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Obama's decision to leave Iraq in 2011 led to catastrophe

As I read your recent article "Iran reaps gains of war in Iraq" (April 1), my mind swiftly swept back to Oct. 22, 2011, when The Sun published another report under the headline "Obama: Troops out of Iraq by Dec. 31."

I still have my copy of that edition because I knew that one day havoc would break out in the wake of President Obama's irresponsible decision to abandon Iraq. Unfortunately, we lack the fortitude to take corrective action to rectify what obviously was a horrendous mistake.

We should never forget that the Iraq War cost the U.S. over 4,000 dead, over 30,000 wounded and in excess of $1 trillion, all sacrificed in the hope that Iraq would become the first Arab democracy after Saddam Hussein was toppled.

Unfortunately, a man-made bolt of lightning struck in Iraq on Dec. 31, 2011, when President Obama withdrew our troops — a selfish, egotistical maneuver on his part to please the folks back home in order to enhance his re-election chances in 2012.

Withdrawing our troops also showed the world that we hadn't really won the Iraq War, that instead we had been defeated.

But the saddest part of all was the loss of life among our service members, whose all-out efforts were for naught. We must never forget the loving, honorable spirits of all of those poor forsaken souls.

No longer supported by the U.S., a weakened Iraq immediately became a battleground for strife among Shiites, Sunnis and other religious and ethnic sects, as well as a target for infiltration by terrorist groups led by al-Qaida and Iranian undercover agents.

What a catastrophe it has all become. And how sad that Iraq never really had the opportunity to develop into the first democratic nation in the Arab Middle East.

Quinton D. Thompson, Towson

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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