In a brazen attack launched Sunday night, Al-Qaeda operatives freed hundreds of their comrades from Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison, including several senior members of the terrorist organization.
The militants attacked using car bombs packed with explosives to detonate the gates and followed with waves of suicide bombers, mortar shells, and automatic fire. Some of the militants secured positions on the road to fight off security reinforcements, while suicide vest-wearing fighters entered the prison to kill several guards and free their comrades.
The ensuing clashes continued until Monday morning, and by that time several hundred prisoners had already escaped. Abu Ghraib was made famous by photographs of American soldiers abusing inmates, and has now been reclaimed as a symbol of victory by the Sunni terrorist group slowly gaining momentum against Iraq's Shi'ite-led government.
This is one of several recent bloody attacks that have targeted mosques, football matches, markets, and restaurants, leaving almost 600 dead this month alone — a bleak improvement over the 2006/7 monthly rate of 3,000.
For all the thousands of lives, billions of dollars, and years we threw into the black hole that was the Iraqi war, these kinds of disasters only prove how utterly futile the endeavor was. It's not just that more and more information is coming to light proving we shouldn't have gone there in the first place, but that we also pretend we can trust these devastated nations to secure the region after we leave. We've had similar outbreaks in Khandahar, Afghanistan in 2008 and 2011.
Perhaps instead of hunting them down again, we could just arm them and have them join the Sunni rebels fighting in Syria? Our weapons are already making it into the hands of jihadists there, where some of the rebels have declared their loyalty to the Al-Qaeda cause. So it seems we're continuing to generate, finance, and weaponize all of our future enemies with our misguided foreign policies.
It also merits mentioning that the orchestration of this massive offensive, including recruitment of militants, weapon purchases, and organization of an attack strategy, was not at all caught by the NSA's over-reaching communication surveillance. If our enemy is purposefully utilizing antiquated communication techniques (like letter-writing) to avoid technological traces, doesn't that just reaffirm the notion that programs like the NSA's PRISM act as superficial facades of security, and have no use other than to violate the privacy of countless American citizens?