Editorial: Continued threats present

Jul. 09, 2014 @ 11:34 PM

As the number of troops expected to leave the Middle East and return increases under the direction of our president, expect the level of threat to our homeland to increase as well.

Sadly, we rest on an unsettled axis of concern.

President Obama’s foreign policy choices have been analyzed from all corners of our country, with bias in politics and bias based on involvement by families of our fighting forces. All choose points of merit, stand their ground and hope for a time when our country is no longer in its lengthiest war, yet removed as far as possible from threat.

Existence of both at the same time is unlikely. And that makes talk of cuts to our military a critical concern.

Obama entered office nearly six years ago committed to ending wars he inherited in Afghanistan and Iraq. But fighting will go on, regardless of our presence.

Imagine an influential military leader with the oratory skills, similar to former presidents Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton, and able to draw in the young and impressionable for a cause.

Surround that leader with a network operating in the 21st century, utilizing social media and the cyber world to its advantage while having the foundation of military strength rooted in its tactical and strategic decisions.

And, finally, imagine it happening not from a remote cave but in an open place.

That’s the description of the man for whom the United States has offered a $10 million bounty. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could be the most detrimental threat to America, leading an insurgent group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Islamic State is a real threat, and it has swept in behind where we are leaving.

Prisons at Abu Ghraib and Taji have been freed of inmates, many who are al-Qaida fighters. In Mosul last month, another 2,000 to 3,000 were freed. Al-Baghdadi’s work has shown elements resembling both gangs and organized crime in our country.

We can be glad for our men and women in service to return home. But we are equally to be alert that threats to our nation’s security will only be increasing.

One say we have in the matter comes at midterms this November — and in our presidential choice in 2016.