Arlington West, the memorial on the beach in Santa Barbara is no longer being set up, but if it were, the timeline beside the crosses should say “ISIS/ISIL occupies Iraq and Syria” because the phenomenon of the Islamic State fighters is a direct result of President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Many ISIS commanders are former officers of Saddam’s military, which was disbanded and its soldiers sent home with their weapons.

Torture and abuse of prisoners under President Bush is still cited as a reason for joining ISIS by new recruits, and victims of the recent execution of Americans were dressed in orange uniforms like those in the prisons where Arab detainees have been kept. But this is not the first or only example of U.S. intervention gone bad.

When the U.S.A. intervened in Afghanistan to defeat the Soviets, we were allies with Osama bin Laden. Most of the fighters now comprising ISIS were supported by the U.S.A. in order to defeat the Syrian forces loyal to Assad and force him out of power. There is a long history of U.S. interventions that have created or supported a future enemy. I fought in a war against former U.S. military assets and allies: Ho Chi Minh and General Giap in Vietnam.


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