ISIS, a radical fundamentalist group that is undoubtedly a terrorist cell gaining immense power throughout the Middle East has become the new focal point of mainstream media and the Obama administration as the next great threat to national security. How you ask, has ISIS been able to make such gains? Well that’s easy, it’s because of the United States. Yes, you read that right, and redundantly the United States has yet again created a new enemy for itself.
Before we can understand the current crisis with ISIS in Iraq, a bit of background information is required to understand why ISIS is the way it is. 1963, the year Sadam Hussein rose to power to in Iraq did so after overthrowing the Qassem regime with help from CIA. With this rise to power, for decades that followed Hussein would wage genocide against the Kurdish people living within Iraq. Fast forward to the late 1980’s, Iran and Iraq begin a border dispute the ends in an all-out war. To fund the war, and arm his soldiers Hussein received heavy funding from the U.S. government, money and weaponry that he would later use on his own people.
Following the Iran-Iraq war came the Persian Gulf War, where estimates of civilian casualties in Iraq range from thousands to almost 200 thousand. At the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. saw a new president, Bill Clinton. Under Clinton starting in 1993, he issued new sanctions against Iraq and Hussein’s regime. Under these sanctions, Iraq was denied food and medical supplies resulting in widespread famines and health epidemics. The official total of children who lost their lives during these sanctions was over half a million. Then U.S. ambassador, Madeleine Albright, when asked if the sanctions were worth the price of the lives lost, replied with “of course the price was worth it.”
The next attack in Iraq ca,eas a direct result of the U.S. came in 2003 with George W. Bush’s Operation Iraqi “Freedom.” It is estimate that on the first night of bombings in Baghdad, as the nation watched on national television hundreds of Iraqi civilians lost their lives. Possibly one of the biggest horrors of Iraq’s history and the largest number of recorded deformities since the nuclear murder of Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened in Fallujah as depleted uranium and white phosphorous bombs were used on this Iraq city leaving over a thousand civilians dead and thousands more deformed and rapidly developing cancers, again including innocent children. All in all the total documented loss of Iraqi life in this conflict reaches 150,000 and many more undocumented.
It’s important to remember that throughout these tragic losses of life, each one of individuals murdered by individuals just doing their job for government, had family members, and friends, and when they are murdered by deplorable acts violence sometimes those loved ones respond with violence and can be manipulated into believing violence is the only solution to the immense pain they feel. And if you think that’s extremism just remember all the calls for revenge and bloodshed after 9/11. Although violence is never excusable, it’s a reaction that isn’t subjected to a single religion.
So where did all of ISIS’s resources come from? How did they become such a heavily armed and well trained entity? Well, once again we can thank the ever-so wise U.S. government. Remember the rebels fighting to take over Libya and overthrow Gaddafi? Well part of those Libyan rebels were ISIS. In Syria, of the hundreds of rebel forces fighting a civil war, those received aid were again ISIS. Even John McCain on a trip to Syria snapped a picture with the terrorist cell and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi, that he now calls a dangerous threat, eerily similar to 1980’s photo of Donald Rumsfeld with Sadam Hussein.
Let’s also not forget, that three years since the troop withdrawal Iraq in December of 2011, there had been widespread violence, terrorism, and massive civilian casualties. It was not until recently when ISIS began seizing oil fields in Iraq that had just been conquered by the U.S. Let this be a lesson to the world. You can mess with the civilians of a population they just “free’d,” but don’t you dare mess with their oil that they just killed millions to secure.
As the saying goes, “History repeats itself,” history has yet again repeated itself. And like the mistake the U.S. made armed and training Al-Qaeda in the 1980’s to fight the soviets, they have yet again created another giant enemy for themselves.
Christopher Monko is a fourth-year student at West Chester University. He can be reached at CM821472@wcupa.edu.