Paul Greenberg

Another day, another country left to the tender mercies of terrorists. Going by his own arbitrary, purely political deadline, this president and now only nominal Leader of the Free World has been intent on pulling American troops out of one country after another in the (always) troubled Middle East, with the result that one country after another is swallowed up by the all too familiar forces of chaos, terror, death and destruction.

This week's bad news is that oil-rich Mosul in Iraq has fallen to a terrorist outfit that makes al-Qaida look moderate. So add Mosul to the cities now captive to the forces of terror. And the road to Baghdad lies wide open before them. Next they have an appointment in Samarra and have already been spotted on its outskirts. For there is no longer an American presence in Iraq to stop them, or even serve as a tripwire as in Europe or Korea.

One hard-won gain after another in Iraq has been abandoned to the enemy. Think of Fallujah, where so much American blood was spilled. It's gone, too.

"The situation is certainly very grave on the ground," one spokesflack for the State Department acknowledged this week, which may be the understatement of the year.

Another official mouthpiece at State, the well-named Josh Earnest, said this country was watching developments in Iraq "very carefully." There. That ought to take care of the problem. This Mr. Earnest must be joshing, for he sounds like the last of the straight-faced kidders. Only what's happening in Iraq, and throughout the Middle East on this administration's watch, is anything but a joke.

Half a million Iraqis are now said to be fleeing for their lives, and their children's. The flow of refugees to the one stable part of Iraq -- Kurdistan -- is already beginning to overwhelm even the resourceful Kurds.

And who knows when the next Henry Kissinger will come along to betray the Kurds once again? For our State Department is back living in its own make-believe world -- an alternate reality where no American troops are needed, Iran's mullahs are serious about giving up their race to develop a nuclear weapon, and Syria is doing just fine under this president's policy of malign neglect. All as another once stable front in the war on terror collapses.

Nor has Washington voiced any objections to letting Hamas, another lovely bunch, into the new, now formally unified American-approved and American-financed Palestinian government or imitation of one. ("Ain't nobody here but us technocrats.") Right on schedule, the first rockets under this not-so-new Palestinian order have already been fired at Israeli targets. Quick on the trigger, these "technocrats."

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.