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As Iraq spirals out of control, it's become clear that, once again, the Obama administration has been caught off guard. Worse? Given Barack Obama's assessment in 2011, this should never have happened:

“Today, I can announce that our review is complete, and that the United States will pursue a new strategy to end the war in Iraq through a transition to full Iraqi responsibility.

 

This strategy is grounded in a clear and achievable goal shared by the Iraqi people and the American people: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant.

 

[W]e will work to promote an Iraqi government that is just, representative, and accountable, and that provides neither support nor safe haven to terrorists.”

How'd that all work out?

In the past seven months, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - a terrorist group that sprang from al Qaeda - has captured Fallujah and Mosul [and Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town], and is now intent on capturing the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Now, U.S. officials have not only warned Americans not to travel to Iraq, but have prepared contingency plans to evacuate the U.S. embassy as well.

So how did the administration miscalculate so terribly? How did the events of the last year creep up on it? Lack of focus? Wishful thinking? Consumed by an ever-growing list of scandals? Too much campaigning and not enough governing? All of the above?

Anyway, to be fair, it wasn't just Obama who referred to ending the war in 2011 a “moment of success.” In 2010, Vice President Biden called Iraq “one of the great achievements of this administration.”

Incidentally, remember when President George W. Bush was lambasted by the left over the “Mission Accomplished” banner on the aircraft carrier?