Iraq’s Bitter Returns

The failure of Iraqi’s leadership and armed forces to blunt the speedy terrorist takeover of large parts of the country is a bitter pill given what the United States paid in blood and treasure to secure it, said Joint Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey on Thursday. “Like many of you, I was disappointed at how quickly the situation in Iraq deteriorated as well as the rapid collapse of many Iraqi units,” stated Dempsey in his June 19 message to US service personnel. “The men and women who served in Iraq did exactly what we asked,” Dempsey told Senate lawmakers the previous day during testimony on Capitol Hill. “Al Qaida-inspired extremists raising flags over Iraq’s embattled cities triggers in me … bitter disappointment that Iraq’s leaders failed to unite for the good of their people,” he added. Dempsey confirmed that Iraq’s government requested US airpower, and that US “manned and unmanned” intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets are already operating there to “gain clarity on what exactly is occurring,” including what’s left of Iraq’s armed forces. “The path forward will not be easy,” he said in his message, but the Pentagon is preparing “options for the President.”