Regarding the now infamous 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report on the prospective rise of ISIS: reading the original, it is clear that it is a low-level, unedited military intelligence assessment rather than a policy paper. It was written by a soldier, in execrable English, rather than a policy wonk. An example:

According to their beliefs, the Jihadists should have an Emir who should be the highest power within their state and would have the right to give Fatwa, as well as having a forensic or a legislator (Moshare’e) who give sthe Fatwa to their life management methods (how they should conduct their lives) as well as deciding on decisions to issue a declaration of Jihad (Holy War).

“Deciding on decisions” — that’s a soldier writing, not an Ivy League-educated staffer in the nether rungs of the West Wing. The big-picture assessment punctuates page after page of unprocessed intelligence. The supposed culpability of the United States in the formation of ISIS is derived from this ssentence on p. 292 of the document:

If the situation unraels there is th epossibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syrua (Hasak and Derzor) and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

Again, the English is awful; in context, “supporting powers” refers clearly to Turkey and Saudi Arabia, not necessarily to the West in general. Conspiracy theorists in the blogosphere seized on this phrase, but the meaning here is obvious. The Pentagon warned in 2012 that this would happen; the Obama camarilla ignored the warning. The document itself is clearly a raw intelligence product, typed in all capital letters.

It doesn’t matter: Beijing and Moscow made up their minds some time ago that the United States had deliberately unleashed chaos on the Levant as part of a malevolent plan of some kind. The Chinese and Russians (and most of the rest of the world) simply cannot process the notion that the United States is run by clueless amateurs who stumble from one half-baked initiative to another, with no overall plan (except, of course, to persuade the Persians to become America’s friends rather than enemies). As Angelo Codevilla writes, incompetence has consequences. One of the consequences will be that our competitors and adversaries will take us for knaves instead of fools, or even worse, will recognize that we are fools after all.

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