June 13, 2014 | Quote

Iraq War Vets Angry, Distraught as Insurgents Gain Ground

Veterans of the Iraq War and their families are watching with dismay and alarm as Sunni insurgents overrun large swaths of Iraq, including cities like Mosul, where hundreds of U.S. troops died.

“I completely disagreed with the decision to walk away from Iraq,” said former Army Sgt. Kenneth Mancanares. “Now, to be honest, I’m trying to think if there’s even a way I could get back out there. I’m sure there are a lot of guys feeling that way. I really wish that I could sign up on something tomorrow and join a volunteer group that’s going there to stand up for these people.”

Mancanares spent more than two years in Iraq, first in Ramadi and then in Baghdad.

The Sunni Islamic extremist group that has taken Mosul and other parts of Iraq is called Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, the successor to the al-Qaida group that battled U.S. troops, said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a fellow at the Foundation of Defense for Democracies. While ISIS shares al-Qaida’s ideology and brutality, it was formally expelled from al-Qaida in February over disagreements on tactics and leadership.

“In terms of core ideological goals, there is a lot of similarity rather than difference, but in the world of jihadism, similar goals don’t necessarily mean that organizations will work harmoniously,” he said.

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