Iraq Follies -- What Possibly Could Go Wrong?

Megyn Kelly, on her Fox News show, interviewed former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz in response to their op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Ms. Kelly went on attack early, critical of the former VP over the WMD issue, “But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well, sir.” The mainstream press was delighted that Ms. Kelly temporarily joined their side. Time magazine ran a headline, “Watch Megyn Kelly tell Dick Cheney all the ways he was wrong about Iraq.”

How ironic that the next day, The Telegraph ran a headline, “Isis jihadists seize Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons stockpile.” Huh? The smart set in Washington DC have declared Iraqi WMDs to be a myth on par with leprechauns and the Easter bunny.

U.S. officials say that these chemical weapons would be ineffective and hard to move. I wonder if these are same officials that said such weapons didn’t even exist. The Telegraph describes the discovered weapons complex as having “hundreds of tonnes of potentially deadly poisons including mustard gas and sarin.” What about improvised weapons? With that large an amount of chemicals available, a sophisticated delivery device isn’t needed. Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs killed 3,100 Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan and wounded 33,000 more, meaning that ISIS already knows how to make improvised weapons.

If ISIS doesn’t have the technology they need, they can certainly purchase it. Apart from the chemical weapons complex they captured, they looted $425 million from Mosul banks, becoming the richest terrorist organization. Along with the seizure of Iraq’s largest oil refinery, ISIS is well on its way to creating a wealthy and powerful Islamic state in the Middle East.

Fear not, as President Obama is taking deliberate and decisive action. On June 13, he ruled out sending American troops “back into combat.” Six days later, the president announced, “he was sending up to 300 military advisers to Iraq.” Are they advisers or troops or both? Turns out the troops are U.S. Special Operations forces. What happens when our “advisers” are fired upon? Will they advise or fight back? Sure sounds like they are being sent “back into combat.” It will be interesting to see if the president is willing or able to garner international support for any intervention in Iraq as opposed to the go-it-alone that he falsely accused President Bush of using in Iraq.

Secretary of State Kerry, in another bit of irony, was critical of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki for losing control of Iraq’s Syrian and Jordanian borders. Yet Mr. Kerry seems oblivious that his own country has lost control of its own southern border. He has suggested regime change. "The United States would like to see the Iraqi people find leadership that is prepared to represent all of the people of Iraq," said Kerry. Given that many Americans don’t feel represented by their government, will Mr. Kerry be recommending regime change here at home?

ISIS is now joining forces with Saddam loyalists in an effort to take control of Baghdad. This includes many of Saddam’s top generals who likely know where other weapons caches are squirreled away. Whether chemical or biological weapons, no matter how old they are, if the caches are as large as the one seized last week, there is more than enough to cause large-scale devastation.

Iraq now has a choice. Working with the U.S. or with Iran. Where does that leave the U.S.? Can we really work with “Death to America” Iran? And why would Iraq want to work with the US after we left them high and dry? As Charles Krauthammer noted, “Does anyone think they can rely on the United States under Obama?”

President Obama inherited a relatively stable Iraq in 2009, with a functional government. He hit the reset button, hit the golf course, and look what Iraq has now become. Thankfully the best and the brightest are in charge of American foreign policy. What could possibly go wrong? Mr. Cheney knows the answer only too well.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician, is an advocate of smaller, more efficient government. Twitter @retinaldoctor.

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