As two Iraqi men faced court dates on terror-related charges in California and Texas, and intelligence officials released revised figures putting at close to 40,000 the number of foreign fighters who have traveled to the battlefronts in Iraq and Syria, criticism of President Obama by a Marine general is receiving renewed attention.

Speaking from the relative cover provided by his imminent retirement, General James Amos, U.S. Marine Corps, went on the record with his frank assessment of the president’s handling of the situation in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

General Amos, who served as the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, made the blunt comments in a speech to the Brookings Institute shortly before his retirement from the Corps after 42 years of active service that included command of 15,000 combat marines in two deployments during Operations Iraqi Freedom I and II.

Without specifically using President Obama’s name, the four-star general attacked U.S. leadership following the troop withdrawal in 2010.

“Had we had the right forces, the right leadership, the right mentoring, the right government, courage… I find it hard to believe, knowing how Iraq looked when we left in 2010…that we would be in the position we’re in today in Iraq.”

While active-duty military personnel do not typically criticize their Commander-in-Chief in public, his upcoming retirement provided General Amos greater freedom to speak his mind about the deterioration of conditions in Iraq after Obama took control as C-i-C at a time when the “surge” had produced positive results.

“Had we been there, and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don’t think we’d be in the same shape we’re in today.”

The General’s predictions seem eerily prescient given the development of ISIS, which President Obama called “the JV team,” even as he claimed the Islamic terror group was “contained,” as it swept through Iraq and Syria in its bloodthirsty quest to establish a caliphate and waged attacks throughout Europe.

“We may think we’re done with all of these nasty, thorny, tacky little things that are going on around the world — and I’d argue that if you’re in that nation, it’s not a tacky, little thing for you. We may think we’re done with them, but they’re not done with us.”

General Amos made a special point of adding that the loss of hard-won gains in Iraq since the withdrawal in 2011 is “breaking the hearts of Marines.”

Over 8,000 Marines have been injured in Iraq with nearly 852 lost in war there.

 

 

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