America Helped Make the Islamic State

International By: Tad Lumpkin 4:19 pm

(Vice)- History seems to start just before every humanitarian intervention, the full and often compromising account of what led to the latest war in some place where they are always fighting—the record of who killed who with weapons from which government—lost amid the deafening roar of Western self-satisfaction, the world’s ostensibly do-gooding imperial powers relishing the opportunity to be admired as simple concerned bystanders who could stand by no more. Whenever an altruistic set of airstrikes begins, the average news consumer—and I called my mother to check—is left with the impression that bombs are being dropped on bad people who are doing bad things (no one really knows why) by good people trying to do their best.

So it is with Iraq, where once again the dropping of explosive ordinance is being reported on in humanitarian terms with little in the way of historical context. “Obama authorizes airstrikes in Iraq to stop genocide,” reports a headline in USA Today, the newspaper you read when on vacation. The story provides some basic facts on the Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group that has taken over much of Northern Iraq and nearly all of Syria’s oil fields, but we learn little about its motivations, how it came to be and what role those who now want to bomb it may have played in its creation. What we learn, courtesy of President Barack Obama, is that “America is coming to help.”

It warms the heart, this altruistic offer of help from the leader of a nation-state motivated by rational self-interest, but what’s left out—what’s always left out—is any real context. What led us to this particular moment in time? Was there anything that the benevolent governments in the West maybe did before, like perhaps kill a half-million or more people in Iraq, that would drive so many people to an Islamic militant group? To ask is to be anti-American, or at least a huge buzzkill, but the answer is unequivocal: yes, yes, at-least-half-a-million-times yes. The US absolutely created the problem it’s now courageously “coming to help” solve, and that it created that problem by dropping lots of bombs should trouble those who now argue that dropping some more is somehow a serious solution.

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SOURCE: America Helped Make the Islamic State

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