The Islamic State is an egregiously violent movement that’s looking to overthrow governments in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and elsewhere. It’s a Sunni dominated version of Islamic governance that’s proven itself quite willing to commit genocidal acts. But is the U.S. at all responsible for its creation or did the Islamic State come into being on its own? Attached below is a video interview with Mark Danner, a journalist who predicted in mid-2003 that, because of flawed policies undertaken by the Bush43 Administration in Iraq, the insurgency would grow into something like the Islamic State.
Before watching this it’s useful to review some history – and why is this a topic for The Long Tail Pipe.
WHY did the U.S. invaded Iraq? It was to ensure Western Oil Companies would have access to Iraq’s oil reserves. Hence, the Iraq invasion was one of the episodes in the decades-long Oil War between the major powers.
If Danner is correct, the Islamic State is a result of America’s addiction to oil, and the ongoing oil war resulting from that addiction.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 didn’t have anything to do with the Sept. 11, 2001 attack in New York City. The Iraqi government had nothing to do with that attack, it was perpetrated by Saudi nationals living in Afghanistan. There was no presence of al Qaeda in Iraq before the U.S. invasion. The weapons of mass destruction, the chemical weapons, etc, that Colin Powell went to the UN Security Council in Feb. 2003, promising that Iraq was doing all that dangerous stuff? It didn’t exist, and I believe the U.S. Government knew that stuff didn’t exist, putting Colin Powell into the position of lying to the Security Council.
Would it be too much of a distraction to ask which is the worse lie? “I did not have sex with that woman” or the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Powell/etc warnings of mushroom clouds and horrific chemical or biological weapons? Let’s not get distracted by that – we have a big problem present right now, one that stems from that period.
The point I want make is that the March 2003 invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the publicly stated reasons. No mushroom clouds or chemical weapons were possible because Iraq wasn’t doing any of the things Powell et al claimed was happening. But, during the 1990’s the “Neocon’s” (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, who were to enter service in the Bush Administration) were pushing for a Pax Americana plan. That with the Fall of the Soviet Union, America was the remaining Superpower, and that it was our Moral Duty to use our Superpowers to fight evil and impose peace all around the world. Or, more specifically, use our might to impose a New World Order that benefitted the needs of Western Powers such as the U.S.
One of those plans was to first topple the Iraq government and establish a moderate Democracy in the center of the Middle East. By doing so, moderate democratic ideals would radiate out to the rest of the Middle East. After regime change in Iraq, the next targets would be either Iran or Syria depending on how the chips fell, again replacing unfriendly regimes with moderate Democracies. As if you could install democracy by pointing guns at people.
An additional purpose for invading Iraq was that Iraq has/had the 2nd largest oil reserves in the world. But those oil reserves weren’t being efficiently exploited, because of government controlled oil companies, and the Western powers wanted to change Iraq’s oil laws so that Western oil companies could freely operate in Iraq.
Now we can start talking about Mark Danner’s thesis … that he wrote in July 2003, publishing it in the New York Review of Books. (at around the same time I wrote a long blog post fact-checking Colin Powell’s UN Security Council appearance, and called for the Impeachment of GW Bush)
His claim: American policy during the Iraq War in many ways effectively helped incite what was then an emerging insurgency. That insurgency could have fizzled, but for certain things that Danner warned would give that insurgency free reign, and which did so as those things indeed happened.
Some of his points:
There was a de-Baathification of Iraq, and a disbanding of Iraq’s army. That put 400,000+ soldiers and a bunch of powerful people outside the government, leaving them to their own devices, and shamed by having been fired.
There was no effort made to heal the Sunni/Shia split. Instead it was expected the Sunni minority who had previously led the government would willingly accept a Shia majority government without a fight.
Torture of Iraqi’s by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere – electrical shock – water boarding – etc – that gave al Qaeda the images for recruitment posters. It gave the people the righteous anger that this invader, the U.S., was harming Iraq and had to be expelled.
Misstep after misstep occurred in Iraq. The fight went on for several very violent years in Iraq, while we at home went on with shopping (as Bush43 told us to do on Sept. 12, 2001) and inventing newfangled distractions (opiates for the masses) like Facebook or wardrobe malfunction scandals.
The people who staffed al Qaeda In Iraq were the former army and political leaders who’d been pushed out. While the insurgency died down thanks to the “surge”, when the U.S. pulled out of Iraq a couple years ago that left the insurgency free to operate. Eventually they became too violent for al Qaeda’s taste, and the Islamic State was born.
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