It turns out, President George W. Bush was spot-on with a prediction he made six years ago about the unrest in the Middle East, and his critics are now eating crow.
On the 13th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11. Fox News posted a story that recalled a 2007 address Bush gave to the press in which he delivered an eerie, but accurate warning about future unrest in Iraq, should troops be withdrawn prematurely.
In the post-September 11 era, the Bush Administration enacted a number of measures that were designed to keep the homeland safe. Part of his strategy was to keep the concentration of troops high in areas of unrest such as Iraq, the Saudi corridor and Afghanistan.
In the White House briefing room on July 12, 2007, George W. Bush spoke about his foreign policy doctrines, and made one thing perfectly clear: immediate troop withdrawal to appease those on the other side of the aisle was not an option. Doing so, Bush argued, would cause unintended circumstances in the Middle East, as extremist factions would likely gain momentum.
“To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States.”
The first assertion is pragmatic in scope, and not many would argue that, militarily, this strategy is a sound approach. But the next set of Bush predictions have semblances of Orwellian omens.
“It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda.
“It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale.
“It would mean we allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.
“It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”
Did Bush really predict ISIS in Iraq?
George W.’s speech writer, Marc Thiessen, believes all of the former president’s predictions have manifested as thorns in Obama’s foreign policy objectives.
“Every single thing that President Bush said there in that statement is happening today,” Thiessen said.
On his first prophecy in the Middle East, George Bush got it wrong, but only about the name of the prominent extremist group in Iraq. Fundamentally, ISIS is an offshoot of Al Qaeda, which has taken a backseat, but is still operating in Afghan niches.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has taken over enormous swaths of northern Iraqi territory and broad regions of Syria.
Obama’s mantra, based on his campaign pledge, was to draw down troops from Bush’s war in Iraq. His mission is nearly complete, but comes at a time when he’s been hard-pressed to return troops to the worn-torn areas overrun by IS.
Wednesday, President Obama outlined a six-part strategy to destroy the ideology and advances of the terror group, but it comes at a price to the 2008 status of forces agreement signed by Bush: hundreds of troops are being deployed to Iraq and Syria, but not in a combat capacity. Still, many critics say it puts their safety in jeopardy.
Like Dick Cheney and others have said, Obama could have saved face a lot sooner by sending in a small contingency or residual squad to Iraq before ISIS built a stronghold on the region.
George Bush’s push-back to the president’s strategy is that his withdrawal was premature, and should not have taken place when the United States and Baghdad were at an impasse on a framework for troop presence on Iraqi soil.
Today, the terror group is gaining traction by building on the gridlock Congress and the president has over stifling its surge throughout Kurdish territory. The reactive strategy is what George W. Bush feared, and his predictions, had they been acted upon sooner, could have produced a different result for which countless lives were at stake.
[Image via: The Blaze, Charles Dharapak]