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BLITZER'S BLOG: Why I’m worried about Iraq
December 12th, 2011
03:41 PM ET

BLITZER'S BLOG: Why I’m worried about Iraq

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

(CNN) - On Monday at the White House, President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were upbeat in discussing the future of Iraq. I hope they are right, but like so many U.S. officials and outside experts in Washington and the region, I am deeply worried about the direction of that embattled country.

Item: The Iraqi government rejected U.S. requests to leave even a modest number of U.S. troops on the ground. That’s because Iran’s allies in the Iraqi government would have none of that.

Item: The Iraqi government - almost alone in the Arab League - continues to reject Arab League efforts to sanction the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Again, that’s because Iran supports the Damascus regime and has a lot of influence in Baghdad as well.

Item: If the U.S. military hands over to Iraq the last terrorist detainee it’s holding, there’s a good chance that he will be set free and allowed to go to Iran. The Lebanese terrorist, Ali Musa Daqduq, is affiliated with Hezbollah and murdered five American troops in Iraq in 2007.

It’s all pretty depressing given the enormous blood and treasure the U.S. invested in liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s regime.

I was in Kuwait on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. At the time, I assumed the military campaign would be swift and decisive - just like the first Gulf War in 1991, which I also covered. That 1991 air and ground war lasted about six weeks.

If someone would have said to me in 2003 that U.S. troops would only be leaving Iraq by the end of 2011, I would have thought them crazy.

Obama had opposed the war as an Illinois legislator. At one point, he called it a “dumb war.” He refused to say today that he still believed it was a dumb war. Instead, he expressed confidence that things were moving in the right direction now. I hope he’s right, but I have my doubts.

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RELATED STORY: Obama says U.S. goal is successful Iraq

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Iraq • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Griff

    "So there is definitly a high-risk security clamp down on Obama's whitehouse. Is he working with Iran against the USA. The obvious mole for muslims and the most obvious position to infiltrate a super-power. Was that Drone lost on purpose??"

    December 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  2. Tearched Henry Scott III

    By: Tearched H. Scott III, Email:

    I'm concerned about the lack luster actions and views of the GOP to praise our president for ending the war and bringing our troops home. First, let me start out by saying that my name is Tearched Henry Scott III and that I am a proud United States Air Force Veteran. I have faithfully served my country for 11 years from November 1980 thru June 1992. During that time my unit fought during the Granada Invasion, Desert Storm and Desert Shield Campaigns. To my utter dismay, I am simply appalled and baffled by the lack of patriotism and appreciation being shown towards our troops now returning home on friendly soil from Iraq. Each of these thousands of individuals put themselves in harm’s way in defense of our Country and Nation’s Defense. I like so many other thousands of Veterans am now unemployed and full of experience in Administration, Retail, Customer Service and Loss Prevention Management skills, which was obtained during my time in the Military. Now that the war is being brought to a close, many of them are longing to be joined to their families and need a way and means of making monies to insure their livelihood. Yet even in the mist of this great time of celebration; many of the members of the GOP are totally Party minded, and due to their hateful and relentless attacks on President Obama, they have sold their very souls to corruption. If people would truely like to see who is winning in the election poles, just ask the majority of Veteran who they are voting for in this upcoming election. I guarantee it won’t be the ones that tried to force us to stay overseas and fight a completed war. Nevertheless, there is still one question that these brave men and women desire to ask America, “IS THERE NO PARADE FOR ME?”

    December 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  3. Rick

    We didnt even get any oil out of this war.

    December 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  4. Karl

    You people with your big "Bush/OIL" conspiracy theories are truly the dumbest fools of this nation. It's really pathetic.

    December 14, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  5. gord

    you can see a list of those that died in iraq. how about a list of those who made millions of their sacrifice

    December 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  6. Goran

    As a linguist withtheUS military intelligence for over 6 years, Saleh Al-Mutlek, the deputy prime minister was found to be a Sunni insurgent. He was found to be one of the main supporters of the terrorists who killed innocent Iraqis and our soldiers. He was wanted by the US at one time for his terrorist activity. Now that Iraq has democracy, he speaks out but not truthfully. So can anyone believe him – only the Sunni's who want power back. I am a Kurd and not a supporter of Al-Malki , but I do not support any Sunni who has such connections as this deputy prime minister does. This man should not hold this post or any position in the Iraqi government – he has a lot of blood on his hands.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  7. Sue

    Wolf –
    With all due respect I wish to differ with you when you said just now that in your opinion, "the Iraqis show very little gratefulness toward the United States." I cannot imagine why you'd believe Iraqis should be grateful the US destroyed their country. George W Bush et al, destroyed Iraq for their own purposes without any regard for the consequences. Let's not blame President Obama for the way he's relating to the Iraqi President, instead we should condemn the Bush administration for all the bad they've done to Iraq.

