilize their own forces in response as the Iraqi government quickly collapses.
This was not inevitable. If the U.S. had kept some forces in Iraq, as our military urged, and as we have done in other post-war nations, the country might have remained intact. Even Obama, trying to appear presidential, promised in 2008 to “keep some troops in Iraq.” His campaign said:”if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, [Obama] will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.”
Once in power, however, Obama was more interested in winning an argument with history than in securing a victory U.S. troops had won in Iraq over his objections. He let talks with the Iraqi government collapse, adding insult to injury by assigning Biden to the half-hearted diplomatic effort. He failed to stand up to meddling Iran, or to intervene in Syria in a timely fashion. And so Iraq is failing–irreparably, and by the Democrats’ design.