Secretary of State John Kerry needs to "start dealing with reality," realize that "Iraq is done," and work on solutions that are in the best interests of the United States, said retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters.
Kerry was in Baghdad on Monday to meet with Iraqi officials to discuss how to battle Islamist militant insurgents who have taken over broad areas of the country. Peters said it was "ill service" for the State Department to obsess "with lines on a map."
"John Kerry needs to start dealing with reality," Peters, who is retired from the U.S. Army, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Tuesday. "Kerry is running all over Iraq trying to persuade the various players to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Iraq is done. Finished. Gone. It's over."
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Militants with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have taken over enough territory in Iraq for it to be "irretrievably broken," Peters said, adding that the "hatreds are too deep" among the various tribal sects in Iraq for repair to be possible.
Instead of "trying to cobble together some remnant of Iraq and its current borders," Peters said the United States needs to "shape what the wreckage is going look like."
"We need to concentrate, not on what is in the interests of this dreadful and, frankly, anti-American Baghdad government. We need to concentrate on what is in our interest. And, our interests are in protecting United States against Islamist fanatics," he said.
It is no longer a question of preventing a war that would be contained in Iraq, Peters said, because the conflict has spread and is now "raging throughout the Arab Middle East and beyond."
Peters said the administration of President Barack Obama has "mismanaged Iraq" so badly that the best outcome would be a "new Ba'athist government," which he said includes "old cronies" of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
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