In an exclusive report Thursday on al Qaeda's resurgence in Iraq, ABC's Martha Raddatz ignored President Obama's boast in 2012 that "al Qaeda is on the path to defeat." Raddatz's story aired on Thursday's ABC World News. In fact, the name "Obama" never came up in the story on Iraq falling apart.
President Obama made his claim at the Democratic National Convention during the height of his re-election campaign. Raddatz's story painted a very different picture of al Qaeda, however, as anchor David Muir introduced it: "America's biggest enemy making its return tonight. And where? Iraq."
"Now, with U.S. forces gone, America's ambassador tells us Fallujah has fallen to an al Qaeda that is now rising across this country," Raddatz soberly reported.
She also told of how "violence has spilled across the country" and quoted the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq calling the situation "precarious." Raddatz added that "the ambassador says Americans back home should be very concerned about what's happening here."
In the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, President Obama touted the end of the Iraq war and his success against al Qaeda:
"In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline; al Qaeda is on the path to defeat; and Osama bin Laden is dead."
Below is a transcript of the segment:
[6:35 p.m. EST]
DAVID MUIR: In the meantime, we turn overseas tonight to an ABC exclusive. America's biggest enemy making its return tonight. And where? Iraq. Al Qaeda taking over the very city where we saw the biggest American losses during the Iraq war. And tonight, American weapons on the way? ABC's chief foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, in Iraq, where she was stopped herself, too dangerous to keep going.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC News chief foreign affairs correspondent: (voice over) When the sun goes down in Baghdad, this is what happens. The American military moves in. ABC News obtained these images. A massive American cargo jet delivering weapons to Iraqi military partners. 2,400 rockets to arm Iraqi attack helicopters, in an all-out war against al Qaeda. A war al Qaeda is winning. The battleground's familiar. Fallujah, where so many Americans fought, and died, face after face, giving their lives. Now, with U.S. forces gone, America's ambassador tells us Fallujah has fallen to an al Qaeda that is now rising across this country.
ROBERT S. BEECROFT, U.S. ambassador to Iraq: We're in a very precarious situation. They're capable of serious assaults.
RADDATZ: (on camera) Do you know approximately how many number of al Qaeda are there in Ramadi?
BEECROFT: A lot of people are saying these days you've got around 2,000 in the country. Hardcore.
RADDATZ: (voice over) An astonishing number.
(On camera) Fallujah is really not far from Baghdad. We wanted to see how close we could get.
(Voice over) It would not be far. Iraqi forces are ringing the city with checkpoints and armored vehicles.
(On camera) About five miles out of Fallujah, the roads became far more desolate. And Iraqi security forces warned us we should not go any further.
(Voice over) And the violence has spilled across the country. In Baghdad, bombings here have killed more than 700 people in just the past month, more than double the number last year.
(On camera) All two bombings here?
(Voice over) The Jibouli family has lost three sons.
(On camera) All your sons gone.
(Voice over) The oldest son leaving behind three little ones. The Jiboulis tell us if they could leave tomorrow, they would. And the ambassador says Americans back home should be very concerned about what's happening here.
BEECROFT: It's very much in our interest to have an Iraq that is stable, and not to have sectarian conflict or an al Qaeda presence that can be used to destabilize the rest of the region and potentially, at some point, as a platform to attack targets beyond the region.
(End Video Clip)
RADDATZ:: Which is why here in Baghdad, David, the U.S. will soon be sending not just small arms, but tank shells and hellfire missiles.
MUIR: Martha Raddatz reporting in from Iraq tonight. Martha, thank you.