‘ISIS might be strategically attempting a wider war against the US’
RT:What does ISIS aim to achieve with itsvideo of the beheading?
David Swanson: That is hard to say, because just as President Obama ought to have known there would be a violent blowback from the bombings, ISIS ought to be aware that the most likely outcome of the beheadings is increased bombing, whether they do not know that, oblivious to that, or they do not care – everything is possible.
RT:Is it just another PR step to attract supporters?
DS: It is possible that ISIS is unaware that the most likely outcome of the beheadings is more bombing, I do not think there is any way president Obama was unaware that the bombings would result in a violent blowback. But it is possible that ISIS is well aware of that and intends that, and likes the power and the recruiting ability of resisting the US in a war. I think that is entirely possible, and certainly there are those in the Pentagon and the weapons industry who share the desire that the war be escalated and the bombings continue, which is just as Medieval an attitude as the beheading is being routinely denounced here in the US.
RT:The group claimed in the video to be holding another US journalist and said his life depended on US President Barack Obama's next move. What can be done in this situation?
DS: First of all, this is an outrageous, immoral, cruel and illegal sort of beheading just as the US killings by missile of targeted individuals who could quite easily have been arrested, but instead are killed. All such actions are unacceptable, but I think ISIS has to be aware that giving that sort of threat to the US tends not to work. I think that the US ought to be talking rather than bombing with ISIS, and certainly the bombs are going to produce additional violent blowback and counterproductive results on their own terms, but the US government is not likely to respond to that sort of ultimatum.
RT:Where is the root of the hatred of the Islamic State group?
DS: It is an appeal to people who could be recruited to join the cause. It is a poke in the eye to the US. ISIS is either behaving irrationally out of anger and resentment, or is strategically attempting to instigate a wider war against the US and use the opposition to a foreign occupier and invader as a recruitment tool, which is of course extremely effective in that part of the region in recent years. The US response is likely to be more bombing which is an incredible contrast to its response to Ferguson, Missouri, where you have a police force just like ISIS armed with cast-off Pentagon weaponry, and nobody is proposing bombing Ferguson. There is no rational explanation why bombing is an appropriate response to ISIS, but it seems to be the way that Washington wants to go.
RT:Recent poll shows many young people in France and Germany support the Islamic State. What is to blame for that?
DS: I do not know who is to blame for it. There are certain legitimate complaints in Western society with Pentagon and NATO's conduct toward the Middle East, but what would make that kind of structure appealing is beyond me. I think people who are searching for rebellion, excitement, resistance and protest against the status quo are likely to be extremely disappointed when they get to know what they have joined there.
The man who is depicted as a leader of ISIS is understood to have been radicalized in a US prison. The people that are being appealed to by ISIS in Sunni areas are resenting the US occupation and resenting the Shia-led Iraqi government in Bagdad. All these sorts of resentment and grievances feed into a new structure that is based on anger, vengeance and hatred, and that is only going to be worsened by additional violence that will additionally divide the Shia and the Sunni whereas a different approach of aid, negotiation, compensation and restitution would have the exact opposite
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