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How The US Created the Islamic State: Talking Heads

VICE News sat down with Mark Danner to discuss his New York Review of Books essay that forecasted the formation of the Islamic State over a decade before it happened.

​VICE News and New York Review of Books bring you the second episode of Talking Heads, in which Mark Danner discusses his New York Review of Books essay, "Iraq: The New War." Danner wrote this essay in mid-2003, outlining how American policy during the Iraq War in many ways effectively helped incite what was then an emerging insurgency.

For starters, the occupation of Iraq post-9/11 created a broad front to which militant jihadists began to flock. The mishandling of the Iraqi army sent thousands of highly-trained, angry men into the streets with no jobs. And photos of Iraqis being tortured by American personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison provided telegenic images that helped these groups recruit from an increasingly indignant public.

Danner's analysis of the insurgency forecasted how it evolved into what we know today as the Islamic State, over a decade before it happened.

VICE News sat down with Danner to discuss how the United States invasion of Iraq and the ensuing war provided what he described as a warm petri dish in which insurgent elements would grow.