Does Reactionary U.S. Imperialist Intervention Actually Stop Islamic Fundamentalist Extremism?

Jill McLaughlin | September 5, 2014

As news of a second journalist killed by ISIS spills onto the headlines this week, Obama and his administration were quick to promise retribution. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as reported by CNN indicated, “All options — with the exception of a ground invasion — are on the table to address the threat posed by ISIS... Those options include possible airstrikes in Syria, where ISIS has established a stronghold in and around the northeastern Syrian city of Raqqa.”

And it appears that more Americans are being duped into believing that the President has to be more tough in his foreign policy. As the LA Times reported last week on a recent Pew Research Poll many Americans are growing increasingly concerned about ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The article noted, “Asked what world problems pose a “major threat” to the U.S., the public continued to mention Islamic extremists most frequently, with both Al Qaeda and Islamic State ranking at the top of the list. Almost two-thirds of Americans said they believe militant Islam will grow in influence in the Mideast over the long term.”

But does reactionary U.S. Imperialist Intervention stem Islamic Fundamentalist Extremism? The answer would be a resounding NO! In fact if we are to look at ISIS objectively we would understand that ISIS was created because of U.S. Interventions in that region. As Larry Everest, writer for Revolution newspaper stated,

All this is part of a campaign to whip up support for U.S. military attacks in Iraq and the Middle East. But U.S. military intervention and forces it has set in motion directly or indirectly is responsible for the lion's share of the barbaric terrorism that has wracked Iraq, Syria, and the region for the past two-and-a-half decades in particular.

Who IS the World's Most Barbaric Power?

Barbaric? Savage? Butchers? Yes, ISIS is all that. It has killed people and threatened whole towns because they won't accept its brand of Sunni fundamentalism. It has massacred prisoners, especially followers of Shi'a Islam. It aims to violently impose strict patriarchy, suppressing women. Its program preserves capitalism and oppression.

But the U.S. rulers take a back seat to no one when it comes to butchering, barbarism, and savagery. Here is a tiny sampling:

  • The United States was founded on slavery and the genocide of Native peoples, butchering millions—literally millions—in the process. Barbarism on a massive scale!
  • The U.S. is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons—twice—incinerating Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan (when the Japanese government was seeking to surrender), leading to the death within six months of more than 215,000 people from flash burns, trauma, and radiation sickness. If that's not "barbaric terrorism," then what is?
  • While the U.S. imperialists pose as defenders of the Iraqi people, they've been imposing sanctions on, bombing, or invading Iraq for the last 24 years—savagely killing over 500,000 children through starvation or disease in the 1990s, then bombing, invading, and occupying Iraq from 2003 until 2011, directly killing over 120,000 Iraqis, causing the deaths of between 600,000 and 1.4 million more and driving 4.5 million from their homes. (The U.S. government generally makes a point of not keeping track of civilian casualties in its bombing campaigns.) Isn't this barbarism against a whole nation?
  • At the very time the U.S. was hypocritically condemning ISIS, it was directly supporting Israel's destruction of Gaza and the murder of over 2,000 Palestinians.

Debra Sweet, Director of World Can’t Wait wrote recently,

If you want to shake your head and give up on the situation as beyond understanding — don't!  There are some basic concepts that are not that difficult to grasp.

If you view the region through the eyes of the U.S. empire, with its national interest as primary, it's immediately clear that the lives and cultures of people living in that region are of concern only in relation to strengthening, or at least holding onto, U.S. domination of the region. The rulers of the U.S. are not starting from the needs of the people in those countries; “human rights” are a public relations explanation used to shut critical voices down.

Jill McLaughlin is a member of the Steering Committee of World Can't Wait.