Same Enemy, New War

Mark Danner explains his portent 11 year old essay

President Obama has vowed to continue the fight against Islamic fundamentalism.  However, he wanted to mark a departure from the Bush era tactics which many blame for the current rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant by a protracted discreet campaign aimed at “degrading” and “destroying” the Islamic group.  While this seems like a relief, that Obama will not commit men and women to the deserts of the Middle East, reporter Mark Danner wrote in a 2003 essay that the destruction of Saddam Hussain’s regime created ISIS and created a “warm Petri dish” for the creation of the modern insurgency.  Obama may think that ISIS is just a result of the power vacuum left behind by two strongmen, but perhaps he should begin seeing ISIS as another potential insurgency in the making.

As a journalist on the ground in Baghdad, Danner described the war in Iraq as a conflict especially instilled with political fervor in his essay “Iraq: The New War”.  The quick victory allowed Bush to declare a western domination of a savage eastern nation, but did not take into mind the international ramification of the conflict.  The battleground became one punctuated by a loose affiliation of indigenous resistance that possessed a technical proficiency in the art of war due to their time in the recently disbanded army and the support and manpower garnered by sympathizers in the muslim world.   The false accusations of WMDs and the attack on the way of lives of unconnected muslims and Iraqis created more hostility to the West.  Danner points to this political folly as an origins of ISIS, a political blunder that awoken the fury of a whole region, mobilized fighters and financiers, and isolated regional allies.

Al-Qaeda had no delusions that they could defeat the U.S. but hoped to provide the world with constant images of American brutalization of Muslims, while showing their strength and destroy the American will to fight, Danner says.  He states that de-ba’athification and disbanding the Iraqi army enraged and insulted locals.  This occupation was the child of these missteps.