Oren Dorell, USA TODAY7:21 a.m. EST January 12, 2014
A nation once seen as a great hope in the Middle East is unraveling, as al-Qaeda sinks its teeth in, and a bloodied America wonders what could have been.



When the last U.S. combat troops departed Iraq in December 2011, they left behind a defeated al-Qaeda and an Iraq where traditional rivals Sunni and Shiite Muslims were sharing power in the world's only Arab democracy.
Two years later, al-Qaeda has seized major cities where hundreds of U.S. troops died while fighting alongside their Iraqi brethren. The population once freed by the U.S.-Iraqi alliance has now watched those same jihadist insurgents return to command the streets and impose their will.
Indeed, Iraqis are threatened again by civil war over charges of treason and resistance to an authoritarian government. Many significant gains of the 8-year-long Iraq war in which more than 4,400 Americans died have been lost or are now threatened unless swift actions evict the insurgents.
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We used to have a few here that defended Obama's middle east policy, they have become very quiet over the last 2 years.