When Ivy Ziedrich, a nineteen-year-old college student, approached Jeb Bush on the campaign trail and zinged him with “Your brother created ISIS!” the media ate it up and the video went viral. Ms. Ziedrich, a member of the College Democrats, talks very fast, and she managed to utter the following diatribe before Jeb could get in a word edgewise:
“You stated that ISIS was created because we don’t have enough presence and we’ve been pulling out of the Middle East. However, the threat of ISIS was created by the Iraqi coalition authority, which ousted the entire government of Iraq. It was when 30,000 individuals who are part of the Iraqi military were forced out. They had no employment, they had no income, yet they were left with access to all the same arms and weapons. Your brother created ISIS!”
Poor Jeb! Being even less informed than his ambusher, he could only “respectfully disagree” and reiterate the neocon party line: if only we’d kept more troops in longer ISIS wouldn’t have coalesced. “You can rewrite history all you want,” he said, with a sigh, “but the simple fact is we’re in a much more unstable place because America pulled back.”
The media homed in on this incident because they’re still blaming Bush and the Republicans for the Iraq war, while ignoring the key role played by Democrats – Hillary Clinton and her husband come to mind – in ginning up that disaster. So in that sense Jeb is correct when he says they’re rewriting history, albeit not quite in the way he imagines.
Ms. Diedrich is wrong about ISIS: the idea that its foot soldiers are mostly former members of the Iraqi military is unlikely, although there are some former officers in the higher echelons. The vast majority of its fighters have been recruited from throughout the Middle East (and Europe) from the ranks of radical Islamists. More importantly, the Islamic State metastasized in Syria, not Iraq, and this is the key in assigning responsibility.
Categories: Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy