Obama failed to stop the Islamic State when he had the chance

Posted by on Jul 29, 2014 at 7:40 am
U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he talks with Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican City

Obama officials have publicly claimed that Iraq requested air support only in May of this year, after Islamic State had already taken Fallujah and was marching on Mosul. That is untrue. And it is Royce’s version of events that is borne out by the public record. On Aug. 17, 2013, in a little-noticed story entitled “Iraq Open to U.S. Drone Strikes on Terrorists,” Bloomberg News reported that Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was in Washington “seeking U.S. advisers, air surveillance or even drone strikes” and that “the top Iraqi diplomat’s comments are the first time he has publicly raised the possibility of working with the U.S. on anti-terrorist drone strikes.”

That was a year ago. Had Obama acted on those requests, the Islamic State offensive might very well have been stopped. The United States could have hit the terrorists while they were still in staging areas in the western Iraqi desert, away from civilians, where they were easy targets for U.S. drones. Instead Obama did nothing, while the Islamic State massed its forces, marched into Iraqi cities, and proclaimed a radical Islamic state.

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