President Obama blamed former President George W. Bush for the rapid rise of Islamic State terrorists, and says the terrorist group is a consequence of the Iraq war.
“ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion, which is an example of unintended consequences which is why we should generally aim before we shoot,” Obama said in an interview with VICE News, referring to the Iraq war launched by Bush.
Obama pointed out that his fight against ISIS had a 60 country coalition, which would “slowly push” the terrorist group out of Iraq.
Simply defeating ISIS, however, would not be enough, Obama explained, because of “disaffected Sunnis around the world.”
For example, Obama cited a disaffected young man in the Middle East who had no education or no future.
“The one way he can get validation, power, respect is if he’s a fighter and this looks like the toughest gang around,” he said, pointing out that such people would be drawn to extremist groups like ISIS, particularly if they had a “religious rational” for joining.
“That’s a problem that we’re going to have generally, and we can’t keep thinking about counterterrorism and security as entirely separate from diplomacy, development, education, all these things that are considered soft, but in fact are vital to our national security,” he said.
Obama lamented the lack of funding for foreign aid in the national budget and explained that if these programs were increased it might reduce the threat of terrorism.
“We should be thinking about making investments there that ultimately save us from having to send our young men and women to fight, or having folks come here and doing great harm,” he said.