Donald Trump seems to be confused, but he’s not.
When it comes to talking about ISIL/Daesh, Trump is doing what he’s done all along; his people are listening to and reading the professional right wing and he’s mimicking whatever they hear. This is because that is the only way he knows to gain votes; say exactly whatever his closest followers say on talk radio and in the far right wing media. And by that, I mean the callers, not even the hosts who are dumb enough. Every time some windbag calls into a right wing radio show and says something profoundly stupid, you can bet that Trump will parrot it in some way. This is why so many of his most vocal acolytes always say, “He says exactly what I’m thinking.” He repeats whatever he hears because he thinks that is how he wins. This is because, while he’s what some morons call “media savvy,” he only knows how to draw a crowd. When Martin O’Malley referred to him as a “carnival barker” during the primaries, he knew exactly what he was talking about. It’s all Trump knows; he can attract attention to himself, but that’s the extent of his talents. Nearly everything he has ever done in business has been based on subterfuge, He makes people think his name is greater than it actually is because it has been slapped on everything he can get his tiny little orange hands on. He doesn’t really develop all that much real estate these days; mostly, someone else develops it and pays Trump to slap the Trump name on it, which seems to be the ultimate snake oil, if you really think about it.
Remember that the next time someone tries to convince you that rich businessmen are smarter than the rest of us. If they are so smart, why are they so easily suckered by Trump? How out of touch do you have to be to believe that slapping the “Trump” name on a building is a selling point to people buying seven-figure condos? How many developers really think the multi-million-dollar condo buyer is sitting back and waiting for the next gaudy Trump-emblazoned condo building before making their move.
I know, this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Trump asserting that President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are the “Founders of ISIS,” but I assure you, it has everything to do with it. It’s part of a common right wing theme, and Trump is repeating it because he thinks it will get him votes. In reality, it’s simply reinforcing his base, but it worked during the primaries, so why would anyone think Trump wouldn’t continue to do the same things that brought him success before? This is a shitty businessman, not a politician, after all.
The whole “Founders of ISIS” theme has become a Republican right wing perennial because they can’t bear to think that several of their own are the actual “Founders of ISIS.” The Islamic State was actually once no more than an idea; use Islam to take over territory that had been parts of several empires over thousands of years. The problem is, they couldn’t find a foothold in which to plant roots and grow. Not after the Ottoman Empire fell in World War I and western powers divided the country up for the oil. Not after World War II, when Israel planted its flag and one Arab country after another became “independent” from their former conquerors. Not even when Iran had its revolution and Shia Muslim clerics took over that country from the CIA-installed Shah.
The opening for the Islamic State to plant roots was provided by the ignorant George W. Bush and Vice President and Emperor Darth Cheney, with an able assist from their Court Jester, the unfunny Donald Rumsfeld. Not only did they invade a country that had literally done nothing to anyone in the recent past, but they did so in such a half-assed way that our military was unable to secure the country. There weren’t enough troops and there wasn’t enough cooperation from neighboring countries or the UN or NATO. They didn’t even attempt to secure the borders with either Syria or Iran. Instead, they focused on securing the oil. They didn’t hand Iraq over to the Iraqis at all. In fact, the Bushies divvied up the oil industry and hired outside contractors to rebuild the parts of Iraq they decided were the most valuable. Their obvious intention was to stay there permanently and “help” the Iraqis rebuild a country the Iraqis had already built once, but that the Bushies had blown to hell.
What eventually became “ISIS” was a natural occurrence, if you think about it. Hundreds of militants dreamed of building an authoritarian state and using Islam as a club to hold people down and an Iraqi people who were largely thinking, “Oh, shit, here we go again!” and who really wanted the United States the hell out of there. You had Syria preoccupied with a budding civil war and you had border areas between Iraq and Syria that were largely being ignored by Bush and Hassan. The Bushies had a limited number of troops and they had oil interests to protect. Bush and Cheney were oil men, after all. I suppose the better question would be, why would anyone not think someone would try to establish an Islamic State there? Besides Bush, that is, or perhaps Trump.
To be clear, blaming Obama and Clinton for anything that happened as we were getting out of Iraq is purely ignorant. It was BUSH who quickly negotiated and signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that set a date certain for pulling out of Iraq. He also made certain that the SOFA could only be changed by the puppet government installed by the Bushies. (Oh, wait; you did know the whole “purple fingers” democracy thing was a sham, right? Almost as much of a sham as Kuwaiti promises to hold elections after we “liberated” them. When ARE those elections going to happen, anyway?) Despite valiant efforts by Republican-run Fox News and other media outlets to cloud the issue, ISIL came to be because the immensely ignorant George W. Bush and the guy with his hand up his ass, Darth Cheney, allowed it to happen. It’s not so much that they “founded” ISIL, but they did make it possible. What else can happen when a country is only stable because its dictator rules with an iron hand and you destabilize it and the region by invading without a plan for what to do after the invasion either succeeds or fails?
Now, let’s talk about Trump’s misunderstanding of President Obama’s non-use of the term “ISIS.” Once again, this is a Republican right wing meme that has been popular for some time; Trump is simply repeating it to get the gullible to vote for him. The reason Obama doesn’t call them “ISIS” is about accuracy.
When Abu Musab al-Zarqawi founded the al Qaeda splinter group in Iraq that eventually became the “Islamic State” in 2004, he was attempting to create a war against the majority Shiite community. You know, the ones that the Bushies essentially kicked out of power when they banned the Ba’ath Party. Yes, that’s right; this group was founded in 2004, while Obama was giving convention speeches and running for the Senate in Illinois. When an airstrike killed al-Zarqawi in June 2006, his successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, soon announced the creation of the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI). At the same time, the Bushies were trying to protect Scooter Libby, who was the fall guy for Cheney when he outed a CIA operative.
As the IS metasticized, it absorbed many other militant groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria. Western journalists began to call the group ISIS, for “Islamic State of Iraq and el-Sham, ” while the leaders of that group simply called themselves IS, or Islamic State, and the leadership of the IS called itself “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.” They called themselves that because they envisioned a much larger Islamic State; the “Levant” refers to a large region that stretches from Turkey through Syria to Egypt and includes Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon. In other words, ISIL is the more accurate translation of the group’s name. They had no intention of stopping with a small portion of Iraq and Syria; they had designs on virtually all of what we call “the Middle East.”
President Obama also occasionally refers to the Islamic State as “Daesh,” which is more properly spelled DAIISH, an acronym for a group known in Arabic as “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham.” Ironically, the name is very commonly used by a great many media outlets and politicians in the region because it is actually considered derogatory and is hated by IS jihadists. In other words, while the right wing in this country, led by Donald Trump, are insisting that we all use ISIS, we’re actually appeasing them by doing so. Using the term ISIL describes their ultimate goal more accurately and calling them Daesh (pronounced “dash”) is actually more subtly insulting.
Bush and the Republican Party created the conditions that led to the founding of ISIL, and it is the Democrats who are leading the pummeling of what the Bushies and their puppet regime in Iraq allowed to morph into the Islamic State. Of course, the IS may be on its last legs by the time new President Hillary Clinton takes office. Never forget that.