Conspiracy Theorist: 3/31

ISIS rising

By Mark Luedtke

Syria, Iraq and Libya have two important things in common from a U.S. policy perspective. First, all were relatively stable countries until the U.S. intervened in them. While none of the rulers of these countries were good guys, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld sold weapons to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to help him fight Iran during the 1980s. Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi surrendered his nuclear program to Bush the Younger’s administration. Syrian President Bashar Assad was a U.S. ally during Bush the Elder’s Gulf War. Now only Assad is alive, and the U.S. is trying to kill him too. That’s why they say it’s dangerous to be a U.S. ally. The second thing these countries have in common is the Islamic State (ISIS) is taking them over in the wake of U.S. interventions. This is a terrible pattern, and the lesson we should learn is U.S. interventions always make things worse – so we should stop them.

The problem is much bigger than these three countries and ISIS. Osama bin Laden was once an ally of the U.S., which armed him to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. I doubt anybody outside the hallowed halls of government would say 9/11 was a price worth paying for intervening in Afghanistan and subsequently in the first Gulf War. For as long as the U.S. has been intervening in the affairs of others, Americans and the people in targeted countries suffer blowback from those interventions. It’s never the rulers who order the interventions who suffer. It’s always the people.

UT San Diego reports, “The war in Syria has plunged 80 percent of its people into poverty, reduced life expectancy by 20 years, and led to massive economic losses estimated at over $200 billion since the conflict began in 2010, according to a U.N.-backed report circulated Wednesday.”

Syria never did anything to the U.S., but horrific consequences of U.S. interventions like these motivate people who previously had no grudge against Americans to become terrorists and attack us.

ISIS didn’t exist in 2003. ISIS was originally named al Qaeda in Iraq, spawned in 2004 by the U.S. invasion of Iraq. You might remember the moniker AQI and that U.S. troops killed its brutal leader Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi in 2006.

Back then, the opportunistic organization decided it was better to fight on the same side as the U.S. than against it, so it joined the U.S.-backed revolution against Syria. By doing so, its fighters were able to obtain money, equipment including heavy weapons, and training from the U.S. and its allies. By being among the fiercest fighters in Syria, ISIS attracted the best equipment and fighters from the other rebel groups, also trained, equipped and financed by the U.S. and its allies, until it became the military force it is today and turned toward Baghdad. ISIS is 100 percent made in the USA.

Now ISIS has spread to Libya, where the U.S. previously allied with the local al Qaeda affiliate to oust Gaddafi and turn the country into a terrorist haven. Boko Haram in Nigeria has sworn allegiance to ISIS. ISIS is fighting for the U.S.-backed government in Ukraine, another product of U.S. intervention.

That’s why the threat of terrorism against Americans keeps getting worse. The Washington Post reports, “In congressional testimony recently, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. went beyond the usual litany of threats to say that terrorism trend lines were worse ‘than at any other point in history.’”

If you believe reducing or eliminating terrorism is the goal of the War on Terror, you must admit it’s a failure. The longer the war on terror goes, the worse the terrorist threat becomes. Clapper admitted it. It’s uncontroversial. Knowing this as they all do because Clapper told them, if reducing or eliminating terrorism was the goal of the War on Terror, our rulers would end it. That’s the only way to win. But they won’t because the War on Terror was never about reducing or eliminating terrorism. Our rulers profit from terrorism. The War on Terror has always been about further empowering and enriching our rulers at our expense, and at that, it’s a fantastic success. Scaring voters and war profiteering makes our rich rulers richer.

But ISIS is no great threat to Americans. Americans are 55 times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist.

The way to defeat ISIS is for the U.S. to withdraw from the region. The people in the Middle East are tired of being killed by weapons stamped “Made in the USA”. ISIS is the most effective fighting force rebelling against U.S. interventions, so it attracts followers who hate America. Twenty-thousand foreigners so far. Without the U.S. to rail against, ISIS will burn itself out. Regional powers like Iran won’t tolerate it. The longer the U.S. fights ISIS, the more established it will become, making it more powerful and more likely to last.

But withdrawing will not happen soon. The 2016 presidential race will be between warmonger A and warmonger B. The terrorists will win. The people will lose.

Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Mark Luedtke
Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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