Iraq

Since 9/11 the United States military has been aggressively fighting terrorism all over the world, increasingly using the most elite units. 

Unlike most conventional forces, special operations soldiers are given plenty of freedom to solve complex problems out in the field. 

Al-‘Ahd: Radical Shi’ite Islamist Channel in Iraq Controlled by an Iran-backed Militia

“Make no mistake, our strong presence in the Middle East endures, and the United States will never waver in defense of our allies, our partners, or our interests.”

From the Boston Marathon bombings to a recent attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya, 2013 has seen a spike in terrorism worldwide. Even as the U.S. uses military force to try and weaken Al Qaeda and affiliated groups, it is grappling with how to fight terrorism on another front -- battling the extremist ideas and ideologies that drive the violence. It is a battle that is waged in schools, mosques, community centers and any other place you might find potential terror recruits.

"The democratic experience in Iraq is still very much in its infant stages, but it's being tested. It was tested over the course of the last four years, more recently it's being tested by the national elections, and now the challenge of putting a government together." 
– Ambassador Gary Grappo, Counselor for Political Affairs in the U.S. Embassy

"General McChrystal’s plan for counterinsurgency — 50 percent of it is military. The other 50 percent is a development program, or a stabilization program." 
– Andrew Natsios, former USAID Administrator

"When I worked in the state department, we made the decision to put diplomats into the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's an entirely different proposition than serving in Rome."
– Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns

"It's kind of like what Lou Holtz said when he coached Notre Dame football – we're not where we want to be, we're not where we need to be, but thank goodness we're not where we used to be." – Lt. General Frank Helmick 

“One of the most important lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that military success is not sufficient to win.” 
– Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

"In these environments, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, it isn’t a classical war of armies facing each other but rather it is a state and nation building, building institutions that serve the people." 
– US Representative to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad

Does the international community have a moral obligation to intervene more aggressively in Syria? We take a look back at past conflicts - Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq and Libya - through the eyes of those who both analyzed and experienced these crises first-hand. We also hear from Syrian refugees in Lebanon on the question of Western intervention. 

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