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VICE News

Talking Heads: How the US Created the Islamic State

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.

by VICE News
Dec 2 2014, 6:00pm

VICE News and the New York Review of Books have partnered to create Talking Heads, a series about the big issues of the day as seen by the Review's distinguished contributors.

In this episode of Talking Heads, Mark Danner discusses his essay "Iraq: The New War." Danner wrote this essay in mid-2003, outlining how American policy during the Iraq war effectively helped incite in many ways what was then an emerging insurgency. 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.

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

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.

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