The Second Iraq War (as opposed to the justified and true-coalition sanctioned, First Gulf War) will go down in history as one of the worst blunders of US History. The buck stops at George W. Bush, but his dad, George H.W. Bush, now blames "Iron-butt" Cheney and former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield. Although there is blame also to the Congress, including later Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry who voted to authorize the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. And, yes, the American public share blame who were whipped into a frenzy by false intelligence of the Bush Administration and the media, led by the New York Times (Judith Miller). So there's plenty of blame to go around (oh, yeah, Tony Blair). And, of course, the buck is now with President Obama and his opponents can blame him all they want. And he hasn't done everything right, but he's trying.
So, why DAESH instead of ISIS or ISIL or Al Queda in Iraq? For a very good explanation of that and the history of the latest terrorist group now claiming to be the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate, see this great article at Vox, Why John Kerry and the French President Are Calling ISIS "Daesh."
|ISIS, or Daesh controlled areas as of October 22, 2015, from the New York Times.|
One of the few good things we did right in Iraq was the 2007 surge accompanied by the Sunni Awakening. That gave the Sunnis a chance to fight the terrorist groups alongside US Troops. The government of Iraq has been controlled by Shiites, not friends of the Sunnis. The Daesh has arisen out of Sunnis and the Sunni people of Iraq and Syria are now squeezed between their Sunni extremists in Daesh and the Shiites in charge of Iraq and Syria, not to mention the Shiites of Iran, now allied with the Iraqi government as they have been with Shia terrorist groups like Hezbollah (Hamas is Sunni). And don't forget the Kurds.
The territory taken by Daesh in norther Iraq is Kurdish. The Kurds are partly in Turkey, a secular Muslim State, and Iraq, a tottering Shiite State. [And Syria, a tottering secular dictatorship supported by Shiites]. Turkey, a member of NATO, does not want the Kurds strengthened to call for a Kurdish homeland in Iraq, [Syria], and Turkey.
Yeah, this is the mess Cheney and Rumsfield took us into where we were to be greeted with flowers as "liberators."
As that helpful article from Vox points out, the declaration of a "Caliphate" by this Sunni terrorist group arising from disarray in Iraq and Syria is a real threat to the Muslim world and everyone else as well. A Caliphate requires territory. The Daesh needs to be denied territory and any legitimacy.
The recent terrorist horror in Paris appears to be linked to Daesh or its supporters. The statement from the so-called Islamic State (an insult to all other Muslims), is startling in its medieval rhetoric. It is as if the last thousand years or so have meant nothing. Of course, to some they have not. And the conflicts among Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East are nothing new.
Let me make a few points here. If we follow the best sources (I'm not saying Vox is it, but it seems to be trying). We need to condemn and fight terrorist attacks. Reasonable security and intelligence gathering will help. A coalition as broadly supported as possible, led by non-Daesh Muslim interests with respect to the Sunni and Kurd territories and people under the control of Daesh is the only way to go. Western powers can provide support. Western troops on the ground do not necessarily help (remember how we got here). And most importantly:
1. Islam is not our enemy, radical terrorists are, just like the radical Christian terrorists who blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building [and the white supremacist who shot African-Americans in their Charleston Church].
2. Aid Refugees fleeing Syria and other places in the Middle East or Muslim countries. They are not our enemy. We should welcome and provide all the assistance we can - applying reasonable security checks, of course. The LDS Church supports and encourages aid to the Refugees.
3. Respect the differences among Sunni, Shia, Kurd, and all other forms of Islam condemning only the terrorists. In 2001 our leaders were clueless to all this even though there were those prepared to brief on these matters who were ignored.
4. Reasonable security measures must be taken under the US Constitution, the UN Charter and principles of Human Rights - we have failed ourselves in this regard which does not help provide security but only gives support and sympathy to the terrorists. Blame goes to Cheny/Rumsfield/W./CIA/Bybee/etc./etc. here again.And lastly, this isn't a Holy War of the end-times. This is the test of modern constitutional, democratic republics defending themselves and their principles. If it is not, we fail and the terror wins.
Just found this helpful vid on the Syrian War: http://www.vox.com/2015/11/14/9735102/syria-isis-history-video