'Huge Error': Former US Military Chief Admits Iraq Invasion Spawned ISIS
The U.S. is poised to repeat all the same mistakes in Syria that it made in Iraq after 9/11, says former head of Defense Intelligence Agency
'Huge Error': Former US Military Chief Admits Iraq Invasion Spawned ISIS
By Nadia Prupis / commondreams.org
Dec 1, 2015
The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq fueled the creation of the Islamic State (ISIS) today and must serve as a warning against similar rash military intervention in Syria, a former U.S. intelligence chief said in an interview with German media on Sunday.

"When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, 'Where did those bastards come from? Let's go kill them. Let's go get them.' Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from," former U.S. special forces chief Mike Flynn, who also served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), told Der Spiegel. "Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction."

In recent weeks, ISIS has claimed responsibility for attacks in Lebanon and Paris and the bombing of a Russian airplane over the Sinai peninsula, which together killed hundreds of people. Following the attacks, French President François Hollande vowed a "merciless" response against the group in Syria and Iraq—a statement that prompted comparisons between Hollande and former U.S. President George W. Bush in the wake of 9/11.

Echoing long-held arguments made by other experts, Flynn said Sunday that increased airstrikes and other offensives could be seen as an attempt to "invade or even own Syria," and that the fight against militant groups like ISIS will only succeed or make progress through collaborative efforts with both Western and Arab nations. "Our message must be that we want to help and that we will leave once the problems have been solved. The Arab nations must be on our side."

Otherwise, the U.S. is poised to repeat all its past mistakes, he said.

Der Spiegel's Matthias Gebauer and Holger Stark noted that in February 2004, the U.S. military "already had [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in your hands—he was imprisoned in a military camp, but got cleared later as harmless by a U.S. military commission. How could that fatal mistake happen?"

Flynn replied:

We were too dumb. We didn't understand who we had there at that moment.

[....] First we went to Afghanistan, where al-Qaida was based. Then we went into Iraq. Instead of asking ourselves why the phenomenon of terror occurred, we were looking for locations. This is a major lesson we must learn in order not to make the same mistakes again.

Asked whether he regretted the Iraq War, Flynn responded simply, "Yes, absolutely."

"It was a huge error," Flynn said. "As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision."

Flynn's interview with Der Spiegel echoes comments he made to Al Jazeera's Mehdi Hasan in August that the U.S. "totally blew it" in preventing the caliphate's rise "in the very beginning."

In fact, Flynn said, the U.S. deliberately backed extremist groups within the Syrian rebel movement as far back as 2012, when he was still DIA head. The Obama administration was aware at the time of a recently-declassified DIA memo that predicted the rise of a militant group in eastern Syria. Supporting the insurgency was a "willful decision," he said.

Watch below:


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Photo Credit: The Islamic State (ISIS) formed in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, said (Ret.) U.S. General Mike Flynn. (Photo: AP)

 
0.0 ·
0
Featured Pay Per View Films
Generation Revolution (2017)
72 min
A Quest for Meaning (2017)(Free till Jan 29th)
88 min
Fall and Winter (2013)
102 min
Trending Today
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine4,904 views today ·
Paramedic's Response to "Burger Flippers" Making an Equal $15/Hour is Beautiful
Craig Carilli2,552 views today ·
A Quest for Meaning (2017)(Free till Jan 29th)
88 min2,517 views today ·
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min2,035 views today ·
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley1,413 views today ·
The Surprising Nobility of Shit: a Serious Response to President Donald Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Remarks About African Immigrants
Adebayo Akomolafe1,224 views today ·
This Facebook Comment About the UK Election Is Going Viral
Chris Renwick662 views today ·
The Greening of the Self: the Most Important Development of Modern Times
Joanna Macy276 views today ·
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min263 views today ·
Load More


Love Films For Action? 

It's hard to rely 100% on ads to keep our organization going.
If you get some value from this library, consider making a donation today.

Support us on Patreon

Coming soon! We're days away from launching a Patreon campaign! We hope you'll be among the first to support this new direction for Films For Action. The goal is to go 100% ad-free by next year, and become 100% member supported!

Join us on Facebook
'Huge Error': Former US Military Chief Admits Iraq Invasion Spawned ISIS