The usual conservative story is that it's Obama's fault. He took all the troops out of Iraq, and that's why we have ISIS. (Examples: typical versus more intelligent than usual.) The usual Dem counterpoint is that Bush destabilized the region.
Why isn't someone pointing to players in the Middle East? I doubt that Obama was involved in financing and developing the recruiting strategies. So who was?
This story fits into the narrative that the US is so strong it can do anything or prevent anything, if only we were cognizant and had the will to act. Any failure in the world can be laid at our feet because of something we did wrong or something we should have done right but didn't.
In the case of ISIS, I reject that thinking. The Sunni paymasters have put together jihadi force after jihadi force. I'm not sure how we're supposed to prevent that, short of taking over the oil-rich Gulf states. A bunch of rich Saudi/Gulf guys support jihadis in Afghanistan, and that's good, Then they support a bunch called Al Queda, and that's bad. Then they support a bunch called ISIS and it's bad. However, the pattern time after time is A BUNCH OF SAUDI/GULF GUYS SUPPORTING JIHADIS. Doesn't that tell us how this happens?
It's true that maybe we should have foreseen that the 'Arab spring' uprising in Syria against Assad was going to be an opportunity for the rich Gulf guys to raise another jihadi army. Maybe we became too enamored of the Arab spring idea, and the many brave Syrians fighting for freedom. Maybe we missed all the signs that it was a civil war that would attract outside money that would mushroom beyond Syria. Or maybe there were hopeful, optimistic reasons why we didn't foresee it. Not every Arab spring uprising has turned into a jihadi murder-fest. Tunisia didn't (not yet, at least). Egypt didn't. So we had hope for Syria, and we were wrong. Does that make it our fault?
I don't think so. There were Syrians fighting against Assad. Money and fighters were flowing into Syria, and hardly any of it was from the US. So why is it our fault? Assad wasn't our puppet. The rebels weren't our proxy fighters, dependent on the US. No, the conflict would have developed the same way, regardless of what the US did .. unless we chose to level the entire country. Then it might have gone differently.
But bombing a country out of existence isn't a good tactical or strategic choice. Well, it isn't the usual choice. Has any government tried it and found that it works? Not that I know of. I don't particularly want the US to be the trailblazer of that strategy, do you?
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