Former Head Of U.S. Special Forces: ISIS Would Not Exist If Bush Hadn’t Invaded Iraq

The hawks on the right love to claim that the invasion of Iraq during the George W. Bush Administration was a good thing for Iraq, the United States, and the long-term security of the Middle East, even though it has been proven time and time again to be a bigger myth than unicorns.

Now the former commander of American special forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, says the Iraqi invasion actually helped create newer, more lethal terrorists such as ISIS.

General Flynn told a German newspaper:

“We were too dumb. We didn’t understand who we had there at that moment. When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, ‘Where did those bastards come from? Let’s go kill them. Let’s go get them.’ Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from. Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction.”

Iraq and Afghanistan were never connected in anyway whatsoever, despite protestations to the contrary by Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice in the runup to the Iraq war. Our invasion merely created a gigantic vacuum which was first filled by al-Qaeda in Iraq and then by ISIS.

Flynn also remarked:

“First we went to Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda was based, then we went to Iraq. Instead of asking ourselves why the phenomenon of terror occurred, we were looking for locations. This is a major lesson we must learn in order not to make the same mistakes again.”

And the retired general also said that he deeply regrets his role in the war against Iraq which has given rise to ISIS and other extremist terror groups:

“It was huge error. As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.”

Did you hear that, Dick Cheney? A strategic failure. And we lay it all at your feet, Dr. Evil. No doubt you will now try to question the motives and patriotism of a man who served his country with honor and distinction. That’s what miserable weasels do when they’re cornered.

This article was originally published by the same author at

47 thoughts on “Former Head Of U.S. Special Forces: ISIS Would Not Exist If Bush Hadn’t Invaded Iraq

    “My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger… My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.”
    -George W. Bush – March 19, 2003

    • He really blew smoke up the anus of US citizens and the majority ate it up. Now the Republicans want to do it all over again because they ignore past mistakes and failures.

      • Not me and the other 19 per cent who NEVER supported that war. I even gave a radio interview just before the start and said “this invasion will destabilize the Middle East.” Duh. I knew this and our politicians didn’t? Oh, wait, profits for the military industrial congressional complex!!!!!!

        • Bernie Sanders knew and he said so when addressing Congress that they should not approve that war!

      • Thank you. I was also one of those who protested Desert Storm in 1989. Why were we defending multi-trillion dollar dictators who were renting our military? Saudi-Arabia couldn’t have risked their children’s lives? The Bush’s really had a hard on for Saddam and how we have paid for it. We carried those signs, in 2003, and our own populace called us names. UnAmerican being chief among them. I’m a vet and a college kid spit on me. Now everyone’s crying. They shouldn’t have hired a boy to do a man’s work. We hired a man, twice, and they’ve complained every day. Fuck Them.

      • My theory back then was their bombs and ammo expire every 7 years. They needed a war to use up their bombs so they could build new ones. Guess that was a pipe dream. The bombing hasn’t stopped since that invasion. It’s inhuman to kill others so a few can become wealthier than their wildest dreams. Leaving millions grieving and destitute. I don’t want to understand this, I just want it to stop.

    • It’s about defense contracts that’s the real motive. Repubs receive millions of campaign $$ from Def contractors. At this time the contractors are struggling to maintain their profitability since O greatly reduced Def spending. Repubs wanna invade a country so they can again steal US Citizens retirements, kids college funds and the other tax dollars used to “Make America Great Again!”

      • You are spot on. I’m still incredulous that we survived (barely) 8 years of George W. Bush. Lost a lot of sleep over that Mistake.

    • Saddam Hussein was truly prophetic because operation desert storm back in 1991 has truly has become the mother of all battles and the war in the middle east has come to our doorstep…they want payback for what we did to their country

      • you got that right, and don’t forget the involvement of Israel.
        they brought down the towers to get us into the middle ease to protect their evil ass.

        • Do you realize how many of us marched in the streets and begged and demanded that we not go to war in Iraq. We all knew and there were a lot of us. Bush, Cheney, Condi, didn’t know? No, they just didn’t give a damn!

      • I hope this isn’t true, but I think you’re right. It was a well rehearsed catastrophe that put us smack in the middle of the destabilization of the Middle East. Who did that profit?

  2. The General is of course right but hind sight is always 20/20 However there were examples to follow We Brits did the same thing in the late 60s/.70 in the Arabian peninsula after Aden was closed . It is easy to now criticise and indeed feel ashamed of what we did for our respective countries but did we think so at the time ? You American had the excuse of partial ignorance we Brits can claim no such thing we with the French ran the Middle East for a very long time and knew the people well. The final point is that while Saddam and Gaddafi were bad bugger for sure but they were no worse than any other leader in the region not just now but for the past 2000 years. Who Dares Wins or Who Cares Who Wins? We were lead by political and intellectual ignoramuses. We were lucky but many were not so lucky. Looking back at 75 years old my predominant thought? What the fuck did we think we were doing!

    • That’s right. Many of Dick/Shrub’s victims were those in our own Armed Forces who also didn’t want to do this. They had NO CHOICE (desertion is not an option). I was in the AF, until 1981, and would have watched it play out in absolute horror. SMH. Who’ll be the last to die for a mistake?