    December 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • TC

      I agree!!!! Iraq had one of the best college systems in the middle east and was very productive. Now they can hardly keep the electricity on for half a day and the country is in shambles. Thanks to GWB. It sure was a great loss of American and Iraqi lives!! For what!!!!!!!!!

      December 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  8. Earl J

    With all the blame been put on Obama for the economy,why is these unnecessary wars not been blamed?
    At the same time Bush was giving tax cuts to the wealthy.
    Does anyone know how many MILLION jobs were created from the tax cuts?
    I have never heard any number given.
    Why does these countries that were so called" liberated" not repay some of the cost incurred by the wars?
    What has happened to all the millions frozen from Iraq and Libya?

    December 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  9. Griff

    "You do not need that Drone back, and Obama knows it! It's done kit's job,and Obama is just playing with your minds.
    Before you put a man in danger, you have to be sure if it is worth the loss. I am afraid the millitary value IT much more than flesh and blood!"

    December 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  10. Griff

    "Conflicts are what make life on this planet, and conflicts are what feed it. This planet is a living organism, made up of zillions of others. Dead life??? Is there such a thing?? Create more life??? We know nothing about tomorrow, and need to more imaginative from the past? Was there such a think? i've slept since then!"

    December 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  11. Griff

    "What will happen to those forces is classified, and will no doubt be resoursed to serounding bases; wherever? I was in communciations long enough to understand troop movements. They may leave by one door, but they leave with the inteligience!"

    December 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  12. Griff

    "Wolfi, it's about time the Arab's become responsible for their own. Who cares about Iraq oil deposites, or their religions.
    Soon they will be needing that oil strictly for their growth. All we keep hearing about is Sunni's and their enemies. There are too many old tribal conflicts we could ever begin to understand. If they have a civil war from their religions, then so be it."

    December 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  13. Scott Stodden

    No Matter What Doubts We May Have About The State Of Iraq And What Will Happen When All American Troops Leave Iraq The Truth Of The Matter Is It's Time To End These Useless Wars, American Troops Are Losing Their Lives For No Reason And Its Time To Come Home And Protect America!

    December 13, 2011 at 6:52 am |
  14. Judith in NY

    Excuse me: "many thousand of Americans.... that may NOT have heard the primary Obama reason" I meant.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:03 am |
  15. Judith in NY

    Hi, Mr. Wolf; I do not think that it is America's (O'bama's) fault that we are leaving Iraq. Cheney had the nerve to say to Erin Burnett that Obama was wrong to pull out of Iraq. (Election Debates Ploy) Obama had no choice. Iraq put the "condition" that if an American Soldier committed a crime in Iraq, that they would have to be "tried" in an Iraqi court. Ms. Burnett should have pointed that out to Cheney. Maybe Cheney doesn't watch news? I was mortified that this was never mentioned by Ms. Burnett or yourself and corrected for the record;many thousands of Americans that also do not follow news, and may have heard Obama's reason. We certainly would have wanted a base there. Please correct me if I have misunderstood this issue. Thank you. I enjoy your show.

    December 13, 2011 at 4:00 am |
  16. MIchael Zibensky

    It is kind of depressing. Its a little deprtessing that Americans became the 21st century Nazis with torture cahmbers, concentration camps and a genocidal mentality. When I think about the shame that Cheney and his uniformed killers caused to bereflected on me because I am an American, i do get a little depressed.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  17. zb

    Wolf, please correct me if I'm wrong but where have you been during the 6 years of the Bush/Republican administration that got us into this idiotic sinkhole of American lives and money based on a giant lie while they let Afghanistan fall apart. If you want to work for FOXnews this badly why don't you just go and lick Murdock's boots.

    December 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  18. EdG

    There's a big point being missed here. The objective of this "war" was never to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussain, it was to get the "WMD's" which they (Bush et al) knew didn't exist, but those 3 other letters – OIL – do exist, so that's why so much "treasure and lives" were "invested". How many people close to Cheney and Haliburton grew their fortunes from this mess? That should be your country's worry – not about what will happen now. Most Americans can't find their home state on a map, so how many can find, or have any reason to care about Iraq, Iran and/or Syria? Let's not forget how "war" and tradgedy sells for CNN.

    December 12, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
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