As the terrorists of the Islamic State of
Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threaten Baghdad, thousands of slaughtered Iraqis
in their wake, it is worth recalling a few of President
past statements about ISIS and al Qaeda. "If a J.V. team puts on
Lakers' uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant" (January 2014).
"[C]ore al Qaeda is on its heels, has been decimated" (August 2013).
"So, let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding" (September
Rarely has a U.S. president been
so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to
count, Mr. Obama has told us he is "ending" the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan—as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come
crashing into reality. Watching the black-clad ISIS jihadists take
territory once secured by American blood is final proof, if any were
needed, that America's enemies are not "decimated." They are emboldened
and on the march.
The fall of the Iraqi
cities of Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul and Tel Afar, and the establishment
of terrorist safe havens across a large swath of the Arab world, present
a strategic threat to the security of the United States. Mr. Obama's
actions—before and after ISIS's recent advances in Iraq—have the effect
of increasing that threat.
On a trip to the Middle East this
spring, we heard a constant refrain in capitals from the Persian Gulf to
Israel, "Can you please explain what your president is doing?" "Why is
he walking away?" "Why is he so blithely sacrificing the hard fought
gains you secured in Iraq?" "Why is he abandoning your friends?" "Why is
he doing deals with your enemies?"
one Arab capital, a senior official pulled out a map of Syria and Iraq.
Drawing an arc with his finger from Raqqa province in northern Syria to
Anbar province in western Iraq, he said, "They will control this
territory. Al Qaeda is building safe havens and training camps here.
Don't the Americans care?"
doesn't seem to. Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror
group and Mr. Obama is talking climate change. Terrorists take control
of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes
golfing. He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a
resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United
States of America.
When Mr. Obama and his team came into
office in 2009, al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks
primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge.
Mr. Obama had only to negotiate an agreement to leave behind some
residual American forces, training and intelligence capabilities to help
secure the peace. Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching
American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.
tragedy unfolding in Iraq today is only part of the story. Al Qaeda and
its affiliates are resurgent across the globe. According to a recent
Rand study, between 2010 and 2013, there was a 58% increase in the
number of Salafi-jihadist terror groups around the world. During that
same period, the number of terrorists doubled.
the face of this threat, Mr. Obama is busy ushering America's
adversaries into positions of power in the Middle East. First it was the
Russians in Syria. Now, in a move that defies credulity, he toys with
the idea of ushering Iran into Iraq. Only a fool would believe American
policy in Iraq should be ceded to Iran, the world's largest state
sponsor of terror.
This president is
willfully blind to the impact of his policies. Despite the threat to
America unfolding across the Middle East, aided by his abandonment of
Iraq, he has announced he intends to follow the same policy in
Despite clear evidence of
the dire need for American leadership around the world, the desperation
of our allies and the glee of our enemies, President Obama seems
determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch.
Indeed, the speed of the terrorists' takeover of territory in Iraq has
been matched only by the speed of American decline on his watch.
president explained his view in his Sept. 23, 2009, speech before the
United Nations General Assembly.
"Any world order," he said, "that
elevates one nation above others cannot long survive." Tragically, he is
quickly proving the opposite—through one dangerous policy after
another—that without American pre-eminence, there can be no world order.
is time the president and his allies faced some hard truths: America
remains at war, and withdrawing troops from the field of battle while
our enemies stay in the fight does not "end" wars. Weakness and retreat
are provocative. U.S. withdrawal from the world is disastrous and puts
our own security at risk.
Al Qaeda and
its affiliates are resurgent and they present a security threat not seen
since the Cold War.
Defeating them will require a strategy—not a
fantasy. It will require sustained difficult military, intelligence and
diplomatic efforts—not empty misleading rhetoric. It will require
rebuilding America's military capacity—reversing the Obama policies that
have weakened our armed forces and reduced our ability to influence
events around the world.
freedom will not be secured by empty threats, meaningless red lines,
leading from behind, appeasing our enemies, abandoning our allies, or
apologizing for our great nation—all hallmarks to date of the Obama
doctrine. Our security, and the security of our friends around the
world, can only be guaranteed with a fundamental reversal of the
policies of the past six years.
1983, President Ronald Reagan said, "If history teaches anything, it
teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our
adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering
of our freedom." President Obama is on track to securing his legacy as
the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.
Cheney was U.S. vice president from 2001-09. Ms. Cheney was the deputy
assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs from 2002-04 and