Right Hooks

Obama Fiddled as Islamic State Grew

Not just a little, either — but by 2,700 to 4,400%.

Nate Jackson · Nov. 20, 2015

The Islamic State exists in its current form essentially because Barack Obama withdrew completely from Iraq, leaving a vacuum to be filled. According to CIA Director John Brennan, al-Qaida in Iraq was indeed largely “decimated” — by George W. Bush. Brennan estimates “it had maybe 700 or so adherents left.” But after Obama abandoned the region and dismissed the Islamic State as the “JV team,” Brennan said it grew rapidly.

American Enterprise Institute scholar Marc Thiessen breaks down the statistics, noting, “[B]y the CIA’s own estimate, ISIS has grown on President Obama’s watch from just 700 fighters to between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters. That is an increase of between 2,700 and 4,400%.”

So much for having them “contained.”

That growth didn’t happen without warning, either. Obama’s own Defense Intelligence Agency warned in 2012 that the group could “declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.” Sounds like some key information, but running a re-election campaign in which Obama wanted to boast of having been the one to “decimate” al-Qaida (if you can’t blame Bush, at least steal his credit, right?), Obama ignored the report. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who ran the defense agency at the time, put it this way: “It was disregarded by the White House. … Frankly, at the White House, it didn’t meet the narrative.” Bingo.

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