    • Nice post Paul, I just disagree that Britain is more ignorant than my country. 🙂
      As a former conservative, now so independent, I am ashamed of voting for Bush, bout I once, but twice!
      Well, maybe you’re right, we’re not as ignorant, just much more stupid.
      I’d rather be ignorant than stupid.
      Cheers mate!

  3. Flynn is wrong…it wasn’t a mistake; it was a criminal act of invasion into a sovereign country with no provocation. But that’s the Bush’s all over. One question…where was this 3 star d*** bag when it was happening. I don’t recall him getting loud and saying, ‘Hey, stop this stupid mess.” But that’s not what generals do…they punch tickets and kiss ass until they retire then they get all righteous. Either way, the American people lose, and the one’s that lost the most are the young service members that died because no one spoke up then!

    • Your wrong the problem has always been Islam. Since the beginning of civilization. lets go back to 300 BC when Persia started its first of thousands attacks against non believers in there newly self appointed prophet mohamed. Persia today which is considered Iran was the only rightful land of these arabs, but they began to attack neighbors to gain more land…ect Iraq, Syria, Egypt ect…eventually they spread to the islands of Greece, sicily and later to spain. They did all this in the name of allah and islam.

      The difference is when the teachings of Jesus started to proclaim Jesus was a peace maker, he accepted all. Whereas Mohamed was known as a soldier of islam and a war monger.

  4. The root of the problem is not Islam…as most right-wing blow-hards like Limbaugh et al.. are obsessed with claiming Islam isn’t the motivation. Islam was here for 1400 years before we experienced any significant terrorist behavior from Muslims. The motivation for this phenomenon we call “terrorism” is, in part, caused by the most lethal terrorist attack in the past 50 years. That’s the terrorist attack on Iraq and, subsequently, Syria conducted by Terrorists Bush Jr. Cheney and Israel. They were, of course, the leaders of a colossal terrorist organization with a long, storied history of murdering – not just 31…not just 50- not just 2900 – but literally MILLIONS of civilians: It’s called The US Military. The Cheney and Bush Terrorists set the stage for thousands of disaffected and desperate people – formerly from the Iraqi insurgency and other sympathetic radical groups – to be recruited into a militant armed movement from the indigenous populations of Iraq and Syria. They are simply using Islam as a unifying and rallying point for a more pertinent agenda. That essentially boils down to payback against The West.

  5. 9/11 actions proves to be Newton third laws: To every action there is equal and opposite reaction

  6. this actually doesn’t go far enough. the CIA recruited radical Islamists from over 60 countries to go to Afganistan, to fight to overthrow the left coalition govt. that was supported by the Soviet Union. It was a truly massive operation, and successful beyond expectations. That govt was, which included women legislators for the first time in history, eased some religious restrictions, was drowned in blood & the Soviet Union fell under the pressure. A whole variety of extreme right-wing Islamist groups emerged from that operation and have continued.

  7. This article conveniently omits the blame directed to Obama for the failed state of Libya. The general included that criticism in his COMPLETE interview to Der Spiegel but deepleftfield failed to include that.

    • Libya was included in there. Everyone knows who was president at the time. This article is about failed policies, not presidents. And Cheney is probably more to blame than Bush, except that Bush was the “Decider.” And HRC was probably more to blame for Libya. And we’re still at it with Syria, still haven’t learned the lesson. Get the Hell out and stop arming people, we’re fighting people with US weapons and vehicles.

  8. And do not forget the consequences disasters still persisting I.e. A further series of catastrophic events that follows haunting the whole region

  9. That was my first reaction when I saw the second plane hit on 9/11: The world will never be the same again – I hope – oh how I hope that the USA will pause and reflect and ask “why do they hate us so?” Instead we got “If you’re not for us you’re against us.” Black and white. Conflict is like the Plains Zebra of Southern Africa – there’s a shadow stripe – it says “pay attention to what’s between the lines – it’s not all black and white.”

  10. One thing most people seem to forget is that, without the SCOTUS vote of Sandra Day O’Conner supporting the Republicans in Bush v. Gore in 2000 (notwithstanding the fact that the popular vote favored Gore in the election), this could not have happened. Blame where blame is due.

    • It was a real pity AL Gore didn’t get elected. is very likely that the world would have been a very different place!!

  11. Shinseki tried to warn us. But the Jesus Generals saw it as an opportunity to raise the final Crusade. We’re fighting a war of Christians versus Muslims, but we’re actually proxy troops for Saudi Arabia. The American Empire has crumpled under the weight of colonialism.

    • Tony Blair is facing a load of trouble in Parliament for following George Bush into Iraq in 2003 in a war that was seen by the United Nations as illegal…nuff said

  12. And yet the US still place the blame on Obama for the failings of Bush and how he bought our country to the shit that it’s in now.

  13. Obama has continued the basic policy of US global terror, invasions like Libya, attempted regime change in Syria, drone attacks in Yemen and elsewhere– creating lots of people resentful of their loved ones being killed, with some eager to return violence to the “homeland,” the United States. Malcolm put it succinctly, when you export global violence, “chickens will come home to roost.”

