BOISE -- Islamic militants who seized cities and towns vowed Thursday to march on Baghdad to settle old scores, joined by Saddam Hussein-era loyalists, and other disaffected Sunnis capitalizing on the government's political paralysis over the biggest threat to Iraq's stability since the U.S. withdrawal.
Trumpeting their victory, the militants also declared they would impose Shariah law in Mosul and other areas they have captured.
Three planeloads of Americans were being evacuated from a major Iraqi air base in Sunni territory north of Baghdad, U.S. officials said, and Germany urged its citizens to immediately leave parts of Iraq, including Baghdad.
KTVB spoke to two Iraq veterans living in the Treasure Valley about their experiences, and what they think needs to be done to stabilize Iraq.
It took an injury on the battlefield is get Retired Staff Sergeant George Nickel to leave Iraq. Nickel is part of the Idaho Veterans Network, and goes to meetings to chat with and mentor other vets. Although he is here in the United States, a part of his mind is still in Iraq.
Even though I'm out, I still keep my head in the game, I know what's going on over there, and it is aggravating because we did lose some really good guys, and at times it does feel like it was for nothing, said Nickel.
Nickel and fellow veteran Retired Staff Sergeant John Greene were not surprised to hear about the problems in Iraq.
It was no shock, said Nickel. There was no surprise to it, it was just a matter of time.
The job wasn't finished, and the whole job was to get them on their feet so they can take care of themselves, said Greene. We should have left a residual force, so when something would start happening they had more support, and they could keep going because they were a fledgling nation from that point on.
Greene and Nickel said the United States should do something to help the government in Iraq, including sending troops.
I would go back in a heartbeat because the mission wasn't done, and I don't like leaving something undone especially like that, Greene said. We lost a lot of guys, no sense for them to be lost for nothing.
President Barack Obama said Iraq will need more help from the United States, but he did not specify what it would be willing to provide. Senior U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name, said Washington is considering whether to conduct drone missions in Iraq.