Back in February, Vice President Joseph Biden declared: "I am very optimistic about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration." Even for a politician much given to strategic ineptitude compounded by foot-in-mouth disease, that was a doozy.
As has been pointed out innumerable times since, if Iraq turns out to be a truly "great achievement" in any ordinary sense of the word, Mr. Biden and Barack Obama - two of the most insistent opponents of George W. Bush's efforts to consolidate Iraq's liberation - are among the last people in Washington who should take such credit.
Worse yet, unfortunately for the Iraqi people and others who love freedom, it looks increasingly as though the Obama administration will have the loss of Iraq as one of its most signal accomplishments.
Three murderous suicide bombings in Baghdad over the weekend are but the latest indication of the renewed reality there: Those determined to use violence to destabilize the country, foment sectarian strife and shape Iraq's destiny can do so with impunity.
The fact that the Iranian embassy was one of the targets suggests Sunni extremist groups - perhaps including the once-defeated al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) - are responsible for this round of attacks. Elsewhere in the country though, Shiite death squads that may or may not have ties to the pro-Iranian factions currently running the country are ruthlessly liquidating prominent tribal leaders and others associated with the movement in Anbar Province known as The Awakening. The latter were instrumental to the success of the U.S. surge and to the opportunity thus created for an Iraqi future vastly superior to its despotic and chaotic past.
Among the objects of the growing violence are individuals who stood for office in the recent parliamentary elections. This amounts to post facto disenfranchisement of the Iraqi voters whose turnout of over 60 percent - in the face of threats by anti-democratic forces that voting would be deemed a capital offense - powerfully testified to their desire to exercise the right enjoyed by no others in the Mideast except Israelis: to have a real say in their government and future.
Sadly, all other things being equal, that popular ambition seems unlikely to be realized. There is an unmistakable vacuum of power being created by President Obama's determination to withdraw U.S. "combat" forces no matter what, starting with the cities a few months ago and in short order from the rest of the country.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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