LOS ANGELES — Despite critics who label the Iraq War as a complete failure, “The Surge” ordered by President George W. Bush accomplished one of the most significant turnarounds in modern military history. Unfortunately, the success was short-lived. In PragerU’s newest video, How Iraq Was Won and Lost, Pete Hegseth, former U.S. Army Lieutenant and Fox News contributor, explains how America’s victory in Iraq was systematically dismantled by Bush’s successor, President Barack Obama.
When the United States first invaded Iraq in 2003, the campaign enjoyed significant bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. But when weapons of mass destruction were not found as predicted, support for the war effort quickly turned into blame, with the Democrats pointing fingers at the Bush administration.
Despite the seemingly looming collapse of Iraq’s body politic, President Bush made the difficult decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq in 2007– a decision now known as “The Surge.” Contrary to predictions from Democratic Senators Joe Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, this decision reversed the course of the war. Hegseth witnessed the victory when he returned to Iraq in 2008:
“I had seen the ‘before.’ I could hardly believe the ‘after.’ Attacks on US forces were down 90 percent. American casualties were rare. Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhoods were secure. Al-Qaida in Iraq was decimated. The oil was flowing again. Iraqis were rebuilding. And new elections were held.”
Though far from perfect for Western standards, President Bush’s commitment to winning the war in Iraq ensured that President Obama inherited a relatively well-functioning “Iraqracy” as General David Petraeus referred to it. Unfortunately the U.S. military’s hard-fought gains were short-lived.
The trouble began when a dispute broke out between the Obama administration and Iraqi government over the “Status of Forces Agreement.” The Iraqi government asked to prosecute American soldiers who broke Iraqi law. Obama rightly refused. However, rather than continuing to negotiate, President Obama ignored the advice of his generals and used the dispute as an excuse to begin pulling all American troops out of Iraq. This “timely opportunity” achieved a promise Obama had made during his campaign, to bring all U.S. soldiers home.
Hegseth describes what happened after the U.S. military was completely removed from Iraq in 2011. “Islamist terror, which U.S. soldiers had successfully crushed, returned with a new vengeance, most prominently in the form of ISIS. And the fragile peace between Sunnis and Shia fell apart.”
Consequently, Hegseth explains, the military successes President Bush worked so hard to secure were quickly forfeited by the Obama administration’s ideologically and politically motivated decision to withdraw U.S. forces. Iraq’s neighbor to the east and America’s enemy, Iran, quickly filled the political vacuum while ISIS exploited the security vacuum. ISIS, once referred to as the “JV team” by President Obama, continues to present one of the most serious security threats to both Iraq and the United States to this day.
“The painful lesson is this: Resolve works and retreat doesn’t,” concludes Hegseth. “When America commits to military victory, as it did during the Surge, it can defeat its enemies. But when America retreats for political reasons, it loses. And so do millions of others.”
MEDIA NOTE: PragerU contributor, Pete Hegseth is available for interview as is PragerU’s Founder, Dennis Prager and CEO, Marissa Streit. Contact: MediaInquiries@theKcompany.co
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