Iraq must not become a terrorist state

Iraq, where nearly 4,500 Americans died in what appears to have been a futile attempt to change the very culture of that violence-torn region, may be about to fall to a radically militant Islamic insurgency. At this point there is virtually nothing the United States can do about that.

Let us hope President Barack Obama has a contingency plan to evacuate the thousands of Americans who remained in Iraq after U.S. troops ended active operations in 2011.

At the same time, members of Congress should demand assurances that if a terrorist regime takes over Iraq, U.S. response will be decisive. By that we mean a policy that will prevent Iraq from becoming the new Afghanistan – a haven from which terrorists can launch attacks on Americans.

As the al-Qaida organization was being built during the 1990s, little was done to stop it. U.S. officials looked the other way when the vicious Taliban regime took over Afghanistan and permitted al-Qaida to set up shop there.

That mistake should not be repeated. If a government sympathetic to Islamic terrorists takes over Iraq – a distinct possibility – Obama should warn it such behavior will not be tolerated. The very first infraction should be punished militarily. Congress should take what steps it can to ensure that happens.