Last week, violence struck the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killing 63 just days after U.S. troops completed their withdrawal, making it the deadliest day in over a year.
On this weekend’s broadcast of “Inside Washington,” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer blamed the violence on President Barack Obama, suggesting this might not have happened had he left a “residual” force in the beleaguered country.
“This is a direct result of the vacuum created by the president, against the recommendations of the generals on the ground to leave a force,” Krauthammer said. “And that is a failure of this administration. We had three years to do one thing. The surge had succeeded – al Qaida had been defeated, and in the surge, even [Nouri al-] Maliki had reduced and defeated the Shiite militias, who are now resurgent in Basra and in Baghdad. In other words, you had the beginnings of a national government. And what we needed was America in the continuity, and as soon as it was removed gratuitously, all of the unraveling has begun.”
Former Newsweek editor Evan Thomas, now a columnist for Politico and co-author of “Playbook 2012: The Right Fights Back” with Mike Allen, however, warns this unrest in Iraq could spread to Iran. He said the unrest could push Israel into a strike against Iran, which the United States would be drawn into as soon as this year – an election year.
“I think most Americans really want to believe this is behind us and past us,” Thomas said. “And you know, not only is it goin’ to happen, is it happening in Iraq, but Iran — I think there is an excellent chance that this year, this election year, Israel is going to attack Iran, and the United States is going to be drawn back into a really scary, violent situation…” Thomas said.
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Thomas’ “Inside Washington” co-panelist, syndicated columnist Mark Shields said that if in fact his prediction were true, the United States should only intervene if it is done the right way — with a declaration of war and a clear list of objectives.
“Let’s hope — Evan is rarely wrong — [that Evan] is wrong. But if in fact, we are about to embark upon that, let’s do it this time the right way, by a full and complete debate and a declaration of war, and a statement going in about what our objective is and what we are willing to do as a people, as a nation, a military, to achieve those ends, and when it will be over and how we will get out,” Shields said. “And that is what haunts us from all of these incursions and all of these expeditions.”