Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki has urgently requested U.S. air strikes against the jihadist insurgents taking city after city on the road to Baghdad.

"But Iraq's appeals for a military response have so far been rebuffed by the White House, which has been reluctant to open a new chapter in a conflict that President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011," according to the New York Times.

Without U.S. help, it's doubtful that Maliki's regime can last more than a few months because the American-trained and equipped Iraqi security forces appear to be no match for the insurgents.

U.S. blood and billions wasted

A total of 4,486 Americans died in Iraq between 2003 and 2012 when Obama summarily withdrew U.S. forces.

That withdrawal followed the breakdown of Obama's negotiations with Maliki over the terms of a proposed residual U.S. peace-keeping force in Iraq.

Estimates of what the U.S. spent on the war in Iraq range as high as $2 trillion, but could reach triple that amount in the years ahead as medical costs of caring for veterans from the conflict mount.

And for what?

President George W. Bush liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in 2003 and spent the following five years nurturing what was hoped would become a democratic U.S. ally in the Middle East.

When Bush left office in 2009, it appeared that the U.S. effort had succeeded, however tenuously, and could be consolidated in the years ahead, much as happened in South Korea.

But that was not to be, as Obama, according to critics like former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, used the collapse of negotiations on the residual force as the occasion to simply declare victory and leave.

And now, according to The Telegraph (UK), "an orgy of kidnappings and executions, forcing an exodus of more than half a million people" has begun in Iraq as the insurgents prepare to move on Baghdad.

On today's

Editorial: Lesson for the GOP from Cantor's loss is stop talking, start doing.

Watchdog/Mark Flatten: Lawmakers say Veterans Affairs issued gag orders to execs, engaged in criminal cover-ups.

Watchdog/Richard Pollock: Obama's first union endorsement in 2008 pays off for an Obamacare co-op in Nevada.

Columnists/David Freddoso: Dave Brat's win reminds us of what the Tea Party is and what it isn't.

Columnists/Jed Babbin: Why does President Obama want to empower Hamas?

Columnists/Cal Thomas: Democrats are ready for Hillary but is Hillary ready for 2016?

Columnists/Austin Bay: Clash with Vietnam could spawn new anti-China coalition.

Columnists/Terence Jeffrey: Has al Qaeda won the Iraq war?

Columnists/John Stossel: Libertarians and conservatives on the military.

Conservatives/Michelle Malkin: Obama using military bases for illegal immigrant dumping grounds.

Op-eds/Joseph A. Morris: Obama has achieved a Reaganauts long-ago dream of turning "the best and brightest" away from the federal government.

Beltway Confidential/Byron York: In Bowe Bergdahl hearing, Hagel hedged the tough questions.

Beltway Confidential/Timothy P. Carney: Cantor's loss pummels Boeing stock as Ex-Im renewal imperiled.

PennAve/Susan Ferrechio: The surprising winners of Obama's student loan program.

Legal Newsline/David Yates: California treasurer candidate got campaign money from firm he hired.

In other news

The Washington Post: Insurgents aim for Baghdad as Iraq security forces collapse.

CBS News: Bergdahl's writing gives glimpse of inner turmoil.

NBC News: U.S. drone strike kills 10 suspected terrorists in Pakistan.

Righty Playbook

American Thinker: Will America ever be forgiven for slavery?

Washington Free Beacon: State Department confirms that Iran is selling oil to Syria.

The American Spectator: Dave Brat and the return of the U.S. Constitution.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: Hillary Clinton, driver of wedges.

Lefty Playbook

New Republic: A dress code, Bible readings and crushes on Dave Brat.

Salon: There's really nothing left to argue on gun control.

New York: Iraq requests U.S. air strikes after insurgents seize major cities.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: Cantor's loss could doom voting rights.

Blog Right

Wizbang: To Democrats, Republicans are terrorists, but the Taliban is just fine.

Jammie Wearing Fools: U.S. spy agencies heard Benghazi attackers using State Department phones to call terrorist leaders.

Althouse: How the Democrats are leveraging Cantor's loss.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: U.S. back into Iraq?

Talk Left: Circuit Court rules warrant required for cell phone locator data.

Hullabaloo: Don't look now but Iraq seems to be falling apart.