From Point A to Point B Author: BobRDate:2014-08-28 10:47:27
The recent murder of an American journalist in Iraq is not unprecedented, as a visit to the Newseum in DC will show. Journalists have paid the ultimate price for many years while exercising an American 1st Amendment right here - but mostly abroad. More troubling is the news that an American died fighting alongside his ISIS compadres. There has been criticism of President Obama's handling of the Middle East, but the die was cast years ago.
To the casual observer, ISIS - the Islamic terrorist group - is just another flavor of al-Qaeda. They are - in fact - enemies. ISIS is a Sunni group; al-Qaeda is Wahhabi. The current government of Iraq is mostly Shiite, the same as Iran. If you think of The Troubles in Ireland as Protestant battled Catholic, you'll get a better understanding of what's going in in the Middle East.
One of the big questions is where did ISIS come from, and how did they get so powerful so fast? To answer that, we need to look back to 2003.
When the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 occurred, the leadership in Iraq was the Baath Party, which was essentially Sunni Muslim. In an attempt to purge the leadership of the power structure loyal to Saddam Hussein, the U.S. "policy advisors" in Iraq outlawed the Baath Party, and the army was disbanded. In its place, the US installed a Shiite leader, and tried (apparently in vain) to build a new army from scratch.
And what of the now suddenly unemployed highly-trained Sunni muslims? They were angry, broke, and desperate, with a (valid) animosity to the new ruling party in Iraq. They found allies in another disempowered group of Sunnis in Syria, fighting the power structure there.
But back in Iraq, it was a military contractor's wet dream. No-bid open-ended cost-plus contracts allowed companies like Halliburton and KBR to milk the American taxpayers for billions of dollars while they wrote off trucks with a broken fan belt as "disabled" so they could charge for yet another brand new truck. The landscape became littered with perfectly good vehicles and equipment that anyone with a modicum of know-how could get working again.
So in a confluence of a multi-faceted blowback situation, we have a highly-trained force of suddenly unemployed soldiers looking to regain their power and money, equipped with salvaged American firepower (and taking more as the so-called Iraqi "troops" dropped their weapons and ran at the first provocation), and money stolen from Iraqi banks, as well as support from their Syrian counterparts ("freedom fighters") who have been funded and supplied by interests looking to overthrow the Syrian regime. Everything we do is more gasoline on the fire.
When you think about the bombing that occurred in Boston last year, as well as the death of an American fighting with ISIS this past week, it's easy to see how our hubris and tone-deaf foreign policy of intervention in the Middle East could well result in more death and destruction here at home. With that much money, and that much anger at us for our meddling, it will be a lot easier for them to recruit and fund Americans disillusioned with our government.
Instead of Ali Babba, the next attack could come from All Y'all Bubba. It's not out of the question. The question instead should be: when do we stop pumping money and weapons into a region of tribal conflicts that are none of our business? The blowback is only going to get worse, the more we try to correct it. It's time to stop.