Gov. Jeb Bush blamed President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the rise of the bloodthirsty Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) because they abandoned the policies of his brother, President George W. Bush.
In fact, Obama and Clinton contributed to the rise of ISIS by following the policies of George W. Bush.
The Islamic State’s predecessor, Al Qaeda, had no presence in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Al Qaeda and later ISIS were able to establish themselves in Iraq because the U.S. invasion destroyed the governmental structure of Iraq, and nobody was able to put it back together again.
But didn’t the withdrawal of American forces open the door to ISIS? Whether it did or not, the withdrawal was begun under an agreement negotiated by President George W. Bush in his last year in office with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The reason for the agreement was that the American occupation was highly unpopular in both countries.
Realizing this, President Bush stopped listening to Vice President Dick Cheney and replaced Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates. President Barack Obama retained Gates and implemented the Bush agreement.
President Obama’s most important foreign policy innovation was to make interventionism politically sustainable by finding a substitute for American boots on the ground—flying killer drones, Special Forces assassination teams and subsidies for Arab fighters.
During the 14 years since the 9/11 attacks, radical Islamist terrorists have grown stronger, and they gave grown strongest in those countries in which the U.S. military has been most active. This includes Libya, which Hillary Clinton reduced to the same state of bloody chaos and ISIS-friendly environment as Iraq.
She and Jeb Bush are both war hawks. She is the more experienced and knowledgeable war hawk, but there is no reason to think either would change the bad course of American foreign policy.
Memo to Jeb Bush: It was W’s surge that created ISIL, not Hillary by Juan Cole for Informed Comment.
Republicans Can’t Face the Truth About Iraq by Eric Margolis via Unz Review. [Added 8/16/2015]
George Bush didn’t know anything about Maliki, but put him in charge of Iraq anyway by Zack Beauchamp for Vox.
The Planned Destruction of Libya by John Wight for Counterpunch.
Hillary, the Ultimate Hawk by David French for National Review.