When I was supreme allied commander at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, we had a small training mission in Iraq. U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration was in the process of drawing down the massive U.S. troop presence there, which peaked at around 170,000.

I visited Baghdad, and spoke at length with the general running the mission, Bob Caslen. He emphasized that we could reduce our presence by 90 percent — which we did — but that it would be prudent to keep a minimum of 15,000 troops “in country” to maintain stability and counter Iranian influence. Unfortunately, the Obama administration continued the withdrawals, and over time the lack of U.S. presence contributed to the rise of the so-called Islamic State and ever-increasing Iranian influence in the Iraqi government and military.

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