  14. Obama was handed a big pile of s**t when he took office. Bush was warned not to go into Iraq, we’re seeing the ripples of his misadventure in many ways. Saddam had put religious extremists in prison because he didn’t want Iraq to turn into a theocracy. We went over and let them all out of jail. Iraqis and Afghans hated America for coming in and killing their families and generally screwing up their way of life, and they got together with these religious nut cases
    Pretty much the entire Middle East has been destabilized. Millions of refugees streaming into surrounding countries, Syrian men attacking German women because they are not sufficiently modest and submissive by their standards, wannabe terrorist kids in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. It is a world wide cancer thanks to George W Bush

  15. Yes, the shrub and his boss the dick took us down the path to hell. This is supported by facts, actions and a calendar. The smell of oil money and the potential side profits for the dick’s own terrorist organization, Halliburton, have not been uttered here. Follow the money is still a good compass.

  16. Yep weasels and bulls are good with the “gift of the gab”.
    Australia’s John Howard justified it too.. also stating the Intel for the weapons of mass destruction was clear back then and hindsite is always a wonderful thing but decisions were made in good faith the the Intel was correct A lot of the population voiced concern over it. There wasn’t enough info put to the public to convince a lot of us! Maybe they should present ALL THE FACTS, and the put it to the people for a vote and see what we actually think and feel!!!

  17. New York Times advertisement of 26 September 2002, signed by 33 scholars of international relations.

    As scholars of international security affairs, we recognize that war is sometimes necessary to ensure our national security or other vital interests. We also recognize that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and that Iraq has defied a number of U.N. resolutions. But military force should be used only when it advances U.S. national interests. War with Iraq does not meet this standard.
    Saddam Hussein is a murderous despot, but no one has provided credible evidence that Iraq is cooperating with al Qaeda.
    Even if Saddam Hussein acquired nuclear weapons, he could not use them without suffering massive U.S. or Israeli retaliation.
    The first Bush administration did not try to conquer Iraq in 1991 because it understood that doing so could spread instability in the Middle East, threatening U.S. interests. This remains a valid concern today.
    The United States would win a war against Iraq, but Iraq has military options—chemical and biological weapons, urban combat—that might impose significant costs on the invading forces and neighboring states.
    Even if we win easily, we have no plausible exit strategy. Iraq is a deeply divided society that the United States would have to occupy and police for many years to create a viable state.
    Al Qaeda poses a greater threat to the U.S. than does Iraq. War with Iraq will jeopardize the campaign against al Qaeda by diverting resources and attention from that campaign and by increasing anti-Americanism around the globe.
    The United States should maintain vigilant containment of Iraq—using its own assets and the resources of the United Nations—and be prepared to invade Iraq if it threatens to attack America or its allies. That is not the case today. We should concentrate instead on defeating al Qaeda.

    Robert J. Art
    Brandeis University

    Richard K. Betts
    Columbia University

    Dale C. Copeland
    University of Virginia

    Michael C. Desch
    University of Kentucky

    Sumit Ganguly
    University of Texas

    Charles L. Glaser
    University of Chicago

    Alexander L. George
    Stanford University

    Richard K. Herrmann
    Ohio State University

    George C. Herring
    University of Kentucky

    Robert Jervis
    Columbia University

    Chaim Kaufmann
    Lehigh University

    Carl Kaysen

    Elizabeth Kier
    University of Washington

    Deborah Larson

    Jack S. Levy
    Rutgers University

    Peter Liberman
    Queens College

    John J. Mearsheimer
    University of Chicago

    Steven E. Miller
    Harvard University

    Charles C. Moskos
    Northwestern University

    Robert A. Pape
    University of Chicago

    Barry R. Posen

    Robert Powell

    George H. Quester
    University of Maryland

    Richard Rosecrance

    Thomas C. Schelling
    University of Maryland

    Randall L. Schweller
    Ohio State University

    Glenn H. Snyder
    University of North Carolina

    Jack L. Snyder
    Columbia University

    Shibley Telhami
    University of Maryland

    Stephen van Evera

    Stephen M. Walt
    Harvard University

    Kenneth N. Waltz
    Columbia University

    Cindy Williams

  18. I can remember an interview with Gen. Wesley Clark after the 9-11 attacks. He was at the Pentagon on Sept. 11 when people were asking, “Who did this?” The answer he said he heard was, “We don’t know who did it but we know who’s going to be blamed.” The scapegoat would be Saddam Hussein.

    • Certainly I will not defend Obama and his national health policy and forcing American’s who can’t pay to get taxed. What a sham.
      But after voting for Bush twice? I’m ashamed of even admitting it. He WAS the worst President this country ever had. He forced a war that upset the careful balance of Arab countries at war with each other and had no energy to wage war against the “infidels.” Once Bush was finished with his sham, they were able to turn their attention to us. And this Homeland Security? Be wary, watch and on guard. One day it will be used against our own people in the name of “protection” while it will be for “subjection.”